Kendra Helen Oliver, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor | Department of Pharmacology | Basic Sciences | School of Medicine | Vanderbilt University
Senior Lecturer | Communication of Science and Technology |College of Arts and Sciences | Vanderbilt University
I am an experienced scientist passionate about science communication, multi-disciplinary projects, and online learning and engagement approaches. It is critical that we find new strategies to communicate scientific finding and engage the public. By embracing digital technologies and using online learning and visualization methods, I am exploring visual science communication to support online education and science communication approaches. Although classically trained as a research scientist in pharmacology, I consider myself a science communication designer with skills ranging from project management, pedagogical approaches to online learning, video production, instructional design, and web design. With a foundation as a cross-disciplinary team member, I am interested in developing and utilizing these skills to produce science marketing, communication, and engagement strategies, particularly those at the intersection of art and science.
In 2017, I created a program at Vanderbilt University called ArtLab (https://artlabvanderbilt.com). ArtLab stemmed from a desire to better understand the seeming inherit resemblances within the arts and sciences. As an artist, I have naturally gravitated to visual approaches to enrich my science and sought to better understand this practice. ArtLab aims to connect artists and scientists within the Vanderbilt University community to ignite dialogue on art-science. ArtLab Fellows gain experience in artistic and scientific processes and contribute to work shown during the final exhibition. As the founder and director of the program, it has grown from an idea, culminating in our first exhibition, to a cross-campus initiative that is pioneering new approaches to visual science communication. We have collected data and published on the impact of these types of science outreach programs, published on student artistic perspectives, and are currently testing science communication approaches. To support this initiative, I have created courses for students (CSET 2410, CSET 1001.01), designed and managed events ranging from $3,000-$12,000, and written both art and science grants to support our mission.
I am also passionate to expand online course development in the Basic Sciences, School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. My experience in education began during my post-doctoral studies with Dr. Billy G. Hudson in association with AspirnautTM. AspirnautTM began with “WiFi” school buses, expanded to “beaming” of weekly STEM labs to elementary and middle schools in rural America, and is currently the flagship summer research internships for high school and undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Utilizing this background in education, I am currently assisting in the development of a transintitutional framework to support digital resources development. The primary goal of this effort is to develop online novel programs and courses in drug discovery, a leading discipline at Vanderbilt University. This effort has culminated in the development of Drug Discovery Online (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/drugdiscovery/about/) , a service core to assist Faculty with instructional design, video and audio editing services, website design, and course assessment strategies.