Drawn to Science Communication: Art-Science Synergy as a Career and a Way of Life

I recently gave an invited career talk at the 2020 annual conference of the Ecological Society of America. In case others are interested, I thought I would share the video (with captions) here.

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There have also been a number of responses to this talk which have led me to consider doing some recorded Zoom/video conversations, to capture discussion, advice, and more. Stay tuned for more on that front, and feel free to submit questions, advice, and resources via the comments section!

I don’t usually post selfies, but that’s about to change. OR, some things #scientistswhoselfie and #sketchyourscience have in common.

20150808_Biodiversity Inst workshop (2)_cr.jpg
Me (left) teaching a #sketchingforscientists workshop in Laramie, Wyoming

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent Science op-ed that was a personal attack against a well-known and successful science communicator and neuroscientist active on Instagram and other communication and engagement platforms. Among other things, I see this issue as relating to insecurities, negative social conditioning, and lack of support that folks often face when pursuing careers in the arts, or even considering trying out an art form.  Continue reading “I don’t usually post selfies, but that’s about to change. OR, some things #scientistswhoselfie and #sketchyourscience have in common.”

Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

This post has been updated (2021) to point to two more recent publications in which I detail the drawing-science integration approach I recommend and study.

Screenshot of article mentioned in the text of the blog post. A screen-reader-friendly version of the text is available by clicking the image or the hyperlink in the text.

In October 2018, I published a commentary in Nature which introduces key ideas I share with every instructor I coach on integrating drawing into field and lab courses. You can view that open-access commentary here.

In spring 2020, I published a peer-reviewed article in Natural Sciences Education which provides detailed context, resources, assignment and grading examples, and more. It is a robust overview of the framework I use when coaching instructors. You can read a synopsis here, listen to a podcast episode about the paper here, and view the full-length, open-access publication here.

If you would like to participate in the associated research project, please contact me directly. Additional faculty are welcome!


If you cannot access the publications, feel free to contact me directly – I am happy to send you a PDF of them.

SciArt: How do I get into a career like yours?

What would you say to someone who asked you how to go about making your own career goals a reality for themself?

Is there a SciArt career road map?
Is there a SciArt career road map?

I’ve been pondering that question since the ‘Sketching for Scientists’ course I recently taught for the faculty at Harvard Forest. For a sense of context, that session was a highlight among the many SciArt workshops and classes I have taught in the past few years, for a few specific reasons. Continue reading “SciArt: How do I get into a career like yours?”

Scicomm advice: 7 life lessons that will help make your science matter

Orange & metallic blue butterfly_20130619 (5)_cr_c_wm_rsTerry Wheeler studies bugs.

Insects, that is, and he writes haiku about them.  He also works at McGill, and runs a blog called Lyman Entomological Museum, which is a delightful collection of musings about life as an entomologist.  He recently posted a piece called “to a young naturalist” which proposes a required reading list for a budding researcher/naturalist much broader than text books and field guides.

He writes that a snapshot of his field camp library “was a nice little microcosm of General Life Advice to the Young Academic Naturalist.”

Wheeler’s insights, derived from fundamentals such as A Naturalist’s Field Guide to the Artic and the much less obvious Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbirdencompass many of the lessons I try to share with clients and colleagues working in science and sustainability.

IMG_0084_c_cr_wm_rsThey are life lessons that apply to anyone seeking a richly productive and meaningful life working in the sciences, natural history, and environmental fields. Continue reading “Scicomm advice: 7 life lessons that will help make your science matter”