Communicating My Research: STEM Field

Being able to communicate your work to people outside of your field is incredibly important. As a researcher at Pitt I have participated in multidisciplinary poster sessions which have given me the opportunity to do just that. One of the biggest and most obvious strategies to use is to eliminate as much jargon from your vocabulary as possible. The use of jargon allows experts to seamlessly talk about their area of expertise, however for the general public these words can mean very little. It often takes longer to explain your work in colloquial terms; however, it often saves time and confusion later. Another strategy I use applies to how I structure my talk. I like to first highlight the general goal of our lab to give listeners a 10,000-foot view of the work that we do. I then describe my project and what I hope to achieve from it, then circle back and connect it to the main goal of the lab. Lastly, visual representations of your data and methods is great when trying to communicate your work to others. A PowerPoint or poster makes it a lot easier for your audience to follow along and visual representations of your results can be more impactful than simply stating it. As of now I hope to enter a PhD program focused on biochemistry, and work in the Biotechnology industry. In this field I could potentially interact with a number of different individuals including; health-care workers, hospital patients, industrialists, and the general public. The modern biotech industry is becoming more and more clinically relevant, therefore reaching out to health-care workers to discuss how a certain technology and or product is used would be something I might do in this field. Not only that but also discussing this technology with the patients it might benefit. Between those two different groups I might explain things differently, based on the person’s background. Not only is the biotech industry relevant to the medical field but also to the chemical/materials industry. In this case the people working in these fields might have a STEM background, but would need further explanation on the biology side of things. Lastly, there is the general public. As modern companies are becoming more and more transparent it is important to involve the general public on the goals and achievements of your company. In this case I would use colloquial language and visual representations of what I am trying to get across. Knowing your audience is very important if you want to properly get your point across. In general when speaking about my work I try to explain it in simple terms, because it also helps me gain a better understanding of my work.

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