Welcome to 2014 with AWIS DC! This year, we are taking the opportunity afforded by social media to give you a brief “introduction” to all of the AWIS DC officers. We are here to help you, and if you spot us at an AWIS DC gathering, please say hi!
For our second installment in this series, please welcome…me! Your friendly new Vice President of Social Media.
Bethany Brookshire has a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Philosophy from The College of William and Mary, and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She is the guest Editor of the Open Laboratory Anthology of Science Blogging, 2009, and the winner of the Society for Neuroscience Next Generation Award and the Three Quarks Daily Science Writing Award, among others. She is now a Science Education Writer for Science News for Students and the Society for Science and the Public at the blog Eureka! Lab, and runs the blog ‘Scicurious’ at Science News. can follow her on Twitter as @scicurious.
What do you do?
I am a science writer at Science News, run by the Society for Science and the Public. I run two of the blogs there, one is my usual science writing blog called “Scicurious,” and the other is a new initiative called Eureka! Lab, which is a source for science educators and students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. It’s a wonderful chance to build a place where students and teachers can go to get inspired about STEM.
What is your science “story?”
I decided to be a scientist (but I wasn’t sure what kind) when I was in high school. In college, I studied aquatic ecosystems for my undergraduate research, and applied around to graduate school…with no idea of what I was doing. I settled on a Physiology and Pharmacology program, where I began to pursue neuropharmacology. It’s a truly fascinating area of research, and I learned so much. During my time in graduate school, I started writing online under the pseudonym “Scicurious.” Soon, I began to realize where my talents lie, in conveying complex scientific concepts to the public in a way they can understand, while at the same time letting them know that science is a process, that it is not perfect, and that there is not one straight answer.
I still wanted to keep my options open, so after grad school I did a postdoc in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Again, it was fantastic research. But I continued writing the entire time. I began to win writing awards and write books. When it came time for my next transition, I left academia and took up writing full time. Now I am so pleased to be able to develop my skills as a writer and journalist.
Why did you decide to get involved with AWIS DC?
I discovered AWIS during my postdoc at U Penn. It seemed like a great resource. But now that I am in the DC area, AWIS DC seems even better. A friend of mine encouraged me to get involved.
What is one of your favorite things about AWIS DC?
It’s a strong, interesting, successful and active group of women. I’m so happy to be able to meet women in science outside of my own small field. It’s wonderful to hear their stories! They do such amazing things!
What new program or event at AWIS DC do you like the most? Why?
I am so excited about the mentoring circles. It seems like a great change to get advice and input from a number of people. I love the idea of a mentoring circle of peers. People can mentor in many different ways, and I think this initiative emphasizes that.
In your new position, what do you hope you will help AWIS DC accomplish?
In my time as a science writer, I’ve become pretty good at social media, including blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I hope to help AWIS DC maximize its social media potential. I would like to use the blog to help AWIS DC get to know it’s members. I would like to use Twitter and Facebook to help AWIS DC members know about events from AWIS DC, as well as related events and opportunities for STEM professionals. Finally, I would like to leverage LinkedIn to help AWIS DC members know about professional opportunities in the area. With a focused approach, AWIS DC social media can be an effective tool for all members.
Tell us something personal about yourself: when did you fall in love with science?
I first realized I loved science when I went to Nature Camp! I was a total nerd and LOVED taking classes about bugs and mammals and fish and plants. It was my favorite place on earth for 6 years, and made me realize how much fun science could be.