Nicole’s Personal Mission Statement, a work in progress at this point! Inspired by astronomer and author Jeffrey Bennett.
My fascination with science goes back further than I can remember, and as far back as I could repeatedly ask my mother, “But why?” I have grown to learn that the scientific process is the best means of understanding the natural world and appears to be the best method of improving our lives with technological advances. I want to impact the world in some small way in the following areas:
Practice science and contribute to the body of scientific knowledge. I want to engage in scientific research and add in some small way to our understanding of the universe. If nothing else, this will give me an “insider’s look” into the very process I want to teach.
Share science with everyone. As a scientist, I feel that I have a duty to share the appreciation of the scope of the natural world and our place within it with anyone who is willing to listen. I am less interested in teaching facts, but instead care about the big picture that we get in our study of cosmology. It is also important to teach about the scientific process and its place in humanity. Science is fun and can be understood by anyone. I would like to reach deeper than traditional popular science coverage and give an insider’s look into the scientific process and help others appreciate the work of the everyday researcher.
Methods of communication. Traditional ways of teaching astronomy include lectures, talks, demonstrations. In addition to cultivating my skills in those areas, I continue to explore the internet and “new media” as a way of reaching out to those interested in science, and fostering interest in others.
Practice and encourage skepticism. Skepticism is an important life skill that I strive to use in my everyday life and teach to others. On a more specific scale, I strive to effectively and compassionately communicate the real dangers of pseudoscience and uncritical thinking.