March’s SciCommChall is brought to us by Alice! She writes:

You know what I love about being a Science Communicator and presenting my work? It’s a time and place I know where I can be my own enthusiastic self and show all my love for my research. I love to talk about the reasons for what I do. People pick up my enthusiasm and they connect to my reasons and all of a sudden they understand why I do what I do. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. once said, “It‘s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”

Thinking about what makes you so enthusiastic about your work is the first step towards personal branding.

Lots of people have prejudices against the concept of personal branding. We associate stars or companies with the concept and think that we, as scientists, employees or communicators, don’t need to think about our personal brand.

But really a personal brand is more a statement of who you are and what you bring to the table. Knowing your personal branding statement will help you stay committed and motivated. It’s something unique for yourself and therefore needs to be developed, maintained, and protected.

So the march SciCommChallenge is all about discovering your own personal brand. Try this exercise to find your personal branding statement:

  1. Write down three words you’d use to describe yourself. Take your time and be honest.
  2. Find someone you trust (your partner or a friend) and ask them to describe you in three words. Compare the lists and see what they have in common.
  3. List your core competencies. What are your unique skills and talents that are valuable to others? What accomplishments and experiences define you? Include awards, degrees, and promotions.
  4. List your goals. What do you want to accomplish this year, this decade?
  5. Write out your (core) values.
  6. Create your own personal branding statement. This is a two-sentence description of who you are and what you can contribute. Don’t rush it, composing this statement is not an easy thing to do. Once you’re satisfied, stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. It’s good affirmation.

Kayla “A Wild Naturalist”‘s Bag of Science

Kayla, aka “a wild naturalist” (see her super cool Insta @the.wild.naturalist!) shares her Bag of Science:

“My way late entry for @scicommchall ‘s January #scicommchall “What’s in your #bagofscience ?” ⁣

In my interpretive hiking pack, I *try* to always carry: ⁣

– Water ⁣
– Interpretive materials ⁣
– Handbook of the Canadian Rockies ( ) ⁣
– Personal notebook ⁣
– Ski strap(s) ⛓⁣
– Snacks!! ⁣
– Compressed puffy ⁣
– Crystal screen and magnifying loupe ⁣
– Avaluator card ❄️ ⁣
– Sunscreen and SPF lip balm ⁣
– Rite in the Rain & pencil ⁣
– Headlamp ⁣
– Sunnies ⁣
– Hand and toe warmers ⁣
– Portable battery charger ⁣
– Multitool ⁣
– Suunto watch ⏰⁣
– First aid kit ⁣
– Mitts & liners ⁣
– A warm toque ⁣

My pack changes and evolves depending on the theme of the hike and the season. For example, in the summer I don’t need the Avaluator, but I’ll also throw a couple of mountain goat legs in there. ⁣

PS – It took me like, 45 minutes to arrange this to be aesthetic. #noragrets

Science and glitter, and her Bag of Science

Hannah, aka “Science and Glitter”, shows us her Bag of Science! What does a clinical scientist need every day? Check it out below or on her Instagram @Science_and_Glitter!

Hannah writes:


I traded in my lab bench for an open work space and my pipettes for a work phone. The contents of my bag has changed a lot recently. As a clinical scientist, I sit on the 6th floor of building 40 and we have an open work space. That means each morning we pick a different open desk in the workspace. So, I have to bring all my essentials with me wherever I sit. I’ve got headphones and chargers for on the go phone calls, lotion, chapstick, and cold medicine to survive winter, and a granola bar in case I get hangry. …
#clinicalscience #chronsandcolitis#chronsdisease #ulcerativecolitis#inflammatoryboweldisease #research#science

Now this is a super cool Bag of Science, Kim!

For our “Bag of Science” #SciCommChall, Kim shows us what is essential in life: Conductivity cells and pom-poms. Glad I challenged her to join us!

Kim writes:

“From @Meermini this month’s #SciCommChall THE BAG OF SCIENCE The contents indicate I am a doomsday prepper who will survive with my parenting and science supplies.

1. Small Backpack

2. Pom-pom my son made

3. Laptop with science stickers

4. Trusty coffee mug (1/4)

5. Combo battery pack/flashlight

6. Coin purse with pesos and euros

7. Sunscreen

8. Lip Butter

9. Business cards which always mysteriously disappear when someone asks me for one

10. Music devices 11. Feminine protection kit: Pads, tampons, cough drop and mini-flame thrower


12. Combination sunscreen/lip balm

13. Handy dandy Rope.

14. Health kit: Bandaids, Theraflu and one wetwipe

15. Ibuprofen and Dramamine

16. Mini headlamp


17. Bag o’ CTD sensors. Three conductivity cells, 2 thermistors, and a strain gauge pressure sensor

18. Contact info in case my beloved bag gets lost

19. Lint-free wipes because you never know when optics will have a smear

20. Pens and Sharpies of various sizes


What’s in Mirjam’s bag? January’s #scicommchall!

For January’s #scicommchall, we are doing a “what’s in your science bag?” thing! Mirjam writing:

I am excited! Some of my stuff might actually be specific to my #wavewatching and #kitchenoceanography obsessions. Or they might not be, you tell me: What’s in YOUR bag and why?

In any case, here we go with mine:

  1. This is my absolute favourite handbag of all times! It’s always stuffed, but I love it! I carry this on me wherever I go, and my work bag comes in addition to this (give me a shout if you would want to see that one, too). All the stuff around it in the picture usually lives inside
  2. Not so surprising: A little card holder with all the cards I need to carry
  3. And a little coin pouch
  4. Emergency tea. Can’t get caught anywhere without some. Clearly have to restock, this is my least favourite of the favourites I usually carry with me. Also great as dye tracer in a pickle
  5. A spork. Because no single-use plastic! Also for stirring, measuring, that kind of stuff in experiments (we use food dyes, no worries…)
  6. I carry some minerals to prevent (or quickly counteract) cramps. No oceanography connection there
  7. Seem to have skipped no 7 on the picture! Probably to make up for something not pictured, because I was working with it when I decided to accept this challenge and it therefore wasn’t in my handbag: My (tiny) bullet journal
  8. Pens! Several. One waterproof, because #kitchenoceanography. Where is my pencil? Seems to have gotten lost
  9. Sticky notes! Always need them
  10. My battery bank for my phone, because my phone holds my life. And I need it to take pictures and movies, to write notes, to do Social Media with it or blog on it. The battery bank is heavy, but for me totally worth always carrying it with me
  11. Headphones, charging cables for my phone & battery bank, that kinda stuff
  12. Oh, now it’s getting interesting! A selfie stick and a microphone for my phone to do wave watching selfie videos with, after I realized how horrible the sound quality was when I was on a Swedish research ship a couple of months ago
  13. A fabric bag because I always end up having to carry stuff somewhere and, as you see, the handbag is tiny
  14. Ziploc bags. Because you always find cool stuff at the beach… At least I do 🙂
  15. Emergency cash and emergency plasters
  16. The pouch where the plasters are supposed to be, together with some emergency stuff against headaches, a tiny pocket knife (which I use SO MUCH!) and the very much undervalued lip balm. Which has saved tank experiments several tanks when something was leaking, everybody was freaking out, and I was just like “let me get my lip balm from my hand bag…”
  17. Paint swatches that I got when my nieces and I went to the crafts store because we had the deal that everybody could get three and only three, and I decided that “everybody” should include me 😉
  18. A small scarf and wooly hat, because wave watching happens outside and I like my throat and ears to be warm
  19. A measuring tape. Because knitting, and then I forgot it was there

And what’s in your bag?

Drawing our motivation: “Science isn’t finished until it’s communicated” by Sir Mark Walport

The other day, I wanted to draw a cover graphic for a networking event for online science communicators, but needed a quote for inspiration that would also set the tone for the event. And I am so happy I found exactly that!

What would it look like if you were to draw your motivation for your research or scicomm or any other project you are currently working on? Join September’s #scicommchall and show us!

Mirjam illustrates a quote that motivates her in her work

One of Mirjam‘s favourite ocean-related quotes is by oceanographer Dr. Miriam Goldstein “The ocean is strong and powerful and it likes to rip things up” (check out the link for a great post by Dr. Clark Richards for scientific context), here illustrated for September’s #scicommchall.

What quote inspires you in the context of your work, and how could you illustrate it? Let us know! 🙂

September’s #SciCommChall: Draw what your project means to you!

For many of us, there is a strong emotional connection with the topic of our project, and sometimes we hear quotes that just resonate with us.

For example, I recently heard “you are not a drop in the ocean, but the ocean in a drop”, and that quote really moved me on several levels because it doesn’t only relate to what I do, but also how I want to be doing it, and it inspired the drawing you see above.

For September’s #scicommchall:

Find a quote related to your project and come up with (a sketch for) an illustration of that quote!

Bonus points if there is a scicomm message embedded in the quote and illustration 😉

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or perfect — it’s the idea that counts, and the inspiration that you draw from doing this. It’s definitely working for me!

Alice’s #LOLmythesis for July’s #scicommchall

Alice replied to this month’s #LOLmythesis scicommchall on her (brilliant!) Instagram by posting the picture above and the text below:
“This months #scicommchall is all about summarizing your work, project or thesis in one sentence. It’s all about trivializing the most important thing you’re doing right now. If you think it’s sad that I can sum up my thesis in one sentence and it sounds stupid then you’re probably right. But I do hope that you realize that there is so much more to it then just this one sentence. I like how this challenge lightened up my view of my thesis.
And by the way: teachers entering a professional development course on using IBL as a means to address diversity already have strong beliefs about the topic. This is why it’s so hard to change their beliefs. What a surprise.
#phdlife #phdjourney #LOLmythesis #scicomm#sciencecommunication #tuesdaythoughts #womeninstem #womeninscience #teacherbeliefs #scienceeducationresearch”