Friday, August 5, 2011

The (Impossible) Assignment

It is with a heavy heart that I share my final post as a regular New Voices blogger and hand over the management of the New Voices community to my co-bloggers. From the first post in December of 2008 to now, this community has evolved considerably and I can say without reservation that writing for you and working with you will be the thing I miss the most as I transition to a career in education.

Not surprisingly, it looks like I was blogging when
this picture was taken.
As each blogger has moved on from New Voices, I've asked them to say their good byes and reflect on what they've learned or share their advice for the community. Now that it's my turn, I'm beginning to understand what they found so difficult about this assignment. So first, let me start with some thank yous.

Of course, many thanks go to those at Research!America who have stood by New Voices over the years as well as our first outside financial benefactor, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

More than any other New Voice, it was the dedication and drive of Stacie Propst - a PhD scientist herself - that made the New Voices for Research community a reality. It was also her patience and guidance with my incredibly "audacious goals" that helped launch this blog, and later, our Twitter feed. Special thanks also goes to many of my Research!America colleagues who have contributed their words, thoughts, ideas, and time to build this resource for anyone interested in becoming an advocate for research.

To all of the interns and fellows over the years who have researched and developed posts, striven to improve their writing skills, and thought creatively about how to approach topics and issues here: my heartfelt thanks. Even when I was marking some of your posts with what seemed like endless track-changes you always kept a great attitude and pushed yourself to become better science communicators. Moreover, you taught me how to be a kind (but firm) editor, to let go of some conventions in favor of more dynamic ones, and most of all, what it really means to teach. I would not be on my way to a classroom next year if it weren't for the positive experiences I had working with each of you.

Readers, oh darling readers. You are the reason we post each day. When I was out of the office I would fret about whether or not the scheduled post went up, knowing you were out there reading it. You are the motivation for New Voices and the greatest hope research and science communication have for tomorrow. It has been an honor, truly.

My parting advice is what it has always been: take every opportunity you can to share what you do with others (including Congress), and in doing so, be yourself. You are your own best advocate, so raise your voice.

As for me, advocacy will remain a major part of my life as I transition to the front lines of the STEM education issue. I'll be active in the New Voices Facebook community, and you'll be seeing some of my older posts pop-up in the From the Vault series.

Don't forget to keep commenting, offering to guest post, and otherwise being the great New Voices you've always been! New Voices for Research has been an amazing initiative to lead and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Thank you for (almost) four years of inspiration. Best wishes.


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