May 4th is popularly said to be Star Wars Day (May the Force be with you). However, this May 4th, 2019 people from all around the world gathered with the purpose of celebrating science and advocating for science as the force of our future. Fueled by the great success of the last two Marches, on this Star Wars Day we went out to raise our voices again.
This year, NYC march was the flagship event for the March for Science Movement and several Columbia Postdocs attended and marched together with other scientists & non-scientists to stand for 1) open access science, 2) use of science for the common good and 3) the protection of human and environmental rights.
Two topics were central: the fight against climate change and the MeToo STEM Movement. Keynote Speakers were: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, an advocate for coastal communities and ocean justice, Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin, an advocate to fight discrimination and sexual misconduct in STEM and founder of MeTooSTEM website, Aracely Jimenez-Hudis, a fighter against climate change and Green new Deal supporter and Alexandria Villaseñor, a 13-year-old climate activist.
The organizers also hosted a Science Expo at Pace University that welcomed activists, curious minds and concerned citizens. I volunteered by showing how easy it is to extract tons of DNA from strawberries. I engaged in funny and interesting discussions about what is DNA and how the development of DNA sequencing techniques have changed the way we look at certain diseases. Brandon volunteered at the BioBus showing how fun the microscopic life can be!
At the end of the day everyone had fun, learned something new and came back home becoming more aware of the importance of advocating for science.
Jan 29th, Feb 5th, Feb 12th, 2019 @ CUMC (Organizers: Micaela Cunha & Sandra Franco Iborra, Outreach & Communications Committee)
We kicked-off 2019 with a series of Science Communication Seminars focused on presentation skills for postdocs.
Effectively communicating science is a must-have in today’s hypercompetitive research world, whether in our labs & department seminars, at conferences, or when pitching to potential sponsors. It can also be super useful if you want to get into teaching – or even when you’re trying to explain your work to your in-laws or your grandmother…
That’s part of why we created the Outreach and Communications Committee this Jan – to help postdocs develop their SciComm skills through seminars & workshops. We’re also trying to develop some outreach work where postdocs can engage in public speaking & share their work outside the good old ivory tower.
How to Prepare a Strong Scientific Presentation, January 29th Tatiana Schnieder – Assist. Prof. of Clinical Neurobiology, Columbia University
The Science of Slide Design, February 5th Eugene Douglass Jr. – Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Systems Biology, Columbia University.
Essential Elements for Effectively Delivering Your Presentation, February 12th Kyle Marian Viterbo – Science Communicator, The Symposium: Academic StandUp
March 2, 2019 @ Lasker Rink (Organizer: Olaya Fernandez Gayol, Networking & Community Building Committee)
Last month, Olaya brought Postdocs ice- skating ! Everyone met up at the Lasker Rink fully geared up for an icy adventure. Thanks to everyone who came and skated with us! It took team work to overcome the initial unexpected change of venue but we rerouted to another rink and ended up having a great time on the ice. The pictures will speak for themselves 🙂
February 19th & 26th, 2019 @ CUMC (Organizer: Marie Labouesse, Outreach & Communications Committee)
CUPS started off the year with a bunch of cool SciComm events. In February we got to hear Matteo Farinella, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, graphic designer and scientist.
Thank you to him for an amazing workshop on the power of comics & graphical abstracts to convey complex scientific ideas!
Tips we learned: Carefully design the layout of your story on paper before starting to create your visual on laptop. Feel free to combine genres(real data, figurative, diagrams).
Most importantly: use metaphors & characters, this will catch your reader’s attention and even help them to deal with complex (or boring) scientific ideas that would otherwise frighten them!
After learning about the theory we got to try it out for real ! Pencils, paper & a couple hours to draft our own graphical abstracts. Creative vibes & a nice change from day-to-day lab business and raw data.