Reflections From Our Outgoing Executive Board

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By NYCSciComm Staff

As 2020 draws to a close, NYCSciComm is saying goodbye to several of our board members who have served our community over the past few years. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to the NYCSciComm community and wish them best of luck in their future endeavors. 

President reflections: Jackie Kubala

I joined NYCSciComm because of my passion for improving science communication in our local community. My desire to help bridge the gap between science and the general public inspired me to become president of this incredible organization so that I could help other scientists accomplish this feat. My time as president of NYCSciComm has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career thus far. As president, I was able to work with an incredible leadership board and members of our organization. I also had the pleasure of collaborating with other local organizations and institutions to put on events for our SciComm community. Not only have I been able to communicate my science within the field, but I have also had the pleasure of communicating science with people from all different career paths. This has resulted in numerous collaborations, which will ultimately lead to a brighter future for science among the public. Through this position, I have learned and further developed my leadership and communication skills, which will be invaluable in moving forward in my career. I am truly honored to have worked with such dedicated leadership and members of this organization. I have complete confidence that our new president, Dr. Miriam Fein, and the rest of the leadership board will continue the mission of NYCSciComm and will further propel this organization to the forefront of science communication in our community.

Vice President reflections: Zhaohui Yang

When NYCSciComm was founded in 2016, I joined as one of the earliest board directors and started serving the organization as membership chair. The initial membership drive was challenging and yet inspiring. We took all possible measures of broadcasting and advertising, including word-of-mouth, social media platforms, and collaborative events with other clubs, institutes, and organizations. With several months of promotion, we successfully built a 150-member community that continued to grow within and outside of the New York metropolitan area. Then I transitioned to vice president and was able to delve more into strategic planning and disruptive reconstitution. It has always been exciting to work with our members, whose contribution made all the events and progress possible. I cherish the time working with NYCSciComm where smart ideas and interesting souls come together. Now that it has started a brand new chapter, I sincerely hope everyone can learn, contribute, and benefit as a whole and individually. We will all be looking to a brighter future for NYCSciComm!

Membership coordinator reflections: Shejla Pollozi

I joined NYCSciComm in the summer of 2018. At the time, I had finished my first year of graduate school but found it difficult and isolating, even more so by being the only graduate student of a newly appointed Principal Investigator. I decided to look outside of academia into organizations that focused on communicating and advocating for science as a way to not only improve my writing and speaking skills but also to create a sense of community. I stumbled upon NYCSciComm and was intrigued by the mission, vision, and event portfolio. I reached out to the organizers at the recommendation of a research colleague who was part of a transition leadership team. I held the position of membership coordinator until recently when I assumed the role of Vice President.  I look forward to working with the new board members to advance the NYCSciComm mission and values, expand our membership audience, and better serve the NYC community by making science accessible for all. 

Executive Editor reflections: Tristan Fehr

When founding president Yue Liu pitched me her idea for the NYCSciComm Blog in late 2016, she highlighted the opportunity to develop more insight into editing careers, management, and writing while I progressed through grad school. Little did I know the extent to which jumping on board as a founding partner and executive editor would deeply shape my personal and professional path in science communication. As I hand off the reins to our next executive editor, Dr. Jennifer Cable, I can take stock of insights I gained through working with NYCSciComm’s amazing network of contributing editors and authors over the past few years. Here are a few of my key takeaways: 

  1. Everyone has a unique voice to share. The words we choose to express ourselves help convey our individual personalities and experiences, like a fingerprint for each communicator. This means that two writers can come up with completely distinct ways to express the same ideas. At times, an editor may find it challenging to edit for clarity while supporting an author’s voice. Yet, in my experience, engaging articles meld both conventional requirements—grammar, content flow, and formatting—and an author’s personal touches. When an author-editor team achieves that balance, it is awesome to watch a smooth and captivating read emerge. 
  2. Feedback is essential to improvement, and the most effective communicators integrate practice in giving and receiving feedback throughout their careers. For writers, editorial feedback is one avenue to check whether a message lands with readers. For editors, author and executive editor feedback are two important sources for learning about one’s agility in navigating collaborations. I highly value the responses and critiques I received from NYCSciComm members about my areas for growth as an executive editor. I am a better communicator as a result, and that knowledge will continue to motivate me to invite feedback as I advance professionally. 
  3. The NYCSciComm network is a powerful and versatile tool. One clear benefit of the NYCSciComm training network is connecting writers and editors who can help each other hone practical skills. I have had the privilege of witnessing how writers and editors can push each other through the editing process to become even stronger and clearer communicators. Yet another long-ranging benefit of the organization is that NYCSciComm can help early-career peers in science communication to build potentially lifelong professional relationships. No matter where my professional path takes me, I know I have a great and dependable network in NYCSciComm. 

I am truly grateful to the NYCSciComm community for trusting me as their executive editor for these few years and for making the experience so challenging and fun! Here’s to the future of the organization—I absolutely cannot wait to see where Dr. Cable and the new leadership take it.