We recently spoke to Soph Milbourne, PhD to learn about her history and experience in SciComm, and her suggestions for budding SciCommers. Soph is a stem cell biologist, science communicator, and digital media creator. As a SciComm creative, she creates various types of types of digital content, using compelling and unique narratives to spread scientific knowledge to the broad community. She is the creator of Soph Talks Science, where she and her small team create content and organize events to make science knowledge available – and entertaining – to the broad public. Follow Soph on Twitter at @SophTalksSci and keep reading for our interview with her!
“Science is not finished until it’s communicated.” — @SophTalksSciTweet
Fancy Comma: Where are you based, and what is the scope of SciComm in your region? What do you do as a SciCommer?
Soph: I am based in Cambridgeshire in the UK. I currently work as a Digital Communications Officer for a life science research institute. So, it is my job to promote the Institute and its research through digital platforms – mainly social media, blogs, and videos.
But I also do SciComm in a personal capacity. I share science on Instagram and on my blog and I hope to create more videos in 2022 and beyond. I also help scientists to boost their SciComm skills sharing tips on social media, through my podcast, The SciComm Toolkit, and through training and workshops.
Fancy Comma: How did you break into SciComm? Which area of SciComm (writing, designing, podcasting) is your favorite?
Soph: I moved into SciComm full-time after completing my PhD three years ago. I decided to make the move after entering the 3-minute thesis competition during my PhD and discovering that I loved finding creative ways to share scientific research and knowledge. I spent the final years of my PhD trying to gain as much exposure to SciComm as I could so I could make that leap into doing it as a career.
[The] area of SciComm that is my favorite is a really tricky question, as I love a lot of it and there are some things that I want to get better at and so on. I do love just sitting down and writing, and I guess there are elements of that when I make podcasts and videos too. So, probably the writing. Although I just love being creative and trying to make the ideas I have in my mind come to life!
Fancy Comma: What is your advice to aspiring freelance SciCommers on how to land clients?
Soph: My advice would be networking and also to not be afraid of self-promotion. The clients that I have worked with so far have all found me because I had an online presence. I showed them what I could do and how I could help them, or I had spoken to them at an event or on social media and a partnership blossomed from there.
Having an online presence is key to landing clients as a freelance #SciCommer, says @SophTalksSci. #SciComm #FreelanceTwitterTweet
About Soph Milbourne, PhD
Soph is a stem cell biologist, science communicator, and digital media creator. After earning her PhD in the biomedical sciences, she realized that her true passion and calling was SciComm. After humble beginnings, Soph gained her footing – and client base – and has since become a creative expert in the field of SciComm. She applies her talent for creativity and storytelling to SciComm, turning science research and discoveries into compelling narratives that can interest and motivate her broad audience. She is the founder of Soph Talks Science, a website where she provides resources for SciCommers as well as provides training and consultancy services. Soph is an expert in creating SciComm digital media content, as well as hosting SciComm events and creating SciComm vlogs on YouTube as well as blogs. Find Soph on Twitter or Instagram.