The ESC Blog is off to a fantastic start, and we admins couldn’t be more proud of our amazing bloggers. The response from the Canadian entomology community has been tremendous – which is really no surprise, but still wonderful! Readers have been joining us from all over the world (59 countries!) and we’re so pleased that some of you are engaging with us by leaving comments.
We thought that it would be a good time to introduce ourselves, so you know who’s working away behind the scenes: today you’ll meet Crystal.
Hi! I’m a PhD candidate in Chris Buddle’s Arthropod Ecology lab at McGill University. My current research interests include beetle assemblages in Arctic Canada and functional ecology. My earlier research at Carleton University (I did a BSc and MSc under the supervision of Naomi Cappucinno) involved plant-insect relationships in the context of biological invasions.
In addition to my academic pursuits, I love to teach, take pictures of insects, and spend time outdoors exploring the natural world.
I’m also very interested in science education and outreach, which is why you’re finding me here at ESC Blog.
Online science communication is a big part of who I am and what I do, in addition to my normal grad student research activities. I have been blogging as “TGIQ” at www.thebuggeek.com since 2009. There, I write posts about insect natural history, insect photography, my own entomological research, and more broadly about my experiences as a graduate student interested in a career in academia. I am also an administrator at the research blog of The Northern Biodiversity Program (NBP), of which I am a student member, and I am a contributing authour at the Grad Life blog, where I write about the graduate student experience at McGill University.
In addition to blogging, I can usually be found posting tidbits of entomo-goodness on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Networked Blogs, Nature Blog Network, and Research Blogging. I also have a YouTube channel that I use for teaching an undergraduate zoology lab.
Some people have tried to tell me that these activities are a waste of time, professionally. My personal experiences have shown this to be anything but true: I’ve established incredible networks of students, academics and other professionals; I’ve been exposed to fascinating cutting-edge science; and I’ve gained tangible professional benefits (think “publications” and “funding” and “collaborations”). None of these would have been possible without my online activities.
I also think that science outreach is an activity that all academics should make time for – after all, we are doing science for the general public, not just for our fellow researchers! Our knowledge of and passion for entomology is something that deserves to be shared with others. Blogs are wonderfully accessible outlets; they represent an unparalleled opportunity for folks from different sectors and backgrounds to participate and exchange their knowledge and experiences – something that is not often achieved through traditional venues such as conferences and journals.
I’ll leave you with some quotes from a talk that I attended in March, by researcher and science outreach proponent Nalini Nadkarni. I invite – and strongly encourage – you to join the incredible online science community and consider participating here as an ESC blogger.