September 27, 2015

Engaging the masses with science

Ambitious and passionate science communicator Stephanie Pradier joins the Imaging CoE as its new media and communications officer.

The Imaging CoE is delighted to welcome Stephanie Pradier to its ranks. As a graduate of La Trobe University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy and Journalism) and a Bachelor of Science (Maths and Physics). She has an incredible passion for communicating science to the public and thrives on encouraging people to engage in scientific debates and processes.

Prior to her new role, Stephanie worked as a media and communications officer at the Australian Mathematical Science Institute. Involving close interaction with the public, the media, civil servants and government members on a daily basis, her main task was to communicate the pivotal role that mathematical sciences play in society. She did this via social networking, writing media releases and editing policy recommendation documents, among other things.

Stephanie’s communication abilities were strengthened by her work as a Research Associate throughout 2014, when she worked on her honours research project on Coherent X-ray Science with the Imaging CoE’s Associate Professor Harry Quiney. She presented the findings of this project at the Australian Institute of Physics conference at the end of the year, and has since continued the work with a proof-of-principle experiment at the Australian Synchrotron.

Stephanie is now planning to boost her knowledge about biology and immunology by doing an online, five-week intensive course on proteins, followed by one on immunology. Provided by Rice University in the US, these courses will allow her to develop a broader understanding of the wide spectrum of work carried out at the Imaging CoE. “As a science communicator, working in a new field, it is important that I speak the same language as those whose stories I will disseminate,” she explains.

Outside the realm of science communication, Stephanie enjoys cooking, eating, weight-lifting, singing and buying shoes. But even when she is not working, she thrives on dreaming up analogies and visual metaphors to help people understand tricky scientific ideas. “Most recently I used a table top, a pint glass and water waves to describe my research at my local pub to a table of blokes – and they got it (at least they said they did)!” she says.

In her new role, Stephanie will also spend part of her time with the Vice-Provost (Research & Research Infrastructure) at Monash University and build strong networks across Monash University’s technology research platforms. She is excited to expand her scientific knowledge, and champion the scientific research and progress that takes place at the Imaging CoE. “Organisations and people that engage in the dissemination of scientific information need to be held to account, communicate honestly and responsibly, remain faithful to science and above all transmit a love and passion for the field to the audience,” she concludes