Spotlights Blog Posts

#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Niba Nirmal

It was a privilege for UC Berkeley CLEAR to host Niba Nirmal (@NotesByNiba) for the #UCSciCommSeries. Niba is a Multimedia Producer and Digital Strategist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). She received a bachelor’s in Genetics and Genomics from UC Davis, completed a master’s in Genetics at Duke University and earned a Science Communication Certificate from Northwestern University.

#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Megan Varvais

Megan Varvais, Communications Specialist and Administrator for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, talked to us about her journey from legislative advocacy to her current position. She started her career working in non-profit legislative advocacy and organization for various political groups.

#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Brittany Anderton

Our second speaker in our #UCSciCommSeries focused on Dr. Brittany Anderton, the Associate Director of Research Talks at iBiology. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of iBiology, their content consists of educational videos for all sorts of crowds. Some of their videos contain content for students trying to learn more about a particular topic, and some are about special-interest topics from high-profile researchers. 

Science Writers Can Help Society Benefit from Understanding Modern Evolutionary Theory

Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-known: organisms produce offspring who differ from each other, and those offspring who are best adapted to their environment are the most likely to survive and reproduce. According to University of Chicago professor James Shapiro, this theory needs to be updated. He details his genomics-based ideas in the just recently published 2nd edition his book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, Fortified. 

Introduction to Science Policy

Science communication is a catch-all term for a variety of applications, like science policy. Often, science policy is thought of at the federal level of government, such as the suggestions handed down by the United States government and others regarding the pandemic response. But because science is so ingrained at all levels of society, science policy can start small at the town or city council level and spread to the state and federal levels.

Storyboarding Your Dissertation with Gabriel-Philip Santos

One of the most effective ways to communicate science is through storytelling. For the last Science Says event of 2021, Gabriel-Philip Santos taught us how the tools of storytelling can be used to effectively share scientific ideas. As a scientist himself, Gabe firmly believes that all scientists can be successful storytellers. In fact, the very first scientific story Gabe shared was from his master’s research focused on marine mammals and paleoecology.

Considerations for Sci-Art Collaborations

Dr. Hangarter’s love affair with science communication via art began in 2003 with the sLowlife exhibit with the Indiana University fine arts department photographer, Dennis DeHart. At the time, many scientists were collecting data that was difficult to put into words (i.e., timelapse, videos, microscopy, etc.), but are beautiful and artistic to behold. Together, they curated a plant-focused exhibit that seemed abstract to artists, but concrete to scientists. The exhibit was so successful that it became a large-scale traveling exhibit featured across the country.

Driving Impact Through Art and Science

Many of us appreciate wondrous scientific discoveries, pushing the boundaries of our knowledge and unlocking the secrets to our world. Many of us also appreciate beautiful prose, illustrations, sculptures and other artistic creations, capturing our imagination. In both cases, the world gains something new — a new idea, a new way to think about the world, or maybe some new inspiration for your own work. 


So why do we often portray art and science as opposite ends of a spectrum? Why do people consider themselves an “art person” versus a “science person?” 


Pedagogy in the Post-Pandemic Classroom with Jeff Hescox

Depending on your experience, you might have felt your early education was a little lackluster. Or, you may have excelled. The pre-pandemic K-12 classroom was organized such that teachers shared information and students were expected to retain it. In addition, teachers “taught to the test,” meaning that educators built their curriculum around standardized tests. These tests were designed to evaluate a school to help determine funding budgets.

Women's History Month 2021

We highlighted awe-inspiring women in STEM all month long for Women's History Month. We certainly loved learning about all these amazing women (and many more we didn’t have enough weekdays to include!). We love seeing these women push against the boundaries of gender bias in STEM and refuse to be held back.

North Bay Science Discovery Day 2021

“If skeletons are hard, how do our bodies grow skeletons?”

“What opportunities are there for high school students to get research experience?”

“What are good and bad things that can affect our brains?”

“If the sun is behind the moon, why doesn’t the moon burn up and why don’t astronauts die?”

“Do you ever find being in research frustrating? What excites you about science?”


Black History Month 2021 - Notable Scientists Throughout History

Black History Month is a time dedicated to celebrating the contributions of Black people to the United States. Originally beginning in 1926 as a week-long event, it extended to a full month in 1976.  All February long, we celebrated Black scientists and their significant contributions to science. Here is some more information about the scientists we shared on social media, and a few extra scientists too!