Favourite Thing: I love going into the field for my science communication research, whether that means interviewing scientists about their research, interviewing people about their connections with their local environments, producing science communication film documentaries, or doing survey research to understand what messages best help people learn and care about global warming!
B.S. and M.S. (Masters Degree completed in 2008) in Biological Engineering at LSU. 1 year PhD experience at Washington University in St. Louis, Biomedical Engineering. Currently a PhD Student in Mass Communications at Manship School, LSU.
Science Blogger for Nature Publishing Group (http://blogs.nature.com/from_the_lab_bench/).
At Louisiana State University, I work as a Biological Engineering Graduate Research Fellow, as a Communications Intern in the Office of Research Communications, and as a swimming and diving coach! At Wash Univ. in St. Louis I worked as a Biomedical Engineering PhD Student.
Mass Communication (Science Journalism) PhD Student at LSU and LSU Research Communications Intern
Louisiana State University
Me and my work
I am a scientist and a communicator – As a scientist I have engineered ‘smart’ bio-nanomaterials and I study how communications can help people connect with the science of the world around them; As a communicator I turn scientific research into story!
My Typical Day
No single day is the same, but somewhere in there are usually the following: Interviewing some big-name scientist doing revolutionary research at LSU and beyond, filming for my new environmental communications film documentary CO2Bayou, creating surveys to understand how people engage in science in their everyday lives, walking my black boxer Mojo, and drinking coffee!
What I'd do with the money
If I won the prize money, I would have the means to continue producing my new environmental film, CO2 Bayou (http://co2bayou.wordpress.com/). I hope to get young students in Louisiana involved in this project in the future, and I need new camera equipment and the means to distribute this film to Louisiana officials and science communicators!
I am trying to produce a film for which I need contributions and funds!
To inform communicators and officials in the state of Louisiana about public opinion of global climate change impacts, shedding light on how Louisiana residents interact with their environment, how they perceive global climate change, and what motivates them to be active toward their environment in positive ways.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Cheerful, inspired, goofy!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Paramore – she is amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH9A6tn_P6g
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hmm… either held an alligator on a Louisiana Swamp Tour, or won my SEC Championship Diving competition on 10meter platform.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Be an amazing photographer/videographer, take more classes in environmental science and engineering (which I probably will do soon — I’m a life-long learner!), and have electron vision to be able to ‘see’ nanomaterials!!!
What did you want to be after you left school?
After high school, I wanted to engineer and design artificial hearts! That is why I went into biological engineering in the first place…
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Not really… although in the 4th grade my parents were called in because I was failing P.E. (I couldn’t catch a ball) and because I was falling behind in the slowest reading group. I ended up being a championship collegiate athlete in the sport of diving and a scientist, so I guess those early ‘failures’ didn’t mean much!
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Made a difference in the lives of young science and engineering students, by mentoring them in pre-college programs and inviting them to begin blogging about science at Nature Education, http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/student-voices.
Tell us a joke.
How fast do you have to run to get away from an alligator? Considering they can run up to 25 mph, just a bit faster than the slowest person in your group!
Alligators circling in the water of the Louisiana swamps around me!
Some researchers are discussing the use of reflective nanoparticles, or nanoparticles that are bright and can reflect sunlight, to prevent more global warming by keeping some of the sun’s energy out of our atmosphere. Cloud particles already do this… sunlight is reflected by the bright clouds but absorbed by the dark ground underneath. Some scientists believe that if we put sulfur aerosols and other bright nanoparticles in clouds, we will cause the world to absorb less sunlight and thus we can save the Earth from Global Warming. What do you think? http://blogs.nature.com/from_the_lab_bench/2012/06/24/the-gatekeepers-of-sunlight
The Sun provides the energy that drives Earth’s climate, but not all of the energy that reaches the top of the atmosphere finds its way to the surface. That’s because aerosols–and clouds seeded by them–reflect about a quarter of the Sun’s energy back to space. (NASA Image)
This is a synchrotron radiation source, at a facility called CAMD in Louisiana! The radiation, produced from a special ring that is a ‘racetrack’ for electrons, can be used to look inside nanomaterials, and to look at the structures of DNA and proteins, the tiny molecules that are the workhorses of your cells and life! The pipes here contain electrons moving VERY FAST around a ring, like cars on a racetrack! I interviewed scientists here about their work, and I TOOK THIS PICTURE!
My dog Mojo!
Me holding an alligator during recent filming of CO2Bayou!
I study how ‘framing’ scientific messages in a certain way affects people’s opinions about scientific issues like global warming, nanomaterials, and stem cell research. For example, I ask questions like ‘Which is better? Framing global warming in the scientific facts surrounding the issue OR framing global warming as a matter of why people should care because of personal values tied to their local cities.’ In other words, I look at how different ways of stating the issue make people think in different ways about it.
What do you know about global warming?
Greenhouse gases, like the carbon dioxide that comes out of these smoke stacks as they burn fossil fuels, are largely driving current global warming trends.
My mockinterview with science blogger Chris Mooney.