Meet our Staff: Caroline Silvola
MITPPC Communications Intern, Summer 2019 | she/her/hers or they/them/theirs
Caroline SIlvola (Caro) was a communications intern with the MITPPC in the summer of 2019. Check out some of her work on the "In the News" section.
What are some of the projects you worked on this summer?
My major writing project was the "Highlighting Partnership" series which focused on the connections and relationships MITPPC researchers have fostered with outside partners, from community organizations to government agencies. I also built a larger photo database for the Center and redesigned the official Twitter page.
What has it been like to interview scientists about their work?
I have genuinely enjoyed getting to interview MITPPC researchers this summer. I love getting to talk to people who are so passionate about their work. I’ve been delightfully surprised by the number of scientists who are extremely passionate about effective science communications. I have had the pleasure of learning so much about their personal efforts to make their research accessible to wider audiences, as well as their pretty wacky and unique hobbies.
What new ideas and experiences are you taking away from this internship?
This internship has taught me so much about communications strategy (as the five-page plan for oSTEM it has inspired will show you). During my time here, I’ve made so many connections with amazing professionals and found resources within the science communications community. It has seriously changed the way I approach sharing research and information with those around me. Likewise, I’ve gained so much experience in interviewing and journalistic work that I previously wasn’t exposed to. I am now incredibly excited to further explore this fascinating field and continue my work in sci-comms and community engagement. Plus, I had the opportunity to jump back into digital photography and hone my portrait photography skills.
Favorite invasive species research fact?
I’m still fascinated by the mechanics of dwarf mistletoe and the way it spreads. Did you know it can launch its seeds at speeds of up to 60 mph? Absolutely wild.
What are your future plans, at the University of Minnesota and beyond?
Well, I hope to graduate with my two degrees (B.A. in English & B.S. in Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering) and stay heavily involved in student activism and organizing during my time here. As a Community Advisor (CA) in Comstock, secretary of oSTEM, and a member of the Community Engagement Scholars Program, I hope to foster student involvement with community partners and organizations.
After graduation, I am considering multiple paths, including law and higher education. In the end, however, I hope to pursue work in environmental justice movements improving scientific literacy, engagement and participation for currently underrepresented groups.
Any tips for future science communications undergraduate interns?
Take full advantage of all the opportunities at your fingertips. I learned so much and was able to seriously network during sci-comms conventions, events and lectures we attended this summer. Science communications organizations and communities are active and incredibly helpful, and using your internship to find connections and in-roads is an essential skill. Also, never be afraid to ask questions. This summer, the most interesting and meaningful conversations I’ve had (with researchers and coworkers alike) were bourne out of curious quandaries I had.