We recently spoke to our colleague, SciCommer Adama Saccoh, MS, who has previously blogged for us. Adama is a cardiovascular science research technician and science and health communicator. She has a Bachelor’s in medical physiology, and a Master’s in Medical Ultrasound, with a focus in echocardiography. Adama is the founder of The Catalyst in Me (TCIM), a site focused on providing SciComm resources and career advice in science and science communication. At TCIM, she educates and empowers the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students, helping them avoid the pitfalls of academic uncertainty and work towards their goals. You can find TCIM on Twitter and Instagram.
Keep reading for our interview with Adama!
Fancy Comma: Where are you based? What do you do as a SciCommer?
Adama: I am based in the UK. I like to refer to myself as an early SciCommer, as I am still finding my area of SciComm. I have done written and video SciComm covering COVID-19 science at the beginning of the pandemic and videos on science research topics such as research funding, the African genome project, and male contraceptives.
Fancy Comma: What is the scope of SciComm in your region?
Adama: SciComm is growing in the UK and is quite established. I find that many people end up pivoting to a freelance role in SciComm rather than solely working for an institution. There are SciComm consultants, in-house managers, and engagement officers for big research organizations that all fall under the SciComm scope.
Fancy Comma: How did you break into SciComm? How are you finding your journey so far?
Adama: Initially, it was a piece of work I was given in university that really changed my outlook on science. I enjoyed the work so much I started researching science writers. Weirdly, that had never crossed my mind before. The pandemic then allowed me to write more, or have a reason to write, as I was still early in my career and didn’t have the confidence to put my take on science out there yet!
My journey so far has been really interesting. As with every new medium of SciComm I try, I learn something new about myself and the field. I am currently trying to carve a bigger space in my life for the SciComm I do, so hopefully that comes together soon.
Fancy Comma: Do you think SciComm is the future? What are some examples of ways SciComm can help solve the problems of the 21st century (and beyond)?
Adama: SciComm is definitely the future! Science is in everything we do and it’s only beneficial that people understand it. Researchers carry out their work for the public so the public needs to engage. The pandemic is a clear example of how SciComm has helped solve problems of vaccine mistrust and hesitancy: the same concept translated in many languages and different styles reaching MILLIONS across the world!
“Researchers carry out their work for the public so the public needs to engage.” — @catalystinme_Tweet
About Adama Saccoh, MS
Adama Saccoh, MS, grew up in Sierra Leone but relocated to the UK for her studies. Adama is a cardiovascular science research technician. She completed her Bachelor’s in Medical Physiology and Master’s in Medical Ultrasound, with a focus on echocardiography. She incorporates her cross-national experiences into her SciComm work, assessing and explaining differences in national reactions to health issues such as the pandemic, bringing light to variations in context and behavior as well as structures of power and inequality.
She is an experienced, avid, and talented SciCommer with a visible presence on Twitter and Instagram. She is also the founder of The Catalyst in Me (TCIM): a website dedicated to providing SciComm resources and career tips to scientists and science communicators.
Adama launched TCIM to help other students avoid the obstacles that she faced as an undergraduate struggling to figure out her career options. Adama’s goal with TCIM is to help the next generation in STEM figure out their ideal academic and career paths so they can realize their dreams and cultivate and manifest their enthusiasm for STEM.