By: Laura Faulkner, Duke-NUS Communications Intern

I have always been pretty curious about the things around me. Growing up, my siblings and I explored the world with encyclopaedias, little microscope sets and tool kits. So studying for a degree in medical biochemistry was not big a surprise to my family and friends. However, being interested in science communication was, particularly because I never really enjoyed writing in school. 

 Laura at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia

This transformation came about during my studies at the University of Manchester. The Faculty of Life Sciences encouraged students to explore other career paths in science beyond the traditional academic or research routes. It was from this that I realised the thrill of coming up with creative ways of looking at scientific concepts and communicating them in an engaging way.

The challenge for me was to write more but with practice, it did get easier and more enjoyable. 

Returning to Singapore, I was clueless as to how to turn this interest into a full-time career. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have met and be offered a three-month internship by Corinna in her communications team at Duke-NUS.

Office of Communications, Organisational Development & Alumni Relations (CODAR) Retreat 2015 - Laura joins in too!

Though it was a fairly short stint, I was given the opportunity to work on various communication projects. Dharshini (Dini for short) was my guide and mentor. Every day was different and my tasks could range from calling the media for updates, writing and editing articles for the in-house publication “Vital Science”, to brainstorming and sketching out ideas for the year end e-card. One event I particularly enjoyed was the Centre of Regulatory Excellence’s Scientific Conference 2015. This event allowed me to not only be up and personal with stellar speakers, but also made me realise how impactful Duke-NUS sets out to be. 

For a large proportion of my time though, Dini would have me draft a press release for an upcoming research publication led by the school. We often have the opportunity to interview researchers leading the studies. This helps us  to get a quick low-down on the science and a glimpse of the thought processes behind the study - why they embarked on the study, what they felt was significant about the results, how they  built on the results etc.  After drafting up the press release, we would send it back to the researcher for their comments and revisions before it is released. Once it is out there, it could either grow into a big story or fade into obscurity. 

The colleagues in the office always have a creative idea on hand.  They genuinely love what they do and believe in the school’s philosophy. They would go to great lengths to ensure each project was a success, be it the town hall event, a media briefing or even the annual giving campaign. This impressed upon me that the working world is not really where all dreams die. You can remain passionate about work when you see the bigger picture, which is how I hope to develop my career.

Selling flowers for a good cause with the CODAR team - Annual Giving Campaign 2015