Science communication is an often overlooked, almost ignored, aspect of scientific training, and to be an effective scientist, we must be effective communicators.
To adhere to this notion, I have co-founded two science communication organizations, the Athens Science Café and the Athens Science Observer, to bring science to the Athens, GA community and train young scientists in the art of science communication.
The Athens Science Café is an outreach organization established to improve public engagement with basic science. This continuing effort involves a once-monthly invited speaker who explains in layman’s terms, the essence of important scientific issues at various locations across Athens, GA. To date, ASC has put on 23 free to the public events, with an average head count of 150 patrons. These events cover a variety of scientific topics, including genetically modified organisms, space exploration and the evolution of Homo sapiens.
Rishi R. Masalia, currently serves as one of the lead organizers for this group. Click here for more information on the Athens Science Café
It comes as no shock that scientists are publicly viewed as poor communicators. Through the rigors of academia, scientists are instructed to cater their lab reports, research papers, and eventual scholarly manuscripts towards fellow academics, yet most of the public are not scientists.
Public opinion greatly influences scientific policy, funding, and direction, and to be an effective scientist, we must be effective communicators.
Thus, as an expansion from Athens Science Café, myself and others established a student organization, The Athens Science Observer, which focuses on the development of science communication skills at the graduate and undergraduate level. Members of ASO write journalistic articles, news pieces, advise columns, and blogs each conveying scientific information in a style digestible to non-scientists. To date, this organization has a membership of 43 students in Athens, GA and abroad, and has comprised well over 130 freely available scientific pieces.
Rishi R. Masalia currently serves as Editor in Chief for this organization. Click here to find out more about the Athens Science Observer