During my time at Sense About Science one of my main responsibilities has been running the Energy Panel and the Plant Science Panels and for me this has been some of the most interesting work. The panels are made up of experts in the respective fields, who have made themselves available to answer public questions. As part of my responsibilities I field questions from the public, choose the appropriate scientist to answer (in the case of the Plant Science Panel there are over 50 different specialists), then if necessary edit the answer to make it more readable, before publicising it.
So what is the point in getting scientists to answer public questions?
Thanks to the fantastic summer weather this week I was able to help with both butterfly and bird surveys. These involve following a set route around the park and noting down where and when different species were spotted, along with things such as weather conditions and the sex of individual. It takes far more skill than I had anticipated to be able to ID birds and butterflies, and the Junior Ecologist is able to tell a great tit from a long tailed tit just from the duration of its cheeps. Since the park is home to over 150 bird species it is safe to stay bird ID is still a mystery to me (for now)!
First a quick overview: I am Hossein; doing an engineering doctorate in water engineering. My Charity Insight project is with the Friends of the Earth (FOE), Birmingham.
FOE is an international network of environmental organisations operating in 74 countries. There are many different campaigns at local, national and international level that FOE is involved with. At the local branch in Birmingham, FOE are currently running few campaigns one of which is the ‘waste campaign’; this is the one I am currently working on.
The issue is quite straightforward; a lot of waste and not the best way to deal with it.
The main focus of my first week at WildHearts was to generate leads for the Edinburgh Global Entrepreneurial Leaders (GEL) summit. In order to find viable leads I was required to compile a list of organisations that would benefit from attending the GEL. During my research, it was important to keep in mind the GEL’s objective – to promote the use of business as a force for positive change. This provided a profile for the target attendees in that they aught to be current and future change-makers.
To this end I produced a database of over one hundred Scotland-based organisations that included schools, businesses and networking groups.
I’ve spent the last week at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, which is a 180 acre haven situated less than 1.5km from the bustling Heathrow Airport. Despite this, it is home to a multitude of protected species and habitats, such as tufty heathland and beautiful wild flower meadows. In its small petting zoo it also cares for some rescued pets (including tarantulas and racoon dogs!).
My Charity Insights placement involves working with both the Education and the Ecology Team at the park, and so far I have waded through the River Crane, cuddled bearded dragons and answered some very strange questions from seven year old children!
Following my final week with Samaritans it’s safe to say it’s been an experience.
I will keep this entry short and sweet as my last (rather long) one got deleted when I tried to publish it, which was frustrating!
My final week has consisted of collaborating my survey responses, interviews and research into a written report for my supervisor. Though I have learned a lot during my time here I unfortunately did not have as many survey respondents as I would have liked, so drawing any meaningful conclusions has been rather difficult. However, I’ve done my best to work with what I have.
I first knew I wanted to apply for Charity Insights this summer around November 2014, I first knew I wanted to work at Sense About Science about 2 days later. And by Monday morning 3rd August 2015 I just really wanted to get going, to find out what exactly Sense About Science does and how I would fit in.
To give some background to Sense About Science are a “charitable trust that equips people to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public discussion“, pretty self-explanatory yes? well maybe not.
Part of the problem faced by scientists is that they are (often) not in touch with public opinion.
The start of my second week began with writing my summative report. After 2500 words about the extent of integration at the YMCA White House, I relocated to the Corporate Office for a more office based project. So far this week I have been assessing the application packs for prospective job applicants. Through investigation of previous resources I wrote an interim report and then starting redrafting the Application Form, Equal Opportunities Form and Criminal Declaration Form.
YMCA Surbiton Centre
Also this week I have been reviewing the YMCA’s Human Resource’s Policies and Procedures: collating the policies and rewriting where necessary in order to upload to the new computer system.
For blog #3, I wanted to talk about an graph or visualisation I’ve been working on, to help CDP display their data in a new way. It’s called a chord diagram, looks a bit like a spider’s web and is used to show the strength and range of interconnections in whatever system you are looking at, for example the total imports and exports between different countries (PLEASE click for interactive version-much more fun!). Source: http://www.delimited.io/blog/2014/11/18/interactive-chord-diagrams-in-d3.
In short, segments around the edge of the circle represent components of the system you are looking at, in this case countries, lines that link two segments indicate a relationship between the segments, in this case a trade relationship, and the width of the lines shows the strength of the relationship, in this example the total imports and exports between countries.
This week I’ve met with several Samaritans listening volunteers in person as well as over the phone. These interviews have been quite revealing and in large part provided me with the information that I had hoped they would.
In addition I have received more survey responses, and was pleasantly surprised to find emails from more listening volunteers expressing their interest in being interviewed. I hope to see them as soon as possible, as I’m aware that my remaining time will pass all too quickly!
Since last week I have also conducted more research on advertising techniques employed by Samaritans, and looked into their online presence via their website.