Lucka hones communication skills during internship with Naked Scientists

Lucka hones communication skills during internship with Naked Scientists

Lu?ka Bibi?, a student at UEA, spent her 3 month internship at the Naked Scientists in Cambridge from June to September 2016. Lu?ka hoped to address one of her biggest weaknesses; verbal communication with non-scientists so the Naked Scientists, a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose passion is to help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine offered the perfect opportunity to do this. Launched in 2001, the Naked Scientists was one of the first podcasts to exist and is now one of the world’s most popular science shows, achieving over 50 million programme downloads in the last 5 years.

The main objectives of Lu?ka’s internship included increasing public knowledge and awareness about science on specific issues, disseminating information and building public knowledge about science, fostering excitement and interest about science, and reframing scientific issues in ways that improve accessibility.

Lu?ka worked on the science beat and covered a wide variety of scientific fields, including medicine, geology, physics, rocket science and the environment.  “Weekly, I had to produce a written news piece (500 words) according to an agreed style, conduct interviews with scientists, doctors and academics and produce podcasts”, says Lu?ka.  During the placement, Lu?ka produced more than 12 podcasts and written news articles which can be found on the web links below.

Her other responsibilities included reading and researching specialist literature such as scientific papers, newspapers, journals, press releases and internet resources, and conducting meetings with colleagues to plan the content of the weekly show. She also generated ideas for her own one hour live radio show, researching, verifying and collecting evidence and information to support a story and producing a live radio show, broadcasted over BBC and ABC. Lu?ka identified potential interviewees, briefed them, prepared interview questions, collected data from scientific papers and other informative sources and selected appropriate pictures and sounds to accompany the story.   She conducted interviews, including one with a TV celebrity, Dr Mayim Bialik from the Big Bang Theory.  Lu?ka also lead a 3-day science communication workshop for University of Cambridge, which was a tremendous success.

As a result of her internship, Lu?ka gained insights into science journalism and developed a wide range of skills and attributes which will contribute to her employment opportunities. “At the end of my placement, I have strengthened my communication skills (written and spoken) and learnt how to work under strict deadlines”, she reflects. She learned that it takes time to strike a right balance of explaining technical concepts without using too much jargon. She also gained an understanding of media law and BBC policy codes of conduct. Her personal effectiveness, including self-confidence, accepting responsibility, time management and career development improved, as did her team working skills.

Lu?ka felt that the internship was a great way to improve her graduate opportunities following on from the PhD. “I’d suggest going for something that is completely out of your comfort zone, but you are still passionate enough to try. Go to a place where you can address your weaknesses and, through work and practice, turn them into your strengths”, advises Lu?ka.

To see some of the work that Lu?ka produced during her internship, please see the links below;