Internships prepare scientists for training in communicating with the general public

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The COVID-19 pandemic is a clear reminder of the importance of keeping the line of communication between scientists and the general public open and the dangers of not doing so.

In a recent article Journal of Clinical and Translational Sciences (((JCTS), The MUSC team describes an internship at the Graduate School (CGS) aimed at developing the skills of an amateur communication scientist in training.

Dr Kimberly Maggie, Professional Science Writer at the Graduate School of Clinical Translation Studies (SCTR) in South Carolina, said: Director of the Science Communication Initiative and lead author of the papers. “We are trying to teach scientists-in-training to provide good and reliable science information in a public-friendly way, in order to bridge the gap and regain confidence.”

Dr Paula Tractman, Dean of the CGS Department, said: Lead author of the article.

Since its inception in 2016, more than 25 graduate and post-doctoral students have participated in the Science Writing Initiative (SC-SWIFT) program for interns. The intern is led by Dr McGhee and Dr Matthew Greseth, CGS Deputy Directors of the Science Communication Initiative, editors of the CGS Speaks blog and co-authors of the article. The intern has written over 100 Eurek Alerts! MUSC Catalyst publication and press articles. EurêkAlert! Is a science news site operated by the American Society for the Promotion of Science, and news releases published there help researchers reach a wider audience.

The internship is a collaboration between CGS, Communication Marketing Office and SCTR.

Sheria Champlin, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, co-author of the article, said: Tractman and the Graduate School. Collaboration favored. ”

The collaboration now extends to SCTR. “Internships have many ripple effects,” said Dr Tammy Loucks, Scientific Development Officer and Co-author of the paper at SCTR. “These include the wider dissemination of research results beyond the boundaries of traditional biomedical journals and increased awareness of research teams and institutions that have conducted this research. “

In addition to defending SC-SWIFT, Traktman was convinced of the importance of developing skills in science communication. Knowledge. “For a Changing Biomedical Perspective. To date, seven of the eight T32 trainees, including Alhaji Janneh, have chosen the communications route.

“Before this internship, it was difficult to explain my research to my mother,” says Janneh. “But this writing internship helped me with my communication skills and improved my ability to effectively explain complex sciences to the general public, including my mother.”

Intern Catherine Mills believes that SC-SWIFT helps students and fellows communicate more effectively not only with the general public, but also with scientists from other disciplines and scientists unfamiliar with their work. to augment. She found this to be true by sharing her science on MUSC Research Day.

“If you can explain your science and your audience understands what you’re talking about better, you’ll get a better response,” she said.

SC-SWIFT also opens the door for students and fellows to explore various career paths related to science communication.

“It’s not just a skill, it’s a career,” Greseth said. “Yes, we publish the essay component to our students every week, but we also run various seminars and networking events for our internships. About once every six weeks, people come to tell us what they really are. Speak. Work in the world. ”

Julia Lefler, an intern, did not know that science writing was a career option until she became an intern.

“By doing this internship and falling in love with this side of things, I definitely started to think about my career path in science writing,” said Leffler.

SC-SWIFT is in continuous growth and wishes to provide interns with digital media and visual communication opportunities to reach a wide audience. The team will also offer digital badges for science communication in the near future and eventually a certification program.

“We serve the general public and are trusted by the general public,” says Traktman. “Because we want to increase our knowledge all over the world ScienceIt is very important to train scientists to communicate more effectively with people. ”


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For more information:
Kimberly McGhee et al, create an amateur press corps of graduate students and post-docs to cover the destruction of science and improve amateur writing skills. Journal of Clinical and Translational Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1017 / cts.2021.829

Provided by
South Carolina Medical College

Quote: The internship is a training course to communicate with the general public (September 30, 2021) obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-internship-scientists.html on September 30, 2021. Prepare scientists

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Internships prepare scientists for training in communicating with the general public

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