Camp is Over

A month ago I was approached by one of the co-founders of Curiosity Collider to present at their Collisions Between Art and Science evening in Vancouver. Now, some of you may remember that I had to move out of the city earlier this year, and un/fortunately I did not find work elsewhere, so I did not have the means to return. That did not stop us, however! Inspired by Emily Graslie (The Brain Scoop) and Joe Hanson (It’s Okay To Be Smart), I decided to try my hand at making a video!

I have a lot to learn when it comes to that medium.

Despite my irrational anxiety from talking to the cylon-like camera, the time crunch, and horrendous upload speeds, the video was made in time to be shown at the event!

Through the powers of Skype, I was able to sit in on part of the event. I could only see a small patch of the audience (though the venue was packed, I’m so glad they had such a turnout!) and the mic on the other end was muted. I watched those few people I could see with acute anxiety.

“Are they enjoying the video?”
“So many people are on their phones, I hope they’re not bored!”
“Was that a laugh?”
“Oh thank goodness, they’re all watching it now, the pictures must be showing!”

Since I am sure you are curious about the video yourself, here it is:

Afterwards, we had a QA, but this time MY skype wasn’t sending out the audio, or there was some other technical difficulty with similar results. I had to answer the couple of questions as best I could via typing. Which, of course, meant I couldn’t elaborate as much as I would like to. So, for my peace of mind, here are those questions with the answers they deserve.

Q: Is there any reason you are now doing high school education specifically? And not staying in biological illustration anymore?

A: When I wrote up my CV for grad school, I realized 90% of my work experience involved teaching. This past year has made me realize that a BSc in Biology is not a meal ticket, and you will have a very hard time finding any relevant work unless you get some more specialized education, like a trade or a teaching certificate.

I am choosing high school education partly because I enjoy working with teenagers, and partly because I feel like I would be suited to teach the BC biology curriculum. Most of my favourite biology courses were just extended versions of the topics taught in Biology 11 and 12. Combined with my artistic talents, I would be a very versatile teacher. I think, with the exceptions of French and PE, I would be happy teaching any class!

I am leaning away from Scientific Illustration because I am not sure how to get into it. I have had a few commissions, mainly through word-of-mouth. Earlier in the year, I had several of my old professors and TA’s forward me an email from someone looking for a scientific illustrator. I sent the person a link to my blog along with some samples of my work. When I eventually did hear back from them, they said that my “style” wasn’t what they were looking for.

I’m sorry if I found that a little… infuriating. If you have looked around my blog, you might have noticed that style is something rather fluid.

I fully intend to continue in the SI field, but until it becomes a reliable source of income, I need to find another way to earn my bread and butter.

Q: Have you considered making comics or graphic novels?

A: YES! One of my favourite books is “The Stuff of Life,” a graphic novel on genetics. Frankly, that book should be the required reading for most Genetics 101 courses; it is far more engaging than the drivel you pay $300 for.

But I digress. Since I was 17, I have planned to write children’s science books. Even when I wanted to be a Genetic Counselor, I was planning to make brochures and pamphlets to help explain the more common conditions. I adore webcomics, especially ones with an education twist (such as Beatrice the Biologist and Hark! A Vagrant), and would love to be considered as entertaining / informative as them. Webcomics may be in M&M’s future. We’ll see!

As for the immediate future, I am pulling out my pencils again. I have a few not-so-scientific art projects in mind that I’m dying to work on now that my English courses are complete (I’m freeeeeeee! And I got a respectable grade on a paper about why Germans are so obsessed with Indigenous North Americans!) I will try to get back to updating Monsters and Molecules regularly, but if you want anything more reliable, frequent, or about honeybees, check out my Instagram!

If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave me a comment!

Thank you all for your support ❤

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