We are very lucky to have Miriam Goldstein on our ScienceOnlineSoCal panel October 22nd for several reasons. One is that she is very busy right now as she’s in the final process of writing her Ph.D. thesis at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). Another reason we’re lucky is that although many would consider that Miriam is just beginning her scientific career, she’s gotten more press than many do their lifetime. Miriam clearly understands that science communication is important, and her experience can help researchers utilize this tool to improve their own careers. I am going to step in and write this post so that Miriam can concentrate on her thesis, but she’ll be available at our event Oct. 22nd for questions.
At SIO, Miriam studies the impact of plastic debris on marine invertebrates. In 2009, she was the Chief Scientist on the student run Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (Seaplex). One of the studies done on the ship involved collecting water samples and Miriam’s team found that the amount of ocean plastic has increased 100 fold in the past 40 years. In addition, Miriam’s group found that this debris is altering the habitat of a marine invertebrate, and this could have major implications for the ocean’s ecosystem. These findings received worldwide media attention, including the BBC, NPR, and my favorite, The Onion.
Like most ‘overnight successes,’ Miriam has been working hard as well as communicating her science for years, she has blogged since 2007, continues to blog, and has been getting great media coverage since 2009. Of course, she works on a subject which is very topical, which helps. However, the fact that she communicates online regularly with the public and other researchers has likely shaped her research topic and goals to be in line with what people care most about. This benefit helps science communicators throughout their careers to get funding and jobs, among other things.
Additionally, Miriam is in tune with the educational needs of students ranging from high school to graduate studies. Check out her impressive work teaching students in San Diego. Through her important research and science communication, Miriam’s work puts a spotlight on San Diego’s important ocean research. Can you imagine the impact if we had active ‘research spokespeople’ for all of the scientific areas we excel at locally? Please join us October 22nd to learn from Miriam’s experience about how you can improve your career and research.