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Kevin: Speaking Simply about Science

One of the biggest obstacles that scientists face at any stage in their career is in communicating about their work to non-scientists. This is very important when it comes to make decisions about funding, policies, and new directions for research. Many times the major decision makers don’t come from a scientific background, and this gap in the knowledge between those making the decisions and those doing the work can sometimes lead to confusion. Here at Linfield, many of the Chemistry faculty have stressed the importance of understanding the big picture behind what we do. The nitty-gritty details are essential, but they are irrelevant without any context or reasoning. When I was at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans last spring I had the opportunity to put these skills to use. I participated in the Speak Simply competition, where the goal was to talk about your research in a manner that an individual with a non-science background would understand and follow. I ended up being one of the 16 winners in a competition of 55 students. I was even quoted in an article in the September issue of INChemistry, a magazine published by the American Chemical Society that goes out to the student members all across the nation. I am honored to be recognized, but I would not have been in such a position to receive such recognition, especially last spring as a sophomore, without the support of the faculty here at Linfield, especially in the Chemistry Department. So when you hear about Linfield being a small school with a large impact, they aren’t kidding. This is just one example of many that sets Linfield above the rest and why a Linfield education, regardless of what you choose to study, will set you up for success.

Til next time,

Kevin