What I do now: Finish my PhD studies at the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago, New Zealand. My dissertation research asks how the language we use for industry-oriented science communication creates relationships amongst scientific researchers and winemakers and wine growers, and what language tools we can use to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst these communities. I find that even as we talk about collaboration and engagement, our rhetoric — our strategic language tools — often continue to make it hard to value and use non-scientific, practical, experiential knowledge in the scientific process. I’m hoping to help change to improve how scientists and their audiences can work together, share knowledge, and ultimately do better science and create better solutions. Find my CV and publications under the “CV” tab at the top of this page.
As a wine writer, I write primarily about wine science and wine social science, from new Saccharomyces strains to social justice. My work here and as the science columnist at Palate Press has been recognized with a Louis Roederer Emerging Wine Writer Award and a Born Digital Wine Award.
Where I hope to be: I’m looking for a position in science studies, science writing and writing across the curriculum, or science communication, where I can focus on the rhetorical and pedagogical side of what happens when we begin seeing applied science and science communication as collaboration amongst communities with different kinds of useful, limited, complementary knowledge.
What I’ve done before: I’m a refugee from an MD/PhD program, deciding to avert a mid-life crisis before it began by leaving med school (with my Masters of Science in microbiology) for a different road. Notwithstanding my love of medicine, I realized somewhere along the way that the life I pictured for myself when I “grew up” didn’t have much to do with the lives of the clinician-scientists I saw twenty years ahead of me. I wanted to be improving the way science is communicated not generating data in a lab (or writing grants for my underlings to generate data). I made the excruciating decision to change fields. After some hunting and pecking — and a lot of flack — I found my way into an English department to study composition, rhetoric, and how we can do a better job of teaching students (and scientists) to write science.
Now I’m something of a hybrid: part-scientist, part-humanist, some days reading about Zygosaccharomyces, some days about Foucault, some days about technical communication, and most days about a little of all three.
Where I am: Dunedin, the second-largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, the main metropolis in Otago, and still a pretty medium-sized town. A beautiful spot on the coast, and a few hours away from the Central Otago Pinot Noir-growing spots.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org