Teacher

Formal

I was trained as a geography teacher — which, incidentally, is the perfect foundation for a journalist. And I have a couple of graduate pedagogy and didactics classes under the belt. So, I appreciate any opportunity to share the storytelling process with young journalists, communicators or scientists. 

I taught a semester-long Advanced Science Communication class at Virginia Sea Grant, which is housed at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. This class took young marine and coastal science students through a series of instructional steps whereby they identified a target audience and a relevant message from their research. I then coached and edited each student remotely to guide them through to a final communications product that shared an important element of their work. 

From infographics to whiteboard animation videos to photo essays or documentary shorts,  all have been published or shared with policymakers, watermen, coastal property owners, prospective employers, at museum events or with other stakeholders. Each class also has a smaller cohort of students who would like to receive training in how to manage a live press interview.

What is a Wetlandcreated by Pamela Braff has aired on PBS Television, for example. 

A 'stakeholder review' session became the highlight of each class as professionals from the GK-12 education, aquaculture and fisheries industries or extension partners of Virginia Sea Grant offered feedback after each student had presented their rough draft. This step ignited a passion for more nuanced science communication and produced results that are essential for scientists.

I have also served as the primary adviser for a master's thesis, which evaluates data collected using time-lapse photography, to monitor improvements to a Wyoming wetland bird migration stopover area.


Non-formal

I have mentored a number of prospective young journalists and science communicators through internships in the fields of science writing, photography, videography and design. Below are links to projects recently produced under my guidance. Credit is given in each piece.

Resilient Ingleside: A multimedia project that examines a local community partnership to combat recurrent flooding caused by sea level rise. The piece is introduced by a local character, Charles Gore. An African-American gentleman, whose home has been inundated with water a number of times, leads off with local impact of sea level rise.

The Marlin Maven: This ARCGIS storymap follows the work of a graduate student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Nadya Mamoozadeh. As a Ph.D. candidate, she has spent the last four years amassing a collection of marlin DNA samples from across the globe as she examines the management of the species. 

The James River Blues: Are blue catfish a cause or symptom of environmental decline in Virginia's James River? This multimedia production explores the complex findings of a Virginia Sea Grant fellow's research. 


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