Season 1 Episode 4

Listen to the episode here!

Samantha Jones, Ph.D., goes down rabbit holes for a living. As the host of a podcast and Youtube series for the American Chemical Society (ACS), she finds chemistry in our everyday lives and dives deep into the bonds between each atom—interviewing experts to help construct a compelling story that both your neighbor and little cousin will find fascinating. 

Sam started graduate school with an open mind about a career in academia. After taking a science communication course through UCSD Extension, she realized that her passion for science was not limited to her thesis project. Although she was still unsure what she was going to do as a career, she knew that she wanted to combine her love for science, teaching, and writing.

In this episode of Translate Your Training, Sam talks to us about how she discovered science communication, the late nights during her PhD when she freelanced, and her current position as a science host for ACS. We learn about the workload involved when producing several science media products, as well as how aspects of academia help prepare you to juggle multiple projects. At the end of the episode, Sam gives us valuable advice for combatting Imposter Syndrome both in academia and after you change career paths. 

You can find her work at the links below: 

Main points and take-aways from this episode:

  • Project management and collaboration skills learned during her PhD are the main transferable skills she uses to juggle her daily tasks of writing, filming, editing, and hosting.
  • She feels that academia gave her a leg up compared to others in the science communication field when asked to give or take constructive criticism.
  • Employers want to see that you care about something so much that you’ve gone out of your way to make yourself better at it. In this case, Sam worked nights and weekends freelancing to learn the craft of scicomm and build clips during her PhD.
  • Believe in yourself. If you were a quitter, you wouldn’t have started a PhD program in the first place. One of the best things you will learn in academia, and that will help you when you’re in unfamiliar territory, is perseverance.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable if you want to venture outside of academia as a career.

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