A series of weekly blog entries inspired by my work at Sense About Science. This week: Infographics.
As a graphics designer I have worked on a range of tasks, from simple ones like making buttons for websites to designing print media for distribution and display. But rarely have I had the chance to bridge my scientific interest with my design hobby. On the one hand, this may be because visual design tends to take a back-seat for scientific media – the focus for design in likes of reports and posters are that of functionality and practicality. But there’s a more raw side to it; as engaging as it is to be perfectionist and pixel-perfect, it’s a rather alien concept to pair the abstraction of design with the concrete nature that are data and facts from scientific discovery.
I could not believe how quickly my last week at the PHG Foundation arrived, and that it was already time to wrap-up up my project. I spent the beginning of the week implementing the last corrections and feedback for the briefing note, which will be published on the PHG Foundation website. I will be one of the authors on the publication, and before the briefing note can be accessed on the website it will be converted into a very smart format, similar to that of other briefing notes, by the communications team. It will be very exciting to see the final document!
It is hard to believe that I am writing my final blog post already. At the same time, I am glad with the things I have learnt and implemented in these last few weeks.
I spent the first few days making my first dashboard! The team wanted to know if there was a way to have a timeline which would visualize the spread of incidences on a map. They foresee it to be an important visualization for the recent Ebola outbreaks. So after creating my own fake data set and digging around online, I was able to create this in the first few of days of the week.
Week three is just about over and it’s probably been my favourite (and the most interesting) week so far. I’ve spent a lot of time designing a leaflet about ARBD for staff I discussed in my last blog post, and a large part of that has been to do my own research on the condition. This involved literature searches and lots of journal articles! The whole point of my project with St. Anne’s was to help raise awareness of the severity and prevalence of ARBD in vulnerable groups, and the lack of resources on this subject really highlighted the need for greater awareness of the condition.
So I started my work with Barnardo’s on Monday. The first two days involved carrying out health and safety requirements not just regarding myself but also regarding children/carers who will quite often be present in the building.
Today is Wednesday and I have started one of my projects involving the organisation of folders both on hard copy and digital copy. The project demands that the organisation of the folders be carried out within the digital server. Hence this will involve uploading hard copies onto the Barnardo’s server to complete a full backup of all details of Carers in the last 30 years.
My fourth and final week working with Cornwall Wildlife Trust is drawing to a close. Another week of good progress and I have just about completed all of the work for the project. I‘ve not yet finished a write-up of all of the work I’ve done, to present to the Trust, so I’ve volunteered to continue working on the report and submit it to the Trust once it’s complete.
Two more of the installation quotes were delivered this week, brining the total up to three from the four consultations, but one is still yet to arrive. I set about going through the details of each, as although the same items were discussed at each consultation the proposals from each company are different.
Week three has been very busy, energetic and time to get things done. Primarily this included reviewing and acting on the comments and feedback I received, by looking into further resources and carefully analysing and interpreting the evidence surrounding the potential use of circulating tumour DNA in the clinic. Some of the resources I have consulted whilst researching and writing the policy briefing have included academic papers, the NICE guidelines, resources from learned-societies and medical/science news-feeds.
One of the most exciting parts of the internship has been the ‘horizon-scanning’ activities, where I am learning about all the fascinating advances that are being made at the forefront of science.
It is the start of the summer programme at RECLAIM and there are some exciting trips organised for all the young people. Yesterday we went bowling and I took the opportunity to talk to some of them about their experience on RECLAIM to gather some information for my evaluation. Most of them were intelligent and engaging and were keen to give me some useful information but as you can imagine it is sometimes difficult to get 14 year olds to fill out a boring questionnaire or something similar! However I did get some interesting points and put them together in the first part of my evaluation and we had a fun afternoon bowling!
It seems like an eternity since I was first awarded the Charity Insights bursary. I have this vague memory that the good news was almost immediately overshadowed by some of the biggest and most important exams I have had to take to-date, then by my July internship with Imperial’s Comms office. But, hey, given all the exciting news from my fellow interns elsewhere, it’s better that I wasn’t too late to the party!
In a way, doing an internship at Imperial right before Sense About Science has left me feeling very prepared. While the former gave insight into how science news is generated, and how Imperial engages the public on its research, working with Sense About Science will hopefully show me the other side of the story: What happens to science news after it’s been published?
I have now completed my third week at the MS Trust and I am pleasantly surprised at how much I have learnt in what has been a relatively short amount of time. My literature search has continued and I have covered a wide range of health interventions for people with MS (PwMS). I have looked into quality of life amongst PwMS, specifically looking at how MS can affect people’s careers, movement, and the economic burden it may have.
Many PwMS find that their mobility decreases over time, which may lead to them becoming wheelchair-, or even bed-bound. Such drastic changes in lifestyle can cause a multitude of problems; from pressure sores, contractures (where a muscle becomes permanently shortened), deconditioning, and even muscle atrophy; immobility can affect much more than a person’s ability to get from A to B.