Lab Stories, Laud Houses, and Last Meals: Podcasts in Science CommunicationDiya Patel reflects on the power of science communication in diverse themes and skills.
As a frequent podcast listener, I find podcasts perfect company during bus rides, workouts, and walks across campus. They are a great way to fill the white space of my day, and for a few minutes, my thoughts are nudged aside, my ears and mind open to new voices and ideas. Podcasts are a unique form of communication; unlike television or videos, there are no visual cues, making it difficult to capture and maintain the listeners’ attention. Similarly, podcasts– at least initially– are a one-way conversation, tasking the podcaster with bringing all the energy and engagement. This is what the Huang Fellows set out to do in the past few weeks. We paired into groups of two and created a podcast to practice podcasting skills and science communication.
“The Climate” – Amelie & Aubteen
Themes: To work with your opponents, you must first listen and understand them. Also, how the
government funds science can favor certain agendas over others.
Skill: A consistent back-and-forth structure and maintained tension can simulate a live debate,
keeping listeners engaged
Shoes” – Demi & Vivian
Theme: You can take the ordinary and dig deep into it to present it in a new light.
Skill: Choosing a topic relevant to listeners– if listeners can benefit from and apply science to their daily life, they are more likely to listen.
“Laud House” – Mahi & Nathan
Themes: Informed consent in scientific research; the importance of sharing stories traditionally
seen as taboo.
Skill: The use of humor in storytelling and finding a balance between humor and factual
“A Modern Take on Tradition” – Anne & Abhishek
Theme: Importance of individualized care in personalized medicine.
Skill: Storytelling– speaking on the personal experiences of real individuals.
“Mental Health” – Kristina & Noelia
Theme: The importance of self-care in daily life.
Skill: Sharing personal experience and being vulnerable to connect with listeners.
“Could the Last of Us Become a Reality?” – Jean & Victoria
Theme: Specific calls to action can initiate change in the scientific community.
Skills: Consistent pacing, clarity of voice, and supportive background music.
“Q & A” – Ali & Celia
Theme: Science, like many other topics, is a conversation and does not necessarily need to be
high-stakes and overly structured.
Skill: Drawing questions from the audience helps form a connection with listeners.
“Science in Television” – Pranav & Diya
Theme: Science television can inspire younger audiences to pursue STEM careers.
Skill: Bringing in experienced speakers/voices can strengthen the overarching message.
“Bench to Bedside” – Emily & William
Theme: Failure in research should be viewed as a learning experience.
Skill: Clear structure and organization help convey a clear message.
Reflecting on the diversity of themes and skills conveyed in the Huang Fellows’
podcasts, I realize that science communication comes down to the “what” and the “how.” These
two seemingly simple questions form the essence of science communication. What we say and
how we say it powerfully shapes the thoughts and opinions of people around the world– no
matter their scientific background.
Throughout this summer, there has been considerable emphasis on science communication, from Ted Talks and podcasts to science kits and soon, research posters. I have always wondered why science communication is so important, and I now have better insight. There is power in the stories we share, strength in the relationships we form with listeners, and innovation in making information accessible and engaging. Science communication is a science in and of itself, and this summer, we have questioned, hypothesized, and ultimately tested ways to improve upon it. By communicating science, we better understand everything from pressing health issues to everyday footwear. And this understanding ultimately yields more creativity, change, and connection in the world
Diya Patel, Huang Fellow ’26
Diya Patel is a first-year student from Hillsborough, NJ, intending to pursue a major in Biology with minors in Computer Science and Environmental Science.