IGNITE scientists to talk about their work

by Marcos Vital | A spotlight on IGNITE, a 2018 Global Sprint project

Gracielle is a PhD candidate and lives in a lovely Brazilian city called Goiânia. She is in love with this journey, studying theoretical ecology and engaging with science communication and outreach.

I interviewed Gracielle Higino to learn more about IGNITE and how you can help at the Mozilla’s Global Sprint 2018.

What is IGNITE?

This project is building a replicable and adaptable workshop about science communication aimed at young scientists, especially grad students. We have short training modules from communication basics to hands-on podcasting, writing and improvisation. Because it is an extensive workshop and grad students are often overloaded with their research, the modules will be independent, so the participants can take as many as they choose. We also have a pre-workshop survey to better adapt the content to grad students’ needs. Therefore, if you want to replicate the workshop locally, you can run the pre-workshop survey, assess the needs of your community, and adapt the workshop to attend to their needs.

Why did you start IGNITE?

I am really passionate about Science Communication (SciComm), even from a very early age. I wanted to become a scientist when I was a kid, and I always imagined myself speaking about science to everyone! Last year I gave a talk at my university about SciComm and asked my colleagues what are the major impediments that keep them from doing SciComm and outreach. They said there is a lack of incentive, but they also don’t know how to do it. They feel like they need some training to build the confidence to do SciComm. So I came up with IGNITE to help grad students to overcome this need and show them that, yes, they can do SciComm! I truly believe that scientists have a great responsibility to empower people through communication. We live in dark ages where misinformation is making our society go backwards. As said by Stephen Hawking, our greatest failures came by not talking, while our biggest achievements have come about by talking. And SciComm is our way to keep, to insist on, talking.

What challenges have you faced (or expect to face) working on this project?

My biggest challenge by far has been trying not to work on this project 24/7! It has been so exciting, I’ve met such great people that helped so much on the project that I feel I could work on it all day long. I am really looking forward for the first “test-drive” of the workshop. But a more practical difficulty is finding people to help building content. Sometimes people are a little bit resistant about working open, but once they volunteer, they are amazing!

What kind of skills do I need to help you?

The project has a diverse set of demands. The main task is to build the lessons (slides and activities). So if you know something about communication, in any aspect, you can share you ideas and help us with the lessons. We also need a visual identity, a logo, a website. If you have any design skills (and/or good taste!), you can join our team. There is the survey part, and you can help by spreading, taking or analysing the survey. You can also contribute by translating the material to any language, drafting a roadmap to organizers or helping us find people that would be happy to give a lecture at the workshop in any place of the world!

How can others join your project at #mozsprint 2018?

In the project repository on GitHub there is a lot of documentation with task details. There you can find the Issues we are currently working on, with templates and resources, and give feedback. You don’t have to know how to work on GitHub to help: the slides and activities are going to be built on Google Presentations/Docs; the survey is made on Google Forms and we will gather data on Google Spreadsheets. The project repository works as a central where you can find links to all this and discuss on Issues. We also have a Gitter Room where you can reach out, get to know everyone and have some fun!

What kind of impact you would like for your project to have on the scientific community?

I hope that young scientists understand the importance of Science Communication and feel encouraged and prepared to do it after they take the workshop lessons. In the long run, I expect that these scientists encourage their mentees and their colleagues to talk about their researches, and that SciComm becomes part of their routines. I believe in this multiplier factor over time and space to promote a profound change in our society, both by providing quality information for everyone, and by encouraging scientists to listen and learn from their communities.

What meme or gif best represents your project?

from giphy

Join us wherever you are May 10–11 at Mozilla’s Global Sprint to work on many amazing open projects! Join a diverse network of scientists, educators, artists, engineers and others in person and online to hack and build projects for a health Internet. Register today

This post by Marcos Vital is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.