The 2011 – 2012 committee greatly enjoyed their time with Science Brainwaves, so much so that some members of the committee were able to remain within the 2012 – 2013 committee (Ben Dornan, Holly Rogers, Katherine Chapman and Dominic Swain). Tacita Nye and Adam Croucher are now busy in the final stages of completing their PhD’s and looking for new jobs, whilst Harsha Kodham and Farah Al-Shorbaji have both completed their undergraduate degrees, with Harsha progressing to do a Masters in Advanced Control Systems!
Planning the first Christmas lecture was what made me realise I wanted to go into science communication after my PhD, and officially setting up Science Brainwaves just afterwards was a massive step in the right direction. After an amazing year, where we launched the website, recruited masses of volunteers, organised events and headed off to Green Man festival, I left Sheffield to do a science journalism MA. I’m now genetics editor of BioNews and a freelance journalist, having written for New Scientist, Nature and Research Fortnight.
What I did at Brainwaves: Head of Website/Managing Director
What I do now: Special Projects Manager, UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres
My initial responsibility for Science Brainwaves was designing and implementing a website, and coordinating a small team of volunteers to help develop and maintain it. Further down the line I took on more and more responsibilities, for planning and executing events and activities. I did this during my doctoral studies. I gained valuable experience with time management, planning and budgeting. A really important aspect of what I did was bringing people together – whether this was through recruiting volunteers to get involved with Brainwaves, or shaping activities with external partners.
Today I work for a national charity with the aim of involving and inspiring the public with science. We achieve this through bringing together our members, which make up the UK’s largest publicly accessible network dedicated to both informal science learning and family science engagement. I am responsible for the delivery of two major, multi-partner, national projects focussed on bringing alive different areas of science to the public in science centres. Basically, I ensure that the projects run on schedule, within budget, within the agreed scope of work.
I was one of the four founding members of Science Brainwaves and later became director. I went straight from my Ph.D into a job in science policy at the Association of Medical Research Charities; it’s a job that I love and there aren’t that many jobs going in it so I feel very lucky.
I truly believe that I wouldn’t have got where I am without Science Brainwaves on my CV. I learnt how to write properly for a range of audiences through blogging, writing news articles and preparing grant proposals to get money for our events. It gave me so many experiences to draw upon in interviews: how I’ve worked in a team but also been a leader, how I’ve dealt with pressure or worked to a deadline and how I’ve approached seemingly insurmountable problems. But most of all I’ve been able to show that I’ve taken the initiative to achieve something quite unique. The great thing about Science Brainwaves is that it’s run by students and so you can have the opportunity to make it what you want, to be creative and really have something significant and different to show for your hard work.