Communication is a key aspect of having a career in science. Whether it be presenting research to peers at a conference, explaining projects to one’s grandparents or appealing to the greater public to support research. This very fact has not changed for many decades, but what has changed is how we communicate. Papers and posters are no longer the only way to share research. With the advent of the internet and social media, borders and boundaries have dissolved, enabling the sharing of scientific discoveries with people abroad and with people who were curious about biomedical research.
ARMI has embraced the digital age and its potential and opportunities. In addition to maintaining a website and profiles across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, ARMI has created the social media ambassador program, to develop the social media skills of two volunteers. Here, ambassadors would learn how to use social media strategically and apply these lessons by assisting in covering the events, the experiments and the experience of working or studying at ARMI.
The inaugural ambassadors of the program were Harriet Manley, who recently completed her PhD in the Lieschke group, and Christina Gangemi, currently a PhD student in the Janovjak group, who are now passing on the baton.
Reflecting on her time as an ambassador, Harriet said, “Being a social media ambassador for ARMI was a great learning experience. Its taught me how to leverage different social media platforms to best communicate research to various online audiences, including members of the public, stakeholders, and other scientists.”
“Another highlight as an ambassador was sharing the importance of stem cell research and regenerative medicine to the broader community.”
For Christina, it was talking to the broader community that excited her. “Another highlight as an ambassador was sharing the importance of stem cell research and regenerative medicine to the broader community. Harriet and I were able to attend a lot of the events and organisations that ARMI sponsors and engage more broadly with the biotech sector, all while in parallel, documenting these events and interacting virtually. It provided great networking opportunities and exposed me to not only researchers but also industry leaders. “
Both took away digital media and communication skills from the experience, and have applied their learnings to their personal accounts. “I can now pitch a scientific message in a much more targeted, clear, and strategic way,” Christina commented.
But ultimately, what brought both Harriet and Christina the greatest joy was showcasing the people behind the science. “We profiled many of the undergraduate, honours, masters and PhD students as part of our student feature series. This provided an important opportunity to attract future students to the ARMI and share the more human aspect of being a scientist,” explained Christina. Harriet added, “It was fantastic to learn more about what others were working on throughout the Institute, and to help highlight people’s achievements – we often don’t celebrate them enough! Encouraging budding scientists to share ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights into their research online is also important so that they can better interact with others in academic research and with the broader community…Social media is a great place to start this dialogue, and demonstrate the real people behind the lab coats!”
“Social media is a great place to start this dialogue, and demonstrate the real people behind the lab coats!”
We would like to thank Harriet and Christina for their fantastic work and contribution to ARMI’s online presence as social media ambassadors!