What is SciNYC?
This site is for professional and nonprofessional scientists alike who are looking for opportunities to engage with science and scientists in NYC. While some of the pages, like “Find a Job” are more geared toward the professional scientist, many offer science-y ideas for all, from science movie nights, to genome boot camps, and science happy hours.
Anyone can be a scientist. You don’t have to wear a white lab coat, have Maxwell’s equations memorized, or know the difference between a ketone and an ester. Just as I can fancy myself a baker after making a batch of chocolate chip cookies, so can you be a scientist. I may not belong in a 5-star restaurant kitchen anytime soon, and you may not be splitting any atoms in the near future. If you’re curious, and asking questions about how the world works, you’re halfway there. If you’re willing to answer those questions based on data and evidence, I’d argue that you’re all the way there.
So whatever your connection to science, please, take some time and explore. The world needs more lawyer/scientists, more teacher/scientists, more barista/scientists, more realtor/scientists. The world just needs more scientists. Period.
Who am I?
First, thanks for asking. I'm Jenn, and I live in New York City. I am currently a mother, medical writer, and wannabe science writer. If you can't tell, science is one of my favorite things, but I also enjoy cooking, learning languages, and reading (I'm working through Agatha Christie's Poirot series right now.)
My connection to science followed a somewhat traditional path. After majoring in Biochemistry in college, I figured I was on a roll, so I went on and get a PhD in Biochemistry too, with a focus in Biophysics for good measure. After six years working in a lab, however, I had come to the conclusion that research wasn't for me. I really enjoyed learning about science, thinking and talking about science...I just didn't enjoy doing science. As I struggled to create my post-graduate life, one nagging thought wouldn't go away. For so long, I had identified as a scientist. Would I still be a scientist if I wasn't at the bench?
If you read the first section on this page, you would know that the answer is - YES! I decided that the best way that I can be a scientist isn't by doing Western blots and sequencing DNA. The best way for me to be a scientist is to engage others, to make science approachable, enjoyable, and interesting.
I left grad school and moved to New York City with a PhD, but no job. I applied to science communications positions left and right and scoured the Internet for networking opportunities. While finding a job was high on my list, I was also just looking for things to do, for interesting events to learn more and to meet other science lovers.
This site is a culmination of all that searching during my first few months in NYC. At first, I envisioned it as a guide mostly for grad students and post docs looking for a nonacademic career or for a fun event to get out of the lab - basically what I wish I had had when I first graduated. Over the years, however, as I got further from academia, I've tried to appeal to a broader audience.
Scientists often get blamed for being unapproachable, aloof, difficult to understand, or disconnected from real life. Dispelling this misconception requires a two-pronged approach. First, scientists need to learn how to engage others. Second, everyone needs to more excited about engaging science.