We talked to space geophysicist and science communicator Dorcas Dupe Oseni about her work as a SciCommer. Dorcas, based in Brazil, focuses her research on advancing space science and technology and improving public awareness of science in Africa. She also leads a team of Astronomy enthusiasts and runs a footwear startup designed to help create solutions for reducing plastic pollution and improving education in Nigeria. Keep reading for our interview with her!
Fancy Comma: Where are you based? What do you do as a #SciComm-er, and what is the scope of SciComm in your region?
Dorcas Dupe Oseni: I am currently based in Brazil. As a SciCommer, I am involved in remote educational and outreach programs and have carried out a physical program once.
Here in Brazil, I took part in a program organized by the Brazil Space Agency (AEB), where we learnt about clouds, trees, mosquitos, and land using the NASA GLOBE Observer app. In turn, we worked with Brazilian teachers to develop SciComm projects for their students.
I am also a scientist at Lecturers without Borders (LeWiBo). Recently, I was able to teach some high school students in Russia about the Sun and solar eruptions.
However, most of my involvements are directed towards my home country, Nigeria. Most of my team activities have been focused on educating secondary school and high school students about space science. I also talk about certain space topics on my social handles, including my Facebook page.
I am not sure of the scope of SciComm in Brazil here, but in Nigeria, there are different approaches. Organizations like Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria (AWB) and the Bule Marble Space Institute of Science (BMSIS), among others, have been dedicated to SciComm activities.
FC: How did you get into SciComm?
Dorcas: I broke into SciComm because I am a product of SciComm. Having studied Physics as an undergraduate, I never knew what space science was about until I attended an astronomy camp. I was captivated by the process and experience.
The journey has been great but limited. Being a student encumbered with research work, it takes a lot of time to plan and execute research projects. But whenever it’s done, the experience is always thrilling.
FC: Where do you think SciComm is going in the future? What direction would you like to see it take?
Dorcas: Science communication will definitely expand a lot more: What is the importance of doing science for the sake of humanity, when the public cannot comprehend what we are out for?
We can accelerate solutions to key problems like climate change. Creating awareness about climate change and educating communities will go a long way in averting more risks. For example, Ghana was stopped from building its first coal power plant with the dedication of a group of people that educated the communities about the risks involved.
.@Dorcas_Dupe on the need for #SciComm: What is the importance of doing science for the sake of humanity, when the public cannot comprehend what we are out for?Tweet
About Dorcas Dupe Oseni
Dorcas Dupe Oseni is an exceptionally accomplished SciCommer. She originates from Nigeria and is currently based in Brazil. She will receive her Masters in Space Geophysics from Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espacias in 2023. Beyond being a space geophysicist, she is a Lecturer with Lecturers Without Borders, and a self-titled “shoepreneur,” as founder of the footwear startup Calvariae Crafts, started in 2019, designed to decrease plastic pollution and increase education in Nigeria.
Dorcas has volunteered as an Ambassador with the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Competition and the WomenTech Network. She has also served as a Project Manager and Vice President for the National Youth Service Corps. Beyond practicing space geophysics, lecturing, and various other social and environmental welfare volunteering and work, she has served as a Mathematics teacher and private tutor, as well as a Staff Writer for Space in Africa – where she writes about the African space industry.