Students: How to Effectively Communicate Science

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When I first started working at Emory as a postdoctoral fellow, I was very excited to perform research at such a prestigious institution. Besides working in a lab, I was always passionate about science communication and soon started searching for opportunities to pursue my interest. Not too long after, I came across the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) Marketing and Communications internship through word of mouth from previous interns. I quickly got in touch with the team to learn more and eventually applied and started.

Being a researcher, I was comfortable with scientific topics in my area of expertise, but I was eager to learn more about the breadth of research conducted at Emory. As a writer for the OTT blog and website, I had the opportunity to speak with Emory researchers across different disciplines – from immunology and oncology to plant research and beyond. I learned more about their work and goals, as well as the possible future impact of their discoveries on our lives. I also found out more about the licensing process, which was an entirely new field to me. I learned how the OTT helps researchers maximize the impact of their work and also protect their intellectual property.

During my time at the OTT, I had the unique opportunity to write about science in a way that is accessible to a broader audience. For most scientists, it becomes second nature to write complex scientific papers and speak in jargon and technical terms. However, it is important to also develop the ability to capture the main points of our work and explain it in a way that simplifies it, but still elevates its importance. Writing for the Simple Science blog series, I put myself in the reader’s shoes and practiced communicating science in a simple but engaging way.

This experience at the OTT solidified my decision to pursue science writing as a full-time job. I started applying for scientific writer positions and soon started interviewing. I can honestly say that my internship at the OTT was one of the most impactful lines on my resume and truly made me a better candidate. Not only did it give me important hands-on experience with writing, but it also helped me appreciate the impact of research in society and expand my horizons. I am now in a new role where I am writing about science full-time, and I see the benefits of my OTT experience every day in my work.

I am forever grateful to the OTT and the Marketing & Communications team in particular. Everyone was very helpful and easy to work with, making me feel at ease as a new intern. I truly believe this internship is a unique experience for students and trainees at all levels, whether in college, grad school or even during a postdoc. I wish all the best for the new cohort of interns and I am looking forward to all the amazing work that will come out of the OTT in the future!

— Vicky Kanta