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Amelia is a Science Communicator, and joined the PHI Lab in September 2023. She has a background in Biochemistry and research experience in science communication, and now leads on the various parts of PHI’s outputs.

1) Tell us about your work – what do you do and what makes it interesting for you?

I’m the communications and public engagement coordinator for PHI, which means I do a huge range of work! Normally, my days will consist of planning and creating social media posts, updating our website, and planning public engagement or patient and public involvement (PPI) events for the lab. I also help my colleagues with their research papers, conference posters, talks and other forms of communications – plus I’ve had the opportunity to do some really cool projects like writing press releases, redoing our lab branding and graphics, and creating videos to explain our research!

I really love the fact that my job is so varied, it means that I never have a boring day. It’s also an amazingly rewarding position to be in, as I think the research that PHI produces is incredibly important and interesting, and I really want to make sure that it reaches the right audiences. Who wouldn’t love spending their days learning new science and sharing it with the world?

2) What drew you to this work? Was working somewhere like PHI always your aim?

I wasn’t initially intending to go into science communication – my undergraduate degree was in Biochemistry. However, as I went through that degree, I found that the parts of my course I loved was when I was learning about science which interested me, and sharing that in various forms – yes, I even enjoyed writing scientific essays! Having decided that lab work wasn’t for me, I decided to do a master’s degree in science and health communication, where I got to improve my communication skills and learn about the principles behind effective science communication.

I stumbled into the PHI position a little bit by accident though, as I was initially looking to work in a science museum or a similar environment. However, when I saw the jab advert at PHI, and read more about their research, I realised this was an amazing opportunity! My Masters research focused on social justice in science education, and I now get to transfer my academic understanding of these principles to working for health equity and planetary health!

Amelia with her course directors at her graduation from Manchester, December 2023

3) What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far? What are you most proud of?

I think my favourite thing I’ve done at PHI so far has been working on our Ethnicity, Equity and AI project. This is amazing research which I’m really passionate about sharing, and so having the opportunity to increase its reach has been really rewarding. I produced graphics, videos and webpages for the project, plus wrote a press release and coordinated with our partners to help share the research – we were even named UKRI’s ‘one to watch’ for our release week!

I’ll be delivering more talks on this project, and can’t wait to begin work on the publicity for the next phase of results!

4) What is your favourite part of working in the PHI Lab?

I think it’s really difficult to choose just one thing! I really love working with Marta, Sara, Rabia and all our collaborators here in Oxford – they’re all very good sports when I ask them many many many questions about their research (data science and especially AI are completely new to me!), and it’s also fun to work with such an international team with different experiences, festivals and foods!

5) When you’re not working, what are your favourite activities?

I’m very much a busy body, so I find it difficult to sit still when I’m not working. Outside of work, I’m still continuing to work on my research from my Masters, and I host a podcast called That’s Science (although we’re currently on hiatus…). I can also be found singing in a local choir, doing some photography and sewing/embroidery and swimming laps of my local pool!

6) What are you most excited about in our upcoming projects?

I would be a fool to be excited for anything other than PHAM2024! I’m going to be returning to Malaysia, a country I lived in when I was younger, and I’ll also be meeting a huge number of Planetary Health Researchers and Communicators, so I’m incredibly excited to learn more about the field. (Also the prospect of warm weather and beaches doesn’t hurt!). It’s amazing to see a conference have such an emphasis on science communication, which is not only a field obviously close to my heart, but something which I think is key when we face issues like planetary health, health equity and climate change.

As part of the conference and pre-conference programme, I’ve been particularly working on the AI for Planetary Health sessions with cartoonists, humanitarian workers and responsible AI advocates – it’s been incredible to meet experts working in this space, and I’m even hoping to produce some science communication literature around the hybrid nature of our ‘Cartoonathon’ sessions after the conference.