Our Scholar Spotlight this week is Priya Shukla, a new member of the Scholars Strategy Network and the graduate fellow for the Sacramento chapter. Priya applies her knowledge of ocean and climate science to write for popular media outlets. She has a regular column in Forbes, thanks in part to her active Twitter presence, and she is committed to fostering more inclusion and equity in STEM.
When Priya began her masters in marine ecology, the STEM fields were undergoing a change – more and more, scientists were thinking about ways to effectively communicate their research outside of academia. Inspired by this movement, Priya began practicing her writing skills for non-academic outlets, putting together a blog on Medium where she wrote about science with an eye towards marginalized researchers. At the same time, she began actively using Twitter to discuss climate science and diversity in STEM. Thanks to her public-facing work and active social media presence, Priya soon started receiving requests from the media. Producers for The Femmes of STEM podcast and the New York Times Daily360 video found her on Twitter and asked to feature her. Editors at Bay Nature noticed her blog on Medium and requested a piece with her unique perspective towards STEM. And finally, Forbes reached out via Twitter, asking Priya to submit a piece that resulted in a standing contributor column on marine and climate science.
While there is no magic bullet, Priya has found through all of this work that writing and engaging publicly around her work has only led to more media coverage. Twitter has been an especially valuable tool, and many of her media requests came from producers or editors who found her on this social media platform. Priya is now pursuing a PhD at the University of California, Davis and plans to continue her media work throughout her doctoral studies.