Saturday, May 7, 2016

Communication Intensive

As I'm sure I've said multiple times on this blog. I thought I was ahead of the game going into 20.109 in terms of science communication. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

At the beginning of the semester, I actually started behind everyone because I already had a very different experience in science communication. I had no idea how to form a proper abstract, where to put my analysis, or even what tense to write in. I definitely did not know how to give a journal club presentation. When I first read my paper, there were more words in every sentence that I didn't know than words that I did know. It was very difficult to pick out the information when I didn't understand any of it.

One of the hardest parts for me was figuring out what was jargon and what wasn't. I am not in the biology or biological engineering field outside of this class, and so I would use words that I assumed were common and explain words that I thought were not only to find out that I had misjudged.

After writing ~2 research papers (Mod 1 and Mod 3 count as 1 all together), I think I've definitely improved upon my writing. I know what information to put in which section and how detailed the information needs to be. I really like writing methods sections and making figures. I think that these aspects are much easier for me because they involve conveying very straight forward information in a visual or very numerical way.

I also feel as though I can pick apart a paper much more efficiently to find the relevant information. There are still plenty of words that I don't understand, but I have also learned where to most efficiently find the meanings of those words.

Overall, I am much more confident in my ability to read and write about science.


I am horrified about this research proposal presentation. I did not do very well on the last presentation as I was very very nervous. Now, I feel as though my grade is riding on this presentation, which makes me more nervous. My lab partner, Olivia, is very adamant about being prepared for things, so that should help. However, I feel like no matter how prepared I am, I always get nervous while I'm up there and start speaking too quickly without realizing what I'm saying.

My plan for addressing this issue is to practice, practice, practice. It will be easier to correct myself because Olivia will be practicing with me and we can help each other. We are also planning on going to the BE Communications Lab for feedback on our presentation. I hope that they will be able to provide that last little constructive criticism that will push our presentation to be the best it can be.

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