Background and Development
Hubristic teenager Theresa wanted to understand human thinking. All of it. Bring it on, she would solve the problem. I-n-t-e-r-d-i-s-c-i-p-l-i-n-a-r-i-l-y. So she decided to study it all: Psychology (dropped out pretty fast), Biology, Philosophy. The longer she studied, the further away she felt to solving the problem – in fact she stopped viewing it as such.
BONDING WITH BIOLOGY
Instead, she discovered molecular biology and fell in love instantaneously. Then developmental biology. Omg, awestruck. How does that work? A single fertilized egg, then a bunch of stem cells and at some point: an inside and an outside, a head, tail, hands, stomach and – most crazily – a brain! Development and Differentiation, all of it controlled by genes. Getting the grips with this kept her occupied for years.
The fascination did not let go off her when she walked out of the lab. Theresa was convinced that genes and their role in development would strike everybody as the most interesting thing on earth – it they only knew enough about it. So she took every opportunity there was to tell others about it. When her friends were fed up listening, she performed in the theater, started her blog “The gene of the week” and wrote pieces about genetics for news outlets.
SCIENCE COMMUNICATION FOR EVERYONE
She then learned that what she does is a thing. Science Communication. Being a PhD student and enjoying outreach a lot, she became convinced that every PhD student would love to engage more with the public – if only they had the chance (you might detect a strange character trait of Theresa here). However, turned out surveys suggest that indeed most scientists would like to do outreach – if only they found the time and opportunities to do so.
So the next step was clear: support them. Invest the time they don’t have to set up platforms and channels, creating opportunities and – most importantly – train them to do it. That is, to reach out whichever way comes most easily for them: blogposts, podcasts, videos or a science slam on stage. So Theresa did this for PhD students and Postdocs at DESY, Uni Hamburg, HELIOS, the Helmholtz Information and Data Science Schools and she is more than willing to do it again.