Beyond research, I believe that being involved in positive environmental change means reaching out to the public and communicating science and the views of the scientific community. In addition to my service on committees, and as a public speaker, I have chosen to engage in outreach through my position as host and producer of The Graduates, a 30-minute radio program highlighting graduate student research at Berkeley and promoting diversity in the sciences. The Graduates is broadcast bimonthly on U.C. Berkeley’s independent, non-profit radio station KALX 90.7FM, a Bay Area institution. Using my position as a radio DJ at KALX, I took it upon myself to develop, host and produce a radio show that focuses on science and conservation and tries to make an immediate impact through positive environmental change. The Graduates is the only science radio show affiliated with UC Berkeley, and one of the only locally produced science programs on any radio station in the Bay Area. Since the inception of the program in 2014, I have interviewed more than 50 graduate students about their research. All past episodes of The Graduates are available free to listen on iTunes and via the internet.
I have worked to broaden the impact of The Graduates by extending the radio interviews into print media, allowing the show to capture the attention of a wider audience even after the broadcast. Since the pilot episode, The Graduates has forged a relationship with several student groups at Berkeley, resulting in multiple online blog posts as well as interviews with University publications, The Berkeley Graduate and the GradNews. Last year, I was also invited to speak alongside NASA scientists and other PhDs as part of the conference, “Let’s Have an Awesome Time Doing Science” (2015). My talk highlighted the importance of science communication, public outreach and creating positive environmental change.
It’s not easy to take on a radio show while in a PhD program, let alone single-handedly. I am committed to The Graduates because I am committed to the communication of science, public outreach, and discussion of scientific ideas. Every contemporary biologist has environmental change on the mind; I have taken the steps to provide a platform for discussion of those ideas in a forum that welcomes public listeners. Through this program, I hope to serve as a leader in creating positive environmental change.
GradNews. 2016. Meet Tesla Monson, Host of KALX’s ‘The Graduates.’
The Berkeley Graduate. 2015. The Berkeley Graduate Interviews The Graduates.
The DailyCal. 2014. Meet the student DJs at KALX.