Added on Sept 6, 2022: For my interview with Dr. M. Wahl on this event (as part of the Wahl Show), please see here: https://www.spreaker.com/user/mikewahl/soapbox-mixdown
This will be my 2nd year participating in the SoapBox Science NL event (to be held on Sept 3rd, Farmer’s market, St. John’s).
Soapbox Science is a global movement aiming to communicate science with the public members in a comfortable and cozy way, with a focus on women and non-binary scientists. In the least few years, this movement has also found home here in St. John’s.
There are many reasons that I do like participating in this public event – overall, it is such a meaningful and valuable experience.
Let me tell:
1. Public engagement in a cozy way.
What else can I want? 🙂
I am a big believer of public engagement and interaction is being key to resolving many of our issues, AND exchanging ideas and knowledge. Without communicating with the members of the general public, we only speak among ourselves in scientific world and channels. Honestly, this feels very.. .Meh… And patronizing.
Time to break that barrier for good and have comfortable conversations.
2. Representing women scientists.
This is so cool!
Traditionally women and girls (and non-binary individuals) were under-represented, under-valued, or under-encouraged to pursue their interest in certain scientific and technical fields (like science, engineering, mathematics, and so on). We constitute the half of the world population. We have the ability and skills. So, why would we not be encouraged to pursue our interests and have the same rights/opportunities as others?
I love it when I see a little kid or a teenager getting inspired by the female scientists in the event. I love it when adults, who have not got science degree but are now interested in science, and having conversations with them. I love telling them they can be “citizen scientists” if they are interested in 🙂
I am also excited by the fact that I represent international scientists during these events.
3. Having public conversations about my research field (cancer).
My very strong personal and professional goal is to reduce the negative effects of cancer on individuals and communities.
It is important that we talk about this sometimes highly feared disease – from opportunities to protect ourselves and family members, to how to help support anyone going through the cancer journey.
Knowledge is power. There has been tremendous progress on cancer control. But we still need knowledge being utilized by the individuals.
It is a hard topic, but necessary to engage everyone.
It is a pleasure for me knowing that I do increase awareness about this disease by my participation in the Soapbox Science NL events.
4. I learn about public communications and cancer.
The exchange of knowledge in public events is two-way.
Last year I learnt quite a bit and many comments made me think really hard. For example, there was a comment about the pickles and it relation to stomach cancer. I am thinking – what is the best way to provide a useful context while discussing risk factors?
Or, how to convey best convey messages and knowledge about cancer without instilling some sort of fear?
I am no behavioral scientist. But I am trying – so this year, I am changing my perspective and making it a different type of engagement. I will only ask a question to the participants – Does cancer ignore us?
I am sure they will find the answer themselves. And when they do, I am hopeful that it will help them figure out ways to protect themselves from this disease.
Considering all of these, you can see why I value this event so much.
Until next time, stay safe.
Sevtap Savas, PhD. August 22, 2022, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
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