I was born/grew up: Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
I now live in: London, UK
I completed my training/education at: BSc. University of McGill, MSc. (biodiversity conservation and management) at the University of Oxford
Describe what you do at work.
As part of the Science Communication team, I think I have the best job. I get to learn about all the great science that goes on in my organisation, and then help to communicate it to the outside world. Sometimes I write blog posts or press releases. Sometimes I commission infographics or videos. Sometimes I work with scientists to help them increase their own communication skills. Every day is different!
To understand the science that is happening around me, it helps to have a background in the STEM subjects. At the Marine Stewardship Council that science is mostly related to fishing and ocean health, so environmental sciences and biology come in handy. Being able to read graphs and analyse scientific papers is also important, so feeling comfortable with basic math is important as well.
A well-rounded science background means you can work for many different organisations, and it’s also helpful when it comes to problem solving and decision making. When I make decisions, I collect as much data as I can. For example, I might use Google Analytics to find out how many people are reading a blog post. Then I try to think about the results that I am aiming for, and the most effective way to achieve them. Once a decision has been made, I follow up to see how it worked, and try to learn from it. I think this data-driven approach to problem solving comes from my STEM background, and it’s really useful in the workplace, no matter what career you choose.
Teamwork and people skills are a big part of the role. For example, Science Communications staff need to work closely with scientists to make sure they feel comfortable with the way their work is being portrayed. However, independent writing and other creative activities are also important.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people's lives?
Science Communication roles support scientists and organisations to talk about the important work that they do. This could be anything from helping a University talk about cancer research, to helping an NGO like the Marine Stewardship Council explain sustainable fishing. Science Communicators also help the general public (everyone from kids to politicians) to learn about science in a fun and engaging way.
What motivates you in your career?
I love my job for two reasons: it's a good fit for me, and it's making a difference in the world. I think it is fun to learn about the latest science. I also enjoy having to figure out the best way to talk about complex subjects in an engaging and easily accessible way. As someone who could never choose between Arts and Science, Science Communications is a dream job. I also love the sea and marine science, but never wanted to be a field biologist. By working for the Marine Stewardship Council, I know I am contributing to sustainable fishing for now and future generations.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I've always loved writing and science, but I definitely didn't set out with this career in mind. I did an interdisciplinary Arts & Science degree at McGill University, expecting to become a medical doctor. But halfway through my degree I realised that wasn't the right path for me. Instead, I became more and more interested in the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental sustainability: helping people while also protecting the planet. So, I decided to do a MSc in Conservation Biology at the University of Oxford. I applied for the Marine Stewardship Council twice after I graduated, but never even got an interview. After that, I worked in a number of roles that were related to science communications, like alumni relations, fundraising, and freelance writing. Finally, I took the skills I had learned from those jobs, and reapplied to the MSC. This time the perfect role was waiting! I've learned that sometimes it takes a while to find a job that's a good fit, and that's OK.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I love reading, travelling, and being by the sea.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
A broad education that covers STEM subjects and arts subjects like writing is a great place to start if you think Science Communications might be for you. Don't worry about finding your dream job on your first try. Every experience builds up your unique skill set. Try to do what you love every step of the way, and the ending will take care of itself.