We chatted with Sarah Wettstadt, a microbiologist turned writer and science communicator. Sarah informs the public about the forms and functions of bacteria through storytelling about a range of topics from epidemics, pandemics and vaccines to kombucha. She also blogs elsewhere, including at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Sarah founded her own science communications company Microbial Communications or MicroComms for short. She also writes about bacteria at her blog, BacterialWorld. Keep reading for our interview with Sarah!
.@DrBommel: “As a science writer, I mainly write blog posts and content for webpages about #microbiology topics…” communicating science to the public and fellow scientists. #SciCommTweet
Fancy Comma: Where are you based? What do you do as a SciCommer, and how is your business going?
Sarah Wettstadt: I am currently living in Alicante, in Spain, right at the beach. As a science writer, I mainly write blog posts and content for webpages about microbiology topics. I work together with scientists who are disseminating their research findings to other scientists or even non-scientists. The business is doing great; as always, there are some ups and downs, but lately the have downs become less frequent. 😊
FC: That’s great to hear! What was your introduction to SciComm?
Sarah: I started volunteering for a European microbiology society (@FEMSmicro on Twitter) and created social media posts about their publications. I totally liked what I was doing and decided to learn more about SciComm and then science writing, until I even started my own blog, BacterialWorld (@BacterialWorld on Twitter) where I wrote about bacterial topics for a non-scientific audience.
FC: Which area of SciComm is your favorite, and why?
Sarah: My favorite medium is the written word. I love reading and will always prefer that over watching a video or listening to a podcast. For me, it just sticks better in my brain if I see the written word. This is also the reason why I prefer to write instead of creating a podcast or video channel (even though I’ve tried both!).
FC: What’s your advice for aspiring SciCommers?
Sarah: Network, network, network! Try to reach out to as many different people as possible, talk to them, ask them what they need and are looking for. You never know where you might find someone who is looking for your skills!
About Dr. Sarah Wettstadt
Sarah Wettstadt earned her PhD in Biochemistry from University of Greifswald, Germany. She has recently published in microLife, the journal of the Federation of European Microbiology Societies (FEMS), about “living a bacterial lifestyle as an academic researcher” – a biographical account of Melanie Blokesch’s journey as an independent microbiology researcher. She has also blogged for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. In one of her blogs for the Alda Center, she talks about the value of “Using Emotions to Convey Scientific Knowledge” — specifically, the role of sparking curiosity and awe in effective science communication.
Sarah is the founder of Microbial Communications, also known as MicroComms, where she writes about a range of bacteria-related topics related to vaccines, physical functioning, and the planet. She also founded the blog BacterialWorld where she communicates all about bacteria: “from scientific studies to vivid stories for everyone.” Follow Sarah on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @DrBommel, @MicroComms, and @BacterialWorld.