Science Communication Fellows are scientists, engineers, researchers, graduate students and other science professionals who have successful completed a Science Communication Workshop and have been certified through Portal to the Public as current science ambassadors and excellent science communicators.

Ishola, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in materials chemistry at USD, said the fellowship is a great honor.

“Effective communication is essential in today’s world, and this program has equipped me to make complex scientific concepts understandable for everyone, from my fellow researchers to the general public,” said Ishola. “I am excited to be able to utilize my experience to help others build their science communication skills.”

As a Science Communication Fellow, Ishola will participate in national science outreach events and festivals, fostering a connection with the public by sparking scientific curiosity, literacy and awareness.

“I hope to inspire others to sharpen their science communication skills,” said Ishola. “I have noticed that science communication is often neglected at the expense of building more technical skills. Most of the time, researchers attend conferences with an audience familiar with their area of discipline. However, we don’t only communicate with scientific audiences, and that’s why it’s important that we build science communication skills to make an impact on science understood by all.”

Blessing Ishola works through a science activity with two children at a science exhibition. The kids smile while watching Blessing do the activity.Through her fellowship, Ishola had the opportunity to participate in the Meet a Scientist program, a free exhibit hall day at the South Dakota Discovery Center coordinated by South Dakota EPSCoR. During this event, Ishola designed a captivating science activity titled “Power Up With Polymers” to showcase her research to young students.

“This activity sparked curiosity in many of the kids, and they were interested to know more about my research,” said Ishola. “They learned about my project, which is focused on designing new polymer materials that can be utilized to store more energy in batteries.

“Most significantly, engaging and sharing my research with high school and middle school students was inspiring for me, as I was showing younger generations the many opportunities in STEM and encouraging them toward a future career in STEM,” she continued.

Reflecting on her aspirations, Ishola said this opportunity aligns with her commitment to making science more accessible.

“My future goal is to continually grow as a scientist and find new ways to make science approachable and exciting,” said Ishola. “This fellowship is invaluable in my journey as a scientist and future STEM educator, helping me inspire the next generation of scientists.”

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