Heather E. McFarlane, Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteer and Tomatosphere ™ volunteer
After taking part in the Let’s Talk Science Outreach program in Canada, Heather continues to stay involved with Let’s Talk Science from Australia!
Time volunteering with Let’s Talk Science: 10 years
Job Title: NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow & McKenzie Fellow, University of Melbourne (Australia)
Why do you volunteer with Let’s Talk Science? I joined Let’s Talk Science in 2006, just after I moved to Montreal to start my Masters of Science at McGill. It was a great way to meet people and to get to know different communities across the city. I’ve continued to work with Let’s Talk Science because I believe in communicating openly, informally, and often with the public about scientific concepts, especially evidence-based critical thinking and the necessity of continued funding for both research and education in science, technology, and health. Let’s Talk Science provides a platform for me to give back to my community and to the tax-payers who help to fund my research through government grants.
Inspirational Moment: I coordinated the Science Fair Mentorship program for several years in Vancouver and one of the UBC students who volunteered with the program had herself been mentored through the same program. It was great to see this kind of long-term effect.
Favourite Let’s Talk Science volunteering activity: Science fair mentorship has always been one of my favourite things to do because it builds long-term mentorship relationships with the students. Of course, I’m also a big fan of DNA extraction from bananas, since it’s all about molecular biology, plant science and making a mess.
Fun fact: I’ve lived on three continents in the last three years, and “football” has been a totally different sport in each place: NFL-type American football in Vancouver, soccer in Berlin, and Aussie-rules football (AFL) here in Melbourne.