August 12, 2014

New seminar explores careers in science communications

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Given the current challenging funding climate and employment landscape for PhD-trained scientists, graduate students and trainees have begun talking about career options outside of academic research. And they want to make sure they are talking to people "in the know."

As part of this effort, the Office of Postdoctoral Education has arranged “Talking the Talk: Career Options in Science Communications,” Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in the UAB Hospital West Pavilion Conference Center.

The one-day innovative and interactive experience brings experienced and nationally recognized professionals in science communication, including former bench scientists who became science communicators (see bios below). The seminar covers entrepreneurship, journalism, institutional communications and more, starting with a panel discussion from noon until 2 p.m., followed by an opportunity to meet the panelists from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., and a social meetup at Fuego after 4 p.m.

The event is open to the whole UAB community, including undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff.

“Talking the Talk” is presented as the Office of Postdoctoral Education’s “UAB CHOICES Program,” which proposes to provide students and trainees with information in four career paths outside of academic research, including science communication, business and entrepreneurship, public policy and research administration.

Speaker bios:
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Kirsten Sanford, Ph.D: Known as "Dr. Kiki," Dr. Sanford is a science communications serial entrepreneur, having launched and produced several science-related radio shows, podcasts and web video shows, including This Week in Science and Smart App Moms. In 2005 she was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Science & Engineering fellow, producing health and science news for TV station WNBC in New York. Dr. Sanford has a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology from the University of California, Davis.

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Marla Broadfoot, Ph.D.: Dr. Broadfoot is a freelance science writer and in the Raleigh, N.C., area. She has written about a wide range of topics -- from the life-sustaining properties of sunlight to the ethical issues surrounding ancestry testing to a five-part series funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund about the unique challenges faced by women in science. Dr. Broadfoot previously worked as a public information officer for Duke University Medical Center. Her work has been published by the Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer, the Mayo Clinic, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the UNC School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, American Scientist and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has a PhD in genetics and molecular biology from UNC-Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical molecular genetics at the NIH.
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Ben Young Landis: Mr. Landis is a science communicator for the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Sacramento where he writes and edits science news and designs and manages web pages. He also writes a popular blog about marine diversity called Better Know a Fish. He is a co-founder of Capital Science Communicators. Mr. Landis has a master's degree Environmental Management, Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University.

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Russ Campbell: Mr. Campbell is the communications officer for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the cofounder of the Science Communicators of North Carolina. He is an advocate and supporter of science communication outreach efforts and has written about the topic for Scientific American. Mr. Campbell has an MLA in Creative Writing from U. Penn