It is critical that we find new strategies to communicate scientific findings 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 education and 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. Pharmacology is an interesting discipline in that it has real-world implications extending beyond academic research, and new discoveries have the potential to affect contemporaneous cultural and societal issues. Studying a discipline like Pharmacology is an exciting opportunity to have clear examples that can have such direct implications on the students’ daily lives. I am to provide tailored coursework and facilitate discussions to help make these findings comprehensible. My ultimate goal as a teacher and student of Pharmacology to demonstrate the widespread implications of science to my students, evoking a critical thinking process that will expand beyond the classroom.
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 trans-institutional 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.
A third major interest is the development of new programs that allow students to explore creative outlets for expressing their scientific knowledge and cross-disciplinary interests. In 2017, I created a program at Vanderbilt University called ArtLab (https://artlabvanderbilt.com). ArtLab stemmed from a desire to better understand the seemingly inherent 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 and a simple exhibition to where ArtLab is now 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.