I am the iBiology intern for the summer of 2019! I joined the team at the end of April and I will be here until the end of July. Formally, I am the marketing intern, but I essentially work to help better integrate the different projects and optimize marketing for the organization as a whole.
What is your educational background and career trajectory?
I did an undergraduate in biological sciences at the University of Calgary and I took a lot of microbiology courses; I worked as a research assistant in lab research and clinical research in multiple areas and am currently doing my Master of Biomedical Technology (biotech) at the University of Calgary, which I like to think of as an MBA with a science/biotech twist.
What got you interested in science communication/education?
For a large part of my life I wanted to be a doctor – so I did a lot of volunteering, research and extracurriculars to learn about the career, gain experience, and meet different people. Through this exposure to both cutting edge science and patient interaction, there was often a disconnect in the communication of scientific concepts and how they pertain to my life outside of my education. Specifically, I found it challenging to effectively communicate things relating to higher level science without being able to glean the perspective of the audience as well as any questions they had.
As I got more into science and research, the gap between classroom learning and its lackluster real-life translation grew more. I knew I didn’t want to do academia or further research (yet) and I knew I wanted to put my biological sciences background to use, but I wasn’t sure what to do. So, looking around for opportunities to move forward with my career, I discovered there were tons in industry offered through biotech and other science-based initiatives. It was on my search where I learned about the real and developing field of science communication.
The struggle of bridging the two is constant, with questions of how to communicate scientific knowledge well and how this information is received and used by the audience. It’s important for people to be aware of science advancements and how it relates to current events. People need to fully understand these happenings with the proper fundamental knowledge. This is part of what science communication is about and essentially what drove me to take the opportunity to intern with iBiology. This need, ideally, is where iBiology resides, where people can rely on it to get credible and accurate science information that they can easily understand.
What do you do at iBiology?
As the marketing intern at iBiology, I am mostly involved in developing, executing and evaluating organization-wide marketing strategies. I’ve worked on a wide variety of things pertaining to marketing for iBiology but here’s some concrete examples as to what I’ve been up to throughout my internship. I’ve drafted social media and newsletter content promoting iBiology products (the promos over the last 2 months were based off my drafts!). I also wrote the previous blog post on the release of “Let’s Experiment” course. I’ve analyzed parts of iBiology’s YouTube channels to provide recommendations for improving its YouTube strategy moving forward. I’ve worked on drafting a comprehensive marketing plan which will ideally act as a guidepost for iBiology’s marketing efforts moving forward. Throughout my time here, I’ve also gotten to see and be involved behind the scenes in other activities throughout iBiology like seminar recordings, Young Scientist Seminars (which was a lot of fun and the winners were amazing!), and the Human Nature documentary screenings. But I’ve also completed the typical intern job of running errands and coffee deliveries (but once though).
What do you like about working at iBiology?
The best part about working at iBiology has been the opportunity to explore and develop a basis in marketing throughout the organization to make a difference for a cause that I’m passionate about. While the job description and tasks have fit exactly what I wanted to explore and where I wanted to take my career, the chance to do this while being surrounded by very intelligent but also very supportive and open-minded people is really what made my experience with iBiology stellar.
I also have not said it enough but I really want to thank Karen Dell for being instrumental for bringing me to the company and establishing this internship working together with Dr. Jan Braun, the director of my master’s program at the University of Calgary.