I had a chance to speak with Misha Kidambi, who has had a wonderful and interesting career in the field of science communication. In conversation with Misha-
Which industry do you work in and in what role? What led you on this path?
I work in a communication office of a scientific, international institute as the Web Content Manager. My interests (in terms of a career) revolved around science and communicating science and that is how I got here.
What does your role involve?
Ensure that all the content across Web-based platforms and social media outlets are up-to-date and accurate;
Create, post and edit content (write-ups, audio pieces, video clips) based on activities held at the institute and interviews with researchers/visitors/students;
Act as the point of contact for web content related queries;
Write for some of the print-based publications put out by the institute.
How long have you been in this role?
For three years now.
Please tell us about your career path so far – education, work, career experiments etc.
I studied toward an MSc in Microbiology (Univ. of Mumbai), got a job as an editor for life sciences and medicine at a company that provided editing services for academics. Then, went on to pursue an MS in Science and Technology Journalism at Texas A&M. Did a few internships in the field of science communication and I landed my current job.
What do you love about what you do?
Science and talking to the people who make all the science happen!
Challenges or aspects which you don’t appreciate much
I think all professions come with their own set of challenges, and perhaps I am lucky, there aren’t any points that make me not appreciate the challenges that come with my territory; I have loved most aspects of what I do.
What are the skills important for your role?
To learn what scientific method entails and understand how that needs to be put across to a non-scientific audience.
Lots of patience (to deal with scientists who may not be (and indeed need not be) media -savvy), the willingness to keep learning about complex ideas, and to multitask.
What does your day look like?
Everyday has been different because the tasks set out are different; it could be covering and reporting about a conference, writing articles, editing videos, interviewing researchers, maintaining the Website, posting on social media, scouring for newsworthy events…perhaps a mix of all on some days.
Please tell us about some unforgettable moment/s from your career
I can’t really pick one: I think landing science communication internships and the job were very memorable mostly because the nature of the field is such that you have to literally go hunt stuff for yourself (there are no career fairs or similar organized events) and when something clicks its very satisfying. Other instances would be talking to and interviewing (who I think are) some of the most brilliant minds in the world.
What are your dreams for the future?
That’s a broad question. I guess, to keep doing better.
Who or what are your inspirations?
Many of the people I have interacted with have very inspiring stories, and these inspire me. Some who have come from very difficult situations but endured and done well in their fields (research, since I mostly interact with researchers/students) and some others who want to go to difficult places to ensure that science education reaches everywhere.
Being able to share the stories of these people is what makes me love what I do.
What are your interest areas?
Quite a few. Physics, for one, it helps
What do you think a career should be? What career advice would you like to give?
A clichéd answer would be doing something that you love doing. While it may not be possible always find “the perfect” job, it should definitely not be a daily chore. I’d say it has to be something that can at the very least give some sense of contentment – it could be monetary security or creative satisfaction.
Image Courtesy – Misha Kidambi
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