Centering purpose to empower, manage, improve, solve, address, convince, and modify behavior
Click to view each artifact (it will open in a new window). Hover over an image to read about my process, learning, and growth.
As a Hollings Scholar, I spent several months working at a NOAA research reserve on the Great Lakes. Through a citizen science monitoring initiative, community members recorded how climate change was impacting bald eagle nesting. I created this infographic with the purpose of educating the reserve’s visitors about the local history and importance of this species, and recruit community monitors for the program.
As with any public-facing science communication, I used purpose to inform the information I selected. This process of narrowing down a tremendous body of research and selecting only the most relevant and interesting information to best serve my goal was incredibly valuable, and improved my capacity to catalyze change through graphical media. I also learned new design layouts to best arrange this information to reinforce my goal.
This project sparked my interest in graphic design, and I’m amazed by how much my skills have improved since then. Communicating information visually has proven incredibly useful in all aspects of my work. After all, science is most impactful when it’s communicated in a clear, concise, and beautiful way.
I spent a quarter studying off-campus at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station, where I participated in hands-on research and ocean-centered coursework. One of my projects involved communicating a salient marine conservation issue in a scientifically accurate and impactful way. I created a video targeted at middle-schoolers, to explain the harms associated with salmon hatcheries.
Each mode of communication has its own unique difficulties and opportunities that we as communicators must consider, but I found video to be the most involved of all. It required me to incorporate principles of technical research, creative storytelling, auditory narration, and visual design, all while keeping in mind my young audience, in order to impact change.
This was one of my earliest works, when I was just beginning to develop a nuanced perspective. If I were to re-create this video today, I would be sure to center indigenous perspectives on fisheries management, and reiterate that hatcheries are not a monolith and can be effective in certain cases.
I recently participated in a design thinking course focused on crafting impactful solutions to sophisticated ocean challenges. I chose to leverage data through an interactive StoryMap website with embedded visualizations to creatively communicate the value of Palau’s recently implemented National Marine Sanctuary, with the goal of shifting the tourist demographic to be more environmentally and socially responsible post-COVID.
This was my first experience with design thinking and the d.school methodology, so through this project I learned how empathy and ideation can be used to transform an abstract need into a unique, effective, and stakeholder-centered communication solution, and how to do so quickly and with little guidance.
In the environmental sciences, and conservation in particular, figuring out how to induce meaningful change is the biggest part of the job. The procedural skills of rapid prototyping, constant interviewing, and dynamic pivoting are now a core feature of my impact communication toolkit, and have revolutionized the way I solve problems and catalyze change.