Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Caroline and I am a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. My research project focuses on Striga - a genus of parasitic plants that devastates harvests by infecting food crops. I am exploring the defence reactions that can make host plants more resistant against Striga. Due to my ongoing battles with anorexia, I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked but I am determined to finish the course.

This blog charts the ups and downs of life in the lab, plus my dreams to become a science communicator and forays into public engagement and science policy....all while trying to keep my mental and physical health intact. Along the way, I'll also be sharing new plant science stories, and profiles of some of the researchers who inspire me on this journey. So whether you have a fascination for plants, are curious about what science research involves, or just wonder what exactly I do all day, read on - I hope you find it entertaining!

Friday 6 January 2017

New Beginnings...

Happy 2017! Even though the department is still very quiet from the Christmas/New Year exodus, things are already getting underway for some of my projects. First up - I finally took the plunge and joined Twitter! After holding out for so long, I gave in. It is now clear to me that tweeting and hashtags are NOT going to be just a passing fad- it has now got to the stage where many Sci-Comm job descriptions (especially the sorts of jobs I dream about) specifically require "Expertise on using all forms of social media especially and including Twitter" !! So you can now find me as "part of the great conversation" with the username @sciencedestiny. It's just as well because I will be using Twitter extensively in my role as head of Publicity for the upcoming Pint of Science Festival - a fantastically exciting event which the University of Sheffield is hosting in May.
Oooh my first Tweet!....such pressure, whatever shall I write??!

Why a 'Pint' of Science? you may ask. The idea of the festival is to bring exciting science and the public together in probably the most convivial of settings...the Great British Pub. Over three evenings, researchers from the university will be giving interactive talks in watering houses across the city covering everything from technology, zoology, psychology and the role of science in society. Since it started it 2012, the idea has spread across the world, with cities in Europe, the USA, Australasia and even Africa taking part. Sheffield hosted the festival for the first time last year and it was a tremendous success, with many of the talks being sold out (you can see my post on volunteering at the festival in 2016 here). But this year it will be bigger and (hopefully!) even BETTER, with twice as many talks....and it will be my job to get bums on seats. At the brainstorming meeting this week , we left no stone unturned - leafleting in the city, Facebook, Student radio, email alerts, local newspapers and radio....and of course Twitter!

I do hope I haven't taken on too much...I may have had a gentle re-introduction to my PhD but once my lab work starts in earnest, things could start to get a bit demanding.... Keep watching as I will be posting regularly on our progress, especially after the programme of speakers is finalised. And in the meantime, when inspiration strikes I will endeavour to share my thoughts on Twitter....if you're already active in the Twittersphere, why not follow me and see what I get up to?

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