To date I’ve used this blog to send out mass-emails to friends and family from trips abroad. As you can tell from the last entry date, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the field. In the interim I finished my Masters at Michigan (I won’t belabor the details now), was accepted at Yale’s School of Forestry and in August moved to New Haven, CT to start a five-year Ph.D. program in conservation ecology.
I am now happily ensconced in the Schmitz lab and am excitedly outlining plans for my dissertation research (more on that later, I’m sure!). My days are fairly well occupied with reading and thinking about dissertation projects, paper ideas, grant proposals and the like, but in the back of my mind I’ve been thinking a great deal about the importance and the difficulty of communicating good science to broader audiences.
I am daily discouraged by the lack of science fluency, or even interest, in America, highlighted by an election cycle with conservative candidates clamoring to see who can most completely confuse, question or in any other way ignore scientific understanding. Personally, I think that conservatives are doing themselves a great long-term disservice in their rejection of science, but I think some fault lies with scientists as well for failing to discuss, present and explain their own research to others in ways that cannot be ignored. In the end though, the biggest losers are humans, regardless of party or even nationality, and natural ecosystems, both of which stand to lose everything if we don’t find some solution.
I’m not sure what I can do to help solve this issue, but I mean to start chipping away where I can. All solutions must begin somewhere, so here’s my meager start. My goal then is to, in part, find ways to start describing my own research and the research of my colleagues in reasonable, exciting, enlightening ways. Interspersed, so this blog doesn’t feel too academic, (and in all honesty sometimes I need to think about something else to keep my sanity) I’ll add some fun flair to the posts just to lighten the tone. Thanks for reading, and please contact me with ideas, comments or questions!