About Me

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I'm an assistant professor of neuroscience at Washington State University in Vancouver, where I use tiny zebrafish (the size of an eyelash!) as a model system to study human hearing loss and how we can prevent it. I'm also a long-time Toastmaster and I teach communication workshops. This blog represents the merging of my two passions - science and communication, which has really become one central passion - the science of communication. There's a revolution in science right now...the idea that we scientists should sometimes leave the lab and talk about what we do, and why we do it, to real people. This blog looks at why we should do this, and how to actually talk about science with non-scientists (and with each other!). Portions of this blog are also featured on Qualia, the AAAS MemberCenter blog site.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I’m currently remodeling my house, which is why I haven’t blogged recently!  All of this remodeling has led me to think about tools…specifically about having the right tools for the each job.  If I want to do something, like paint a wall, I use a paintbrush.  I don’t actually have to invent the paintbrush, or build it, but I can buy one and use it for my project.

Similarly, when we speak to the public (or even to other scientists), there are many successful tools that we can use to actively engage our audience.  A few months back I had a great chat with Anna Lakovitch from The Smithsonian Associates, an organization within the Smithsonian Institute dedicated to public outreach and education.  Anna and I discussed creating a toolbox of ready-made audience engagement tools that speakers could use to liven up public presentations, even make them (gasp) fun!