"I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues."
-The Lorax, Dr. Seuss.
My journey as a science communicator began while teaching a crowd of Silicon Valley CEO’s about Sierra Nevada geology from a plastic red kayak. I worked as the naturalist for Stanford Sierra Camp, a camp for Stanford Alumni near South Lake Tahoe after my freshman year at Stanford. As a naturalist, I created scientific presentations, experiments, and tours for audiences of all shapes, sizes, and intellectual abilities. This balance of science and nature fueled my interest in science communication, enough to pursue a degree in Earth Systems and the Notation in Science Communication at Stanford.
Through the Earth Systems pro-gram, I engaged with the social, economic, and scientific dimensions of environmental problems. Add-itionally, the Notation in Science Communication taught rhetorical strategies for communicating what I learned in my Earth Systems classes, including how to frame an argument and identify the audience. Through these experiences, I was able to practice the technical and rhetorical elements of communication through class projects and deliverables. After this practice, I applied my knowledge in formal settings, pursuing research and presenting science to private industries and government agencies.
This process of learning, practicing, and applying science communication is demonstrated throughout my ePortfolio. My ePortfolio is broken up into three sections, Multimedia Communication, Data Visualization, and Creating Policy from Science. In each section, I discuss how learning, practicing, and applying science communication guided my work. Along with a trajectory of growth, my ePortfolio depicts a commitment to general, technical, and policy audiences.
The first section of my ePortfolio, Multimedia Communication, explores strategies for connecting with general audiences through varied modes of communication. Interactive websites, podcasts, and magazine articles allowed me to convey environmental messages to the general public in an entertaining, relatable way.
The second section of my ePortfolio demonstrates how I've used data visualizations to communicate with technical audiences. I created these visualizations, or annotated maps, from satellite imagery of the Earth’s surface. Data visualizations, particularily maps, are a useful science com-munication tool for transforming technical infor-mation into a compelling story.
The last section of my ePortfolio demonstrates how I’ve intertwined science and policy. Currently, the environmental movement is hindered by the information gap between technical information and policymakers. Additionally, this brand of environmental discourse is often demanding or condescending. To combat this, I’ve recruited a balance of creativity, humility, and careful selection of content to politely engage political audiences. Through practicing and applying these skills, I’ve developed a keen understanding for communicating environmental issues to policymakers. In fact, some of my research was used by a U.S. Congressman to help establish a new U.S. National Monument.
After learning, practicing, and apply-ing the communication tools and rhe-torical insights gleaned from the Notation in Science Communication, I hope to motivate a global audience to engage with the environment and protect planet Earth. Ultimately, I aim to bridge the information gap between the public, scientific, and policy spheres through effective science communication. We must learn to use our voices through effective com-munication; speaking for trees as they can't speak for themselves.
**All images in my ePortfolio were taken from my personal collection.