A few weeks ago, I read a science journalism internship advertised on a sci-comm mailing list. The internship seemed like a good fit in terms of hours and responsibilities- it included adapting published articles into lay summaries, something I would be interested in. However, the company focused on bioscience and lab science, which I’ve not studied. I could understand the lay versions, but I couldn’t clearly grasp the original articles. So I never applied for that internship, as my biosciences knowledge currently isn’t strong enough.
Thinking about this let me better articulate a background worry/fear that’s been present since I finished my course: that I don’t have a strong enough science background to take part in many aspects of scicomm.
The majority of job postings I’ve seen have sought out biosciences, biology, or chemistry graduates. Jobs titled “science communicator”, especially entry-level roles, usually feature demonstrations explaining natural science concepts through experiments.
But that’s not me. In terms of qualifications, having psychology as my first degree rather than a different science often leaves me feeling unsure and under-qualified when reading job descriptions. In fact, my limited hard science knowledge/qualifications is a point of insecurity for me. For Chemistry, I have a C at A-level; for Physics, I have a C-grade AS-Level. For Biology, my school’s science education was so lacking that all of Key Stage 4 Biology was crammed into to the three weeks before our GCSEs.
In terms of personal ability, I’m not at all suited to science demonstrations or face-to-face outreach. Research, writing, or media (in a behind-the-scenes way) is where my ability is and where my interest is. So where do I go from this?
Logically, I should focus on what I do know, so I can start looking for roles which need the knowledge I have. That’s a bit of an issue for me, given how tangential my academic history has been. My main academic threads are:
BSc – Psychology
Research experience- virtual worlds in psychology education.
MSc – Science Communication
Dissertation and research -open educational resources/open science.
These areas do overlap a little, but they don’t form a clear path to any particular role or organisation. They also focus on social sciences and education research, rather than STEM. As a result, I’m slightly doubting my intended-science-communicator status: I feel like I’m not aligned with the hard sciences enough for the majority of sci-comm. In short, I feel like I’m not enough of a scientist, and I don’t really know where what I can do will be of any use.
So now I’ve got some questions to go.alongside the worries, which I’ll leave here in the hope that the internet can help:
Do science communicators for social sciences exist as they do for natural sciences?
In what fields can a multi-subject background, especially my combination of subjects, be useful?