The Public Science Cluster–an insider’s view

Since September 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to be a communication specialist for the Leadership in Public Science Cluster at NC State. As my time here comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on what a wonderful learning experience this position has been.

As a communication major and history minor, my class time is spent mostly in the liberal arts and rarely ventures into the sciences. I had spent most of college years admiring science from afar, thinking it seemed interesting, but worrying I wouldn’t understand it.

But when I heard about this position, I thought I could get some great experience and draw nearer to a world I didn’t quite understand. And I’m so glad I did! These past nine months have shown me how much science has to offer beyond the world of academia and how important accessible science is.

I’ve had the chance to interview some fascinating scientists and educators from NC State and learn about the work they’re doing- people like K.C. Busch and her work with science education or Ph.D student Alex Hsain and her research into low-powered electronics. I also got to learn about the history of the cluster with Dan Solomon.

I’ve been able to hear about how the Cluster and its members are also involved in activities promoting citizen science- one of my favorites was the “Never Home Alone” gala, where Rob Dunn explored the biodiversity in our day-to-day lives. Additionally, I had the chance to learn more about Madhusudan Katti’s podcast, “Science: a Candle in the Dark,” and I was able to attend a Citizen Science Club meeting and learn about what my peers are doing to promote the field.

Finally, I’ve had the chance to learn about how art and science can intersect at the Gregg Museum. It was interesting to see how these two vastly different worlds can complement each other so well- to see how art can be the perfect medium to convey science’s messages.

My time with the Public Science Cluster has made me more aware of the importance of science in our everyday lives and the importance of sharing that science with the communities around us. And I am proud to graduate from a university that knows the importance of that too.