“As any writer will tell you, the best way to improve your writing is to read more.”
This is part of a series of interviews with science communicators about science communication. Today we are Speaking to… Ann Hoang.
Who do you work for?
I founded STEMinist in 2010. It’s a website where we feature news and profiles about women in science, tech, engineering and math. In my other life I am a Software Engineer for a research group in the University of Oregon’s College of Education.
What type of science communication do you do?
On STEMinist our most popular feature is our profiles. We do email interviews with women from a variety of STEM careers, typically asking them questions about their backgrounds, interests, and advice they may have for other women in STEM.
In addition to the profiles, we publish links to articles about women in STEM.
Who is your main audience?
Our audience is mostly people working in STEM. There are also a lot of people and organizations involved in STEM education and outreach as well.
How did you get into it?
When I first joined Twitter a few years ago I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, a large community of women in STEM. It was so inspiring to know I wasn’t alone. STEMinist initially started out as a Tweet aggregator and then evolved into publishing original content as well as curating relevant links.
Why do you do it?
There are many reasons behind the lack of women in STEM (see the AAUW’s excellent 2010 report “Why So Few?”) but one of the issues I felt I could take action on was visibility. Through our profiles, links, and social media we want to help women in STEM be seen and heard.
What do you love about your job?
The feedback from our followers. I work on STEMinist in my spare time and sometimes it gets hard to find the time, but then I’ll get a message or Tweet about how someone loves what we do. It reminds me that though the premise of our site is relatively simple, it fulfills an important purpose. Just the other day one of the first women we profiled on STEMinist reported a gal approached her at a conference and told her how inspired she was after reading her profile on our site! It doesn’t get better than that.
What has been your favourite project?
I have as much fun reading the profiles as much as compiling them! But last year around NCAA Basketball Tournament time we held our own “tournament” called STEMinist Madness. We started with a field of 64 historical women in STEM and readers voted on head-to-head match-ups until we eventually ended up with a champion (Ada Lovelace). I’d love to do more projects like that which intersect the worlds of STEM and pop culture.
Any tips for those wanting to get into science communication?
As any writer will tell you, the best way to improve your writing is to read more. So I would encourage you to find, follow, and read your favorite science writers (I’ve found great people on ScienceBlogs.com and Scientopia.org.
You can follow the amazing STEMinist profiles and features on Twitter at @STEMinist or visit the website directly at www.steminist.com