Réka Nagy, a Scientist at Genomics PLC, approached her employer about taking part in I’m a Scientist in the summer of 2020.
Taking part ended up being beneficial for both parties. Réka says, “Having to answer many questions very quickly meant that I did not have time to go into huge amounts of detail. As a scientist, I naturally tend to give as much information as possible, but through I’m a Scientist, I learned to communicate only the most essential bits of information.”
Her manager, Dr Mike Weale, agrees: “In addition to the fact that she was doing something useful, I think Réka benefitted from the opportunity to improve her presentation and engagement skills. As a company, public engagement improves public understanding of what we do, which is important for our long-term success.”
As a company, public engagement improves public understanding of what we do, which is important for our long-term success.”
The benefits of online engagement for both employee and employer
Réka took part in the Disease Detectives Zone as part of I’m a Scientist’s Stay At Home events during the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many other public engagement projects were shut down or postponed.
As a scientist in industry, Réka felt it was important to be able to do engagement “for the same reasons it’s important for scientists in academia – a lot of the work we do in genetics filters down into primary healthcare eventually, and I believe that everyone should be informed about what their genetics can tell them, in order to make well-informed decisions about their health.”
As Réka’s manager Mike says, “Clearly, the benefit of being online is that you can reach a much wider audience.”
Public outreach that suits your work schedule
There might be a common opinion that public outreach is too time-consuming, or can feel like a burden on your schedule, but Réka explains: “My manager was supportive, saying that I could spend as much time with I’m a Scientist as I wanted, as long as it was not to the detriment of my other tasks. But given that I have some downtime while my code runs anyway, this just meant that I had to keep an eye on scheduling so I could get everything done. It did not feel like an extra burden.”
As for final thoughts from Mike: “I think employees should absolutely do engagement if they want to.”
If you would like to find out more about how to give your employees experiential training in online engagement through I’m a Scientist, please visit our website or contact Shane McCracken at email@example.com.