The First One is Always the Hardest.

The first blog post is what I’m referring to in my title. I’m typically not good with blogging or keeping up with the digital age — but I will admit that it is advantageous in many ways.

For my first blog post, I thought I would focus on writing and/or talking about science to anyone. Most scientists invest many years into studying particular fields of interest, changing our thought patterns for endless inquiry and validation, and learning a heap of vocabulary (and, sigh, acronyms). With technology constantly pushing us to new heights daily, it behooves one to also invest time integrating data management, computer literacy, coding literacy, and statistical data analysis into our scientific skillsets. This helps with efficiency of data analysis and interpretation, which can become a hang up because we often produce more data than we can analyze or we don’t have the right tools optimized and developed yet. I’m not saying we should all be computer programmers, but learning a programming language can take you a long way with troubleshooting other people’s code.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kevinsmith/grad-life?utm_term=.frlRAvxdE&sub=4058009_7194417

The point is, we learn a lot of things to be successful scientists, but we often forget that communicating science to everyone is the most important part.

I wrote a short article for a colleague about my path to science and my research interests in my first year of graduate school. This article was for Youngzine, an online news and education site for children, and I recently revisited the article to find comments from the viewers (albeit 3 years later) that inspired this inaugural blog and reminded me of my personal commitment to learning about how life around us works, and making the knowledge generated by sound and transparent research accessible and understandable. Our communities depend on it — not just the scientific ones, but the school, environmental, and health communities too.

How did we get here?
Credit: Tim Dunne; https://asunow.asu.edu/20191210-new-asu-courses-offer-tools-engaging-others-science

Although I plan for this to be a casual blog, I hope to also translate what I am learning about throughout my graduate career as a means of strengthening my ability to communicate science to anyone (even, the kiddos!).

Published by Amanda Clark

PhD candidate at Auburn University in the functional genomics lab of Dr. Tonia Schwartz

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