Written and illustrated by SolvingFor Member and ENGAGE participant Abbey Morris
In searching for more professional development opportunities in science communication, I came across the Solving for Science ENGAGE course facilitated and designed by Liz Neeley. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate and signed up. For 10 weeks, I hopped on Zoom, eager to learn and slightly nervous to be in a virtual room with people who seemed much more accomplished and further ahead in their career stages than myself. I absorbed as much material as I could and came away each week with lots to think about.
From questions like “what change in behavior do [you] hope to create?” in week one to bits of wisdom from Liz like “our most important audience is our future selves” — the course challenged us to grapple with our presumptions about knowledge. Liz covered several theoretical perspectives on the science behind science communication but also provided short practice opportunities each week. She encouraged everyone to participate in whatever capacity they felt comfortable.
I walked away from ENGAGE with tactics for strategic communication campaigns, a new interest in social science research and an understanding of which core competencies are foundational to the practice of science communication. While I didn’t come away from the course with a completed science communication product or piece of work, I did gain access to a plethora of resources from experts in the field, a community of people who share in my enthusiasm for science engagement, and a renewed sense of self-efficacy in my ability to do good science communication.
At the beginning of the course, Liz shared a quote that said, “The only way out is through”. Despite my best efforts to find “the easy way out” of things that require a lot of thinking, I am constantly reminded that there are no shortcuts, especially when it comes to creativity and building expertise. This ENGAGE course is part of my journey “through” and I will carry these lessons with me as I continue to navigate my way through the triumphs and tribulations of finding my place in the world of science communication.
Abbey Morris grew up in the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation known as Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In 2021, she completed her Master’s in Science Communication at Laurentian University bridging her passion for art and science. Now a member of Solving For Science, she’s expanding her definition of what a scientist is and finding joy in learning about the science behind science communication. You can find highlights of her art, science, and social justice work on her website.