Internship with Naked Scientists offers Danielle an array of new experiences

Internship with Naked Scientists offers Danielle an array of new experiences

For Danielle Blackwell, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences, an opportunity to undertake her PIPS internship with the Naked Scientists in Cambridge was the perfect chance to develop her science communication skills and gain some valuable hands-on experience.

The Naked Scientists are a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose aim is to help the general public to understand and engage in science, technology and medicine via web articles and radio shows. During the 12 week internship, which ran from January to March 2015, Danielle’s weekly responsibilities included looking through embargoed papers and pitching the best news stories for the week, contacting scientists about their research, setting up and conducting interviews, editing audio and writing news articles. Danielle’s news articles were published on the website every week, which often reached well over 1000 views. Audio interviews were broadcast on local, national and international radio (BBC Cambridgeshire, BBC 5live and across Australia on ABC Radio National) and put into the podcast which gets around 50,000 downloads.

Danielle also had the opportunity to produce an entire Naked Scientists show in front of a live audience. She came up with the idea for the show, found and contacted appropriate guests, organised logistics of how the show would run, wrote the script and made sure the presenters and guests were briefed. The result was a great success; “My idea of following a forensic investigation and narrating it with a story is a show structure that hadn’t been done before. The show was a great success and they will think about doing shows like this again”, Danielle said.

Danielle feels she gained a lot of skills during her internship. Trying to be creative was the hardest challenge but is something she improved on greatly. The internship was also an excellent opportunity to increase Danielle’s self-confidence and she says that she now feels much better equipped to approach other scientists and ask them probing questions about their work. Time management and organisational skills were other benefits that Danielle gained from her placement.

Danielle would not hesitate to recommend the PIPS programme. “It’s a brilliant opportunity to do something a bit different, something that you otherwise might not be able to try, so try and find an internship somewhere you have always been curious about and have fun with it.”

To read about or listen to some of the many topics that Danielle was involved in please go to her Naked Scientists web page and click on the links there: