By Kelly Martin
The sun is setting earlier, rain is making its way back into the forecast, and the leaves are starting to turn shades of yellow: another school year at the University of Washington is here. As the incoming Editor-in-Chief of Currents, the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) student blog, this means making sure our staff is ready for another year of communicating timely marine and environmental research, news, and policy issues.
With science communication increasingly recognized as a vital skill in the scientific community, the timing could not be better for our blog to enter its third year. As Dr. Jane Lubchenco, former and first female administrator of NOAA, once said, “Scientists have a tremendous amount to contribute to solving society’s most pressing problems and many are eager to engage with society, but they often need help in learning how to be effective.” As the importance of training scientists to be effective communicators becomes apparent, more and more science communication courses and training programs are appearing worldwide. The University of Washington is an institution leading this charge: it has been highlighted by COMPASS, an organization founded by Dr. Lubchenco, as a “standout institution” for its commitment to offering science communication training for students. We hope that the opportunity for SMEA students to participate in Currents not only allows them to hone their own skills, but also continues to add to the University of Washington’s reputation for excellent science communication.
Thanks to the hard work of the Currents staff and writers over the last two years, Currents is poised to have its best year yet. To kick off this new school year, we will be highlighting the summer adventures of eight SMEA students. From attending conferences abroad, to working on fishing boats in Alaska, to conducting research in Washington state, these students are great examples of how SMEA students make the most of their “time off”. Stay tuned over the next six weeks to hear their stories, then stick around for the rest of the year and let the Currents sweep you away into the world of science communication!