A Blog Around The Clock

Continuing with the tradition from last two years, I will occasionally post interviews with some of the participants of the ScienceOnline2010 conference that was held in the Research Triangle Park, NC back in January. See all the interviews in this series here. You can check out previous years’ interviews as well: 2008 and 2009.

Today, I asked Patty Gainer from Radford College, VA, to answer a few questions.

Welcome to A Blog Around The Clock. Would you, please, tell my readers a little bit more about yourself? Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)?

Hi, I’m Patricia, but I go by Patty. I’m located in Radford, Virginia. It’s a very, very small city. I’m twenty years old; however, I will soon be twenty-one. Eek.

Tell us a little more about your career trajectory so far: interesting projects past and present?

Right now I am still working through school. I’m currently finishing my last semester at our local community college. In the fall I will be attending Radford University. Here is where I will work on both my majors. I will be double majoring, first in Environmental Journalism and secondly in Fashion Merchandising. I’m look forward to the fall very much.

In Environmental Journalism I hope to work with nature and wildlife. I want to sit in the fields and study animal behavior and habits. Also I would very much like to research more on climate change and how that can be reversed. I do not want to see animals disappear because of a lack of caring.

In Fashion I want to be a personal shopper. I know fashion probably seems like a complete opposite from my other career choice. However, I very much like the way the clothes are the higher the fashion goes. They are exquisite. I like how you can see each stitch and the professional look they have.

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What is taking up the most of your time and passion these days? What are your goals?

Let’s see: when I’m not at school or doing school work I am dancing. I dance three days a week for two and a half hours. I only study ballet, though, as of right now. I’ve been dancing for sixteen years. I very much like ballet. I’ve been to four professional performances. Although it might not seem hard to some, it is extremely hard. My body has been definitely feeling the pain over the sixteen years. Even though I get sore a lot, I still plan to continue for another three years.

Another thing that takes up a lot of my time when I’m not worrying about school is studying the news. I like to know what is going on and to be up to date on world events. Sometimes I do not completely understand the events, though I still like to know something about them. I usually am pretty involved in politics, too. I find it useful to know what’s going on in the world.

What aspect of science communication and/or particular use of the Web in science interests you the most?

I personally like to watch about science events and actions. I find Nova programs to be pretty good, and they keep my attention. Other ways I like to learn about science would be from watching documentaries. They have to be good documentaries, though, such as the ones hosted by David Attenborough.

How does (if it does) blogging figure in your work? How about social networks, e.g., Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook? Do you find all this online activity to be a net positive (or even a necessity) in what you do?

I do not blog. However, I sometimes wonder if I should. I want to go into journalism and blogging is a good way to start. It’s just something about free writing I think that I’m not the best at. I like to be given a sort of guide line, such as, this has to be due at this time and we need you to follow this outline. One would think a writer would like a blog because of the freedom it gives. For me, though, it’s a bit too much of freedom.

I don’t use twitter either, and right now I’m feeling a bit out dated and I’m only twenty.

I do use Facebook! I normally use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and chat with them. I have, however, become fans of some pages such as the WWF and get updates from them. I can click on a link and get direct information about the subject. I also am a fan of the American Ballet so I also get updates about their performances. Oh, another update I get is from NPR. I also really like listening to NPR.

When and how did you first discover science blogs? What are some of your favourites? Have you discovered any cool science blogs by the participants at the Conference?

Ha ha, this question makes me laugh. I actually had no idea about this conference. I was first dragged along by my mother. She was the one that found it. I just came along. I think I was about sixteen the first time I went to the Science Conference. At sixteen I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, so I didn’t look at the conference so much as a way to get information. I did know that I liked science, but most of the stuff that was covered I didn’t understand fully.

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You are one of the rare people who attended all four of our conferences. You were just a kid when you came to the first one! How do you perceive its evolution, the way the meeting is changing year after year, and how are you changing in your relation to the topics of the science and the Web over the years?

YES I WAS! As stated above, I didn’t know yet that I wanted to go into something that dealt with science. Then I only knew I wanted to work with Fashion. Despite that, I have always liked science and have always loved animals. I think being exposed to such a great conference with people who really knew what they were talking about helped me understand science more. It wasn’t the same stuff I was taught in school by the text books. It was completely new and sometimes more advanced, which I liked. I got bored with the stuff from the text books over and over again. I think after attending my second Science conference I really began to think more about maybe pursuing a career with science. Here is where Environmental Journalism came in.

What was the best aspect of ScienceOnline2010 for you? Any suggestions for next year? Is there anything that happened at this Conference – a session, something someone said or did or wrote – that will change the way you think about science communication, or something that you will take with you to your job, blog-reading and blog-writing?

This year when I went to the ScienceOnline 2010 Conference, I was very much looking forward to hearing from the Journalists. I remember in one session I noticed that most of the journalists there were freelance writers. I hope to learn more about a career in Journalism and next year maybe have some things I can say I’ve submitted. I hope to come again next year and learn even more about the science world that is forever growing.

Thank You!

It was so nice to see you again and thank you for the interview. I hope to see you again next January.