8 episodes

Are you a STEAM undergraduate or graduate student? An early-career scientist? A science-lover who wants to use your degree to make an impact? This podcast is for YOU!
In Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist, we will interview scientists and science advocates whose work focuses on the biggest crises of our day: sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice. Each guest will answer all your questions about how to get involved, take action, and go from a wannabe scientist to the real thing.

Your host is Nicole Felts, an ecologist and science communicator. Nicole got her MSc from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Geography and Environmental Systems. She has a vested interest in empowering students to conduct honorable science and communicate compassionately. Science is at its best when everyone has the opportunity to understand and participate.

Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist Nicole Felts

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Are you a STEAM undergraduate or graduate student? An early-career scientist? A science-lover who wants to use your degree to make an impact? This podcast is for YOU!
In Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist, we will interview scientists and science advocates whose work focuses on the biggest crises of our day: sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice. Each guest will answer all your questions about how to get involved, take action, and go from a wannabe scientist to the real thing.

Your host is Nicole Felts, an ecologist and science communicator. Nicole got her MSc from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Geography and Environmental Systems. She has a vested interest in empowering students to conduct honorable science and communicate compassionately. Science is at its best when everyone has the opportunity to understand and participate.

    Communication | Ep 03 | Science Writer, Sheeva Azma, of Fancy Comma, LLC

    Communication | Ep 03 | Science Writer, Sheeva Azma, of Fancy Comma, LLC

    The latest episode of Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist is now LIVE on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Podbean!



    Season 02 (Communication) | Ep 03 | Sheeva Azma of Fancy Comma, LLC


    In this episode, our host Nicole Felts interviews Sheeva Azma, owner of Fancy Comma, LLC. Sheeva is an MIT and Georgetown grad who spent 10 years as a cognitive neuroscience researcher.


    In 2020, just a month before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Sheeva founded Fancy Comma, a science writing company that supports people and organizations in all sectors, including industry, nonprofit, academia, government, and the medical field.


    Join us as we explore what a career is like as a science writer!

    In this episode, Sheeva shares with us

    How scientific literacy is the guiding light for her career





    Making the transition from scientific research into science writing





    Her reflections on sustainability as a freelance science writer





    During this episode, we have in-depth conversations about

    The importance of networking and connectivity in science careers





    Diversity of ideas, community diversity, and workforce diversity





    Adapting and learning as you do work in the field





    From this episode, you can expect to learn

    What the difference is between science journalism and science communication





    How to tackle topics that scare you






    Timestamps
    2:21 - Sheeva talks about how she got into science writing


    11:06 - Bridging the gap between science and SciComm


    34:59 - Making science culture more inclusive and collaborative


    42:02 - The role of scientists in policymaking


    45:00 - Entrepreneurship as a science writer


    49:31 - Sheeva's book and starting as a science writer


    55:42 - Different types of science writing: content writing, copywriting (marketing writing), and science journalism


    1:01:50 - What motivates Sheeva in her current work, and her current career goals


    1:05:51 - Sheeva’s day-to-day routine and tools she uses to get work done


    1:15:53 - The most exciting projects Sheeva’s worked on in the COVID-19 pandemic


    1:21:59 - Important skills or traits needed in science writing


    1:25:00 - Challenges as an independent business owner and freelancer


    1:32:56 - Sheeva’s writing (and thoughts) on sustainability


    Correction: at 1 hour & 41 minutes, Sheeva stated that Qatar was in OPEC, but as she later informed us via email, Qatar left OPEC in 2019. The full list of nations is here: https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm.



    Connect with Sheeva
    Sheeva’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Website


    Fancy Comma’s Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Website


    Sheeva's Work
    Sheeva’s book, How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing


    Science Writing Was Worth It. It Just Took Longer Than I Thought, The Xylom by Sheeva Azma


    Scientists Push Back Against Retracted Nature Communications Study on Women Pls, The Xylom by Sheeva Azma


    Does Brain Training Really Work?, The Motley Fool by Sheeva Azma


    Resources Sheeva mentioned
    Sheeva’s go-to freelancing tools: Recurpost, Ahrefs, QuickBooks, WordPress


    MIT Knight School of Journalism handbook - The MIT KSJ Handbook contains helpful info for aspiring science writers, and specifically, science journalists.


    Science’s Exclusionary Language: Why Jargon May Be Driving Away Your Audience, The Fancy Comma Blog, by Stephanie Paoli


    For Effective Science Advocacy, Focus on Shared Values, and Speak Up Often, Union for Concerned Scientists Blog, by Sheeva Azma


    Sheeva’s interview on the STEM-E Interviews podcast


    The Open Notebook, a website dedicated to all things science writing


    The Writers’ Co-op Podcast


    The National Association of Science Writers, a trade organization for science writers


    Free mentoring for aspiring journalists: Digital Women Leaders and Journalism Mentors


    #SciCommChat, hosted by @SciCommClub, run by Nidhi Parekh


    Resources Nicole mentioned
    And, But, Therefore (ABT) Narrative Blitz - June 9th, 202

    • 1 hr 53 min
    Entrepreneurship | Ep 01 | Climate Polyglot, Elliot David of Carbonbase

    Entrepreneurship | Ep 01 | Climate Polyglot, Elliot David of Carbonbase

    In this episode, our host Nicole Felts interviews Elliot David, a developer of business and partnerships at Carbonbase, a climate change fintech startup building a one-stop website service for carbon calculations and offsetting.


    Join us as we explore what a career is like as a climate entrepreneur!

    In this episode, Elliot shares with us

    What motivates Elliot as a climate action polyglot





    What sustainability means to him





    Carbonbase’s mission to finance projects that net positive impact





    Creative depth of offset projects


     





    During this episode, we have in-depth conversations about

    Ways to serve climate change from where you are





    The difference between greenwashing tactics and real accountability





    Defining value in climate-positive communities





    The importance of communicating opportunities to youth in underserved communities





     


    From this episode, you can expect to learn

    How to get into sustainability entrepreneurship





    Insights to drive motivation





    How to effectively listen to people with differing perspectives





    How to conduct stellar informational interviews





    Emphasis on bridging access and opportunities with younger generations to enact change






    Timestamps
    08:15 Viewing sustainability as a journey instead of a destination


    28:28 How to prevent band-aid solutions in the carbon removal world


    33:00 What is climate fin-tech?


    35:56 How Elliot got into climate fin-tech - climate change work is for everyone!


    44:55 Elliot’s current career goals


    53:22 Individual action and collective action/ accountability


    57:00 The origin of carbon footprint calculators and their flaws


    1:05:55 Using dialectics to comprehensively solve climate issues


    1:08:25 Are carbon offsets negative?


    1:13:15 How to find a job in climate entrepreneurship


    1:14:55 How to conduct a successful informational interview



    Connect with Elliot
    Linked In


    Twitter


    Carbonbase - Check out their website and find out your carbon footprint!



    Resources Elliot mentioned
    Schwarzman Scholars - Fully-funded one year Master’s degree and leadership program at Tsinghua University


    Pildora - Sustainable clothing partner to Carbonbase


    Greenlight Climate Festival - Virtual event featuring opportunities for sustainable jobs and panels by keynote speakers


    Episode 5 of Carbonbase podcast with Gugu Nonjinge


    Project Ark - Carbon neutral marketplace for NFTS funding conservation efforts


    Medium Post about Project Ark - Oscars


    Ottawa Business Journal


    Hillary Clinton GCF Tweet - Hillary Clinton FB Post


    Resource Nicole mentioned
    Public Health Perspectives on Sustainable Diets, Johns Hopkins University course on Coursera (FREE!)



    Disclaimer: At Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist, we are not endorsing people, products, or services unless a partnership or professional relationship is explicitly stated.



    Thanks for tuning in! Stay tuned for new episodes every two weeks!

    Special thanks to our amazing volunteer team


    Brooke Christiansen, Website manager/ designer & podcast logo creator


    Stacey Davies, Podcast editor & sound designer


    Paula Lee, Podcast assistant & show note designer


    Nicole Felts, Podcast host/ producer & project manager

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Academia | Ep 01 | Graduate Research Assistant, Jesse Cone

    Academia | Ep 01 | Graduate Research Assistant, Jesse Cone

    What is life like as a forestry graduate research assistant? How does Jesse care for his mental health while in grad school?


    ----more----


    In this episode, Jesse shares with us…

    What day to day work looks like as a graduate assistant





    How forestry materials sequester carbon and promote sustainability





    Why plant conservation and forestry is a cornerstone to stopping climate change





    His story as a vegetarian, and how that influenced his work





    His perspective on conservation work





    How to get your dream job in science!





    ----more----


    Jesse and Nicole share their wisdom about

    The value of networking for future opportunities





    Taking advantage of resources as student workers





    Pragmatic decision making from undergraduate to graduate studies





    How capitalism informs science





    Challenges and rewards of fieldwork and research





    Ethical implications for different types of research





    The importance of work-life balance!






    Connect with Jesse
    Jesse’s Twitter


    Jesse’s LinkedIn


    Check out the 21st Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference where Jesse’s thesis presentation won an award


    Article about Jesse from Louisiana Tech University


    Drought tolerance may be the key to future wood production by Jesse Cone



    Resources Jesse mentioned
    Purdue University - where Jesse did research work


    U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service


    Bureau of Land Management


    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


    USDA Natural Resource Conservation Science


    Nicole mistakenly said this paper that was heavily criticized about tree planting was published in the journal Nature; the paper was published in the journal Science. (Timestamp: 20 minutes, 21 seconds)



    Job Resources
    Zintillect



    Great opportunities for recent graduates to gain experience (Undergraduate, graduate, post-doc, etc.) Here’s an example of a unique opportunity





    Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Job Board



    A conservation job board that has tons of opportunities in wildlife and plant science ( entry-level positions, graduate opportunities, and advanced positions)





    USA Job Board



    For all government hiring professional work 





    Inside HigherEd Careers



    Job board specifically for academia (graduate opportunities, research assistant positions, and faculty positions)






     


    Thanks for tuning in! Stay tuned for our new episodes every two weeks!


     



    Special thanks to our amazing volunteer team


    Brooke Christiansen, Website manager/ designer & podcast logo creator


    Stacey Davies, Podcast editor & sound designer


    Paula Lee, Podcast assistant & show note designer


    Nicole Felts, Podcast host/ producer & project manager


    ----more----


    Check out the rest of our show notes on our website:


    www.conversationswithawannabescientist.com

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Communication | Ep 02 | Science Storyteller, Laurie McGinley of Via Lucent

    Communication | Ep 02 | Science Storyteller, Laurie McGinley of Via Lucent

    Discover your inherent skills and the power of storytelling to elevate and effectively communicate science.


    Interested in becoming a science storyteller?


    Tune in to hear the exciting adventures of science storyteller, Laurie McGinley, AIA.


    Check out the detailed show notes on our website. https://www.conversationswithawannabescientist.com/

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Communication | Ep 01 | Freelance Science Journalist, Kristin Hugo

    Communication | Ep 01 | Freelance Science Journalist, Kristin Hugo

    What happens to roadkill? Human skulls sold on eBay??


    Interested in becoming a science journalist?


    Tune in to hear the exciting adventures of science journalist, Kristin Hugo.


    Check out the detailed show notes on our website. https://www.conversationswithawannabescientist.com/

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Policy | Ep 02 | Senior Climate Change Analyst & Researcher, Christopher Round

    Policy | Ep 02 | Senior Climate Change Analyst & Researcher, Christopher Round

    Learn about life as a Ph.D. student and policy expert in the second episode of our season on policy. We interview Christopher Round, a Senior Climate Change and Biodiversity Specialist at Booz Allen Hamilton. Check out the detailed show notes on our website. https://www.conversationswithawannabescientist.com/

    • 1 hr

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