Episode 115: Public Scholarship with Epidemiologist Dr. Becky Dawson

Ep: 115

Today my guest is epidemiologist Dr. Becky Dawson, and we are exploring “getting public”: public scholarship, putting yourself out there, communicating your scholarship to a wider audience. She has really leaned into the “public” of her field, public health.

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We talk about how Covid19 shoved Becky into a very public spotlight, and how she has continued to develop that public voice through doing facebook lives, blogging, continuing TV appearances, and working with community members on public health. 

We will also get into the painful side of taking your scholarship public, where you are open to criticism and critique. 

 

Key points discussed:

  • Who Becky is, and where she was pre-pandemic
  • How her career has shifted
  • Communicating science to the public
  • How she managed to do it all
  • How she decided to start her email list and blog
  • Mainstream audiences vs. the academy and how she sees public writing/speaking count towards her academic work
  • How to provide educational opportunities outside academia
  • The danger academic feel about getting public 
  • Her plans for the future

 

Key Quotes from Dr. Becky Dawson

“I have a system for making my decisions, and every time I came back to it, I’m like…this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

“It was scary stepping into that space because I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it.”

“I valued my relationships with my students over class time.”

“I couldn’t keep up with individual email or messages,… but I could look at those and respond in a blog post.”

“I had to slow things down and recognize what I value and what I don’t value.”

“I want to create healthy communities, and health to permeate through all policies… I want it available to all.”

“For some of us in the academy… [publicly getting the research out there] is our superpower.”

“How can I get [my expertise] out to more people and make this field more accessible?”

“You can teach people a lot by diffusing a situation.”

“I feel like I’m bringing my truest, whole-est, most authentic self to this space, and it has never felt better.”

 

We will be offering a one-day workshop called Public Relations for Professors on March 25, 2022. Register to be a part of this day-long workshop.

 

Connect with me:

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Follow me on Clubhouse: @cathymazak

 

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