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Job opportunity at the EGU Executive Office: Communications Officer

18 Mar

The EGU is seeking to appoint a Communications Officer to work with the EGU Media and Communications Manager in maintaining and further developing media- and science-related communications between the EGU and its membership, the working media, and the public at large. The Communications Officer will also work under the direction of the EGU Executive Secretary on activities related to the promotion of the organisation. The position will be based at the EGU Executive Office in Munich, Germany.

More information about this vacancy, including main tasks, requirements, application materials, and salary and starting date, is available in PDF format or on the EGU website.

Informal enquiries about this position can be made to the Media and Communications Manager, Dr Bárbara Ferreira (media@egu.eu, +49-89-2180-6703). Applications should be submitted by e-mail in a single file to vacancy@egu.eu by 8 May.

Do you know anyone who might be interested in this position? The EGU would be grateful if you shared this opportunity widely.

EGU social media

Science bloggers – join the 2014 General Assembly blogroll!

5 Mar

Will you be blogging at the 2014 General Assembly? If so, sign up here and we’ll add you to our official blogroll. We will be compiling a list of blogs that feature posts about the EGU General Assembly and making it available on GeoLog, the official blog of the European Geosciences Union.

We’d ask you to write posts that relate directly to the Assembly during the conference in Vienna (27 April – 2 May). The content of each blog on this list is the responsibility of the authors and is not sanctioned by the EGU, but we will make details of all the blogs on the General Assembly blogroll available online.

If you would like your blog to feature on our list, please submit your blog details to us.

With free (and open!) wireless internet and plugin points available throughout the building and great science throughout the week; we’ve got everything you need to get blogging! International plug adapters can even be borrowed from the Austria Center Information Desk!

GeoLog will also be updated regularly during the General Assembly, featuring posts about scientific sessions, conference highlights and interviews with scientists at the meeting. If you would like to contribute to GeoLog, please pitch your idea to mynott@egu.eu. You may also use this address for any questions you might have about the blogroll.

Bridge the gap between geoscience and the general public. (Credit: Dario Zampieri, distributed by imaggeo.eu.eu)

Bridge the gap between geoscience and the general public. (Credit: Dario Zampieri, distributed by imaggeo.eu.eu)

Geotalk: Matt Herod on awesome outreach and education

15 Jan

Matt Herod has long been part of the EGU Blog Network, where he writes about all things geochemistry from his base in the University of Ottawa. In this week’s Geotalk, we had the chance to talk to Matt about all the other science communication activities he’s been up to – from mentoring kids in Canada to speaking science in schools…

This year GeoSphere had its first birthday as part of the EGU Blog Network, but you’ve been sharing science online for longer than that – what got you started?

Awesome question. I was actually studying for my comprehensive exam at the time and needed something to distract me for a little while so I started a blog. I didn’t actually expect to enjoy blogging so much, but once I started writing and engaging with other bloggers and readers I started to get addicted. The real motivation, besides procrastinating, for starting the blog though was that I was deploring the fact that in Canada, and I suspect other parts of the world, geoscience is left out of elementary and high school curricula. Physics, biology and chemistry are covered extremely well, which is great, but geology, the most integrative of the four is generally left out. It is just not taught at all. I found that really bizarre since I think it is very practical for everyone out there to have a basic knowledge of Earth science. I would hear stories and read articles in the news about fracking and climate change, and mining and a whole slew of other environmental Earth science issues that people were up in arms about all over the world and think “if only they understood a bit more about geology they might not get so panicked, or they might react appropriately when something worth panicking about happened.” The people that I spoke with about geology all expressed an interest in learning more, but they just didn’t know where to start. They had all finished high school and university so they weren’t about to pick up a textbook. Ultimately, the real problem was that the desire to learn about geology was there, but not the access. So to help make geology more accessible I started blogging and have enjoyed it ever since.

Meet Matt! (Credit: Matt Herod)

Meet Matt! (Credit: Matt Herod)

As well as science writing, you get out of the office and into the classroom – what do you get up to? 

As far as science outreach goes my two favourite programs have been the Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP) and another called Science Travels (ST). AMP is a program run from the University of Ottawa that pairs science grad students up with one or more local aboriginal students. We go to their school and give science talks, run activities and tell them about ourselves. We then mentor them as they prepare a science fair project using our lab facilities to collect data. The students then come to the University of Ottawa for a science fair, lab tours etc. for about three days later in the year. The program involves monthly visits with the students and I participated for two years.

The other program is called Science Travels. ST sends a group of four graduate students to remote northern communities across Canada to give science presentations in local schools throughout the region over the course of a week. I have been on two trips both to northern Ontario. Often the schools that we visit are in native reserves and can often have issues such as alcoholism and drug abuse in the community. I have also participated for four years with Let’s talk science going in to local Ottawa high school and elementary school classrooms to give science talks.  

What are the highlights of working with school students in the university labs? 

The best thing about bringing students into university labs or going to their classroom is the feeling that my colleagues and I are opening someone’s eyes to science and hopefully inspiring them to consider pursuing science as a career. The goal of having actual researchers leave their labs and enter the classroom is to show elementary and high school students that science does not have to be boring and that it can also be a viable career option. By having researchers present the science it helps to bring validity to the presentation, but also makes something that might seem like a silly science demo more applied and accessible. Bringing students into our labs is also great. It is a cool experience explaining how the “black box” sitting on that bench over there can count atoms and even the most hardened “cool kid” softens when you bring them face to face with a mass spectrometer. Also, things that we take for granted like custom glassware or an oven that can reach 1000 degrees is completely new to these students and it is an eye-opening experience for them and us to teach them about how we use the tools in our labs to answer the big questions about the Earth. FYI showing off a Scanning Electron Microscope might be the best lab tour activity ever…or a flume, and I can’t wait to show of our new Accelerator Mass Spectrometer in a few months, that’ll really blow their minds!

Sharing the excitement of science in schools. (Credit: Matt Herod)

Sharing the excitement of science in a school. (Credit: Matt Herod)

And what are the challenges?

The biggest challenge with science outreach is finding the time. When we are in our own little research bubbles it can often be hard to escape and do something else, and if we do, it is easy to feel a bit guilty that we are not doing research. However, the key is to simply realise that getting out there and teaching science is totally worthwhile and that the work will always be there when we get back…at least that’s how I rationalise it. Preparing presentations and activities can also be pretty time consuming, but there are some great websites (e.g. www.earthlearningidea.com) out there with science activities for kids and if you are part of an organisation like Let’s Talk Science lots of pre-made kits exist that cover a wide range of topics. It is always nice to add a bit of personal experience to talks and presentations though and a good story can really help make the presentation memorable.

Do you have any top tips for scientists that want to work with school kids?

The best piece of advice I can give for anyone that wants to get involved in science outreach is try to find an organisation to work with. Don’t try and go it alone. Find a group that has laid the groundwork and made the connections and start there. The time commitment is as much or as little as you would like to give and the rewards for engaging in outreach and working in your community far outweigh any lost work time. Not only that, it is a great way to practice your speaking and explaining skills in front of a non-critical audience. Getting up at a conference to give a talk is nerve-racking enough even if you are comfortable with public speaking let alone if you have not given that many talks before. My last tip is don’t overthink it. If you go to a classroom and give a talk don’t worry about being perfect. In my experience the students and teachers are too happy to have a visitor, especially one who has experience in research, to try and critique every little aspect of your presentation and activity. The best thing you can do is go in, give your presentation with enthusiasm and enjoy it!

Had your fill of sci comm chat? Find out about the latest geochemical research over at GeoSphere: blogs.egu.eu/geosphere

Job opportunity at the EGU General Assembly

8 Jan

We have a vacancy for a science communication or science journalism student in Europe to work at the press office of the 2014 General Assembly, which is taking place in Vienna, Austria, from 27 April t0 2 May. Applications from geosciences students with science communication experience are also welcome. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from people with experience in photo and/or video reporting.

The student will join the team assisting the EGU press officer and the journalists at the press centre, and is expected to help run press conferences. Other tasks include reporting on the events at the Assembly through photographs and video and distributing EGU Today, the daily newsletter at the General Assembly.

This is a paid opportunity for science communication students to gain experience in the workings of a press office at a major scientific conference, and to interact with journalists, freelance science writers and public information officers.  Like the other student assistants at the conference, the successful candidate will receive €600 for the week and will be given support towards travel expenses.

The position is open to University students (final-year undergraduates or postgraduates) or recent graduates in science communication/ journalism or to students in the Earth, planetary and space sciences with experience in science outreach. Applicants must have an expert command of English and good computer and internet skills.

Applications must include

  • Cover letter and CV (one page each) summarising relevant experience
  • Two samples of recent science communication work such as photo features, videos or written articles (published or unpublished, aimed at a general audience)

Application documents (in English) should be submitted by email in a single file to Bárbara Ferreira, the EGU Media and Communications Manager (media@egu.eu). Bárbara can also be contacted for informal enquiries.

The deadline for applications is 7 February 2014.

Update (Bárbara Ferreira, 6pm, 08/01/2014): Please note that people who are presenting an abstract at the General Assembly are not eligible to apply. 

Press conference at the 2012 EGU General Assembly. Credit: Sue Voice

The European Geosciences Union (EGU, www.egu.eu) is Europe’s premier geosciences organisation, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. The EGU organises a General Assembly that attracts over 11,000 scientists each year, as well as reporters interested in hearing about the latest research in topics that range from volcanology and earthquakes to climate science, and from solar physics to planetary science.

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