The last Friday of the month is the day for my post for the We are the World Blogfest. This blogfest was born out of a desire to change the tone on social media to one of positivity, peace, and connection. Participants come from all around the world.
In the choices I have made for my previous #WATWB posts, I am noticing a theme emerging in which a creative individual, often a woman, finds a new way to communicate and bring people together through science, music, art, or some combination of these. This month’s story, Ph.D. student pioneers storytelling strategies for science communication, fits well in that theme.
Sara ElShafie is a graduate student in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. She has struggled with a process that is probably familiar to many of us: how to explain the work that she loves and is passionate about to family and friends. I think this struggle can be particularly difficult for scientists because of the field’s arcane vocabulary, yet it is also particularly vital in these technological times.
ElShafie is working with Pixar Animation Studios to help scientists frame their work with compelling themes and emotional depth in order to reach broad audiences. I myself became interested in science as a teenager through reading science fiction stories such as Dune and The Martian Chronicles and watching TV shows and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars. I am thrilled to see more stories coming out from actual scientists that can inspire young and old, scientist and lay person alike. Because these days, we all need to be scientifically literate, no matter how old we are and whether we work in science or not.