Valerie Bentivegna studied bioscience engineering, and almost finished her PhD in cancer research. Born in the USA, she grew up in Belgium and studied in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scotland. She believes that policies should be science based, and that science is important for the advancement of society. Scientists should get off of their high tower and speak to the public. She herself loves finding creative and innovative ways to engage young and adult audiences with STEM subjects. And she loves it more than research.
This is why she is now transitioning into a career in science communication! She travels around with her friend Bruno, who is a blue ukulele, to spread her enthusiasm for science. Valerie and Bruno have been mostly across Scotland, but have also ventured to Belgium and Spain, and they are currently in the USA (but haven’t had a gig there, yet).
Valerie wants to address common misconceptions about the scientific process. Misunderstanding scientific uncertainty, for example, can reduce trust in science within the public. This is why she emphasizes the rigor that goes into the research process, and the way how scientific results should be interpreted in the public discussion. On the other side, misconceptions of the role of failure in the scientific process among scientists hurt the community and research quality. Valerie uses humor to convey that failure is okay and that we all go through it as researchers.
During her curation she wants to talk about the importance of outreach. In particular she wants to address the problem of getting out of your bubble as a scientist. How do we stop preaching to just our colleagues? One way is to be a “nerd of trust” and communicate science to non-scientists within your personal network. Can we be doing science communication in a better way?