My first time moderating a panel

Despite doing several odd voluntary and paid jobs over the year’s NerdFest Online was my first time moderating a panel discussion! To those watching: was it obvious?

The “lucky” panel was Communicate! Communicate! The Science Communicators’ Panel at NerdFest Online, the online convention organized by Nerd Rage PH. NerdFest was supposed to be an actual event this May 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one to give up and hoping to bring a sense of community in these tough times, the Nerd Rage PH team, with the help of It’s Happening Events and more dedicated volunteers, turned the physical event into a virtual one, with live streamed panels over the May 9-10, 2020 weekend.

For Communicate! Communicate!, the “lucky” victims, erm panelists were Jo Brianne Briones (Information Officer of the DATOS [Remote Sensing and Data Science] project of the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute [DOST-ASTI]) and Mikael Angelo Francisco (founder and editor-in-chief of the science news website Flipscience.ph). I love these two guys because 1) yay friends! and 2) I’m a big admirer of what they’re doing in their respective circles. Jo Brianne works in the government, and her science communication is targeted towards other government agencies, researchers, and legislators. Her job is to inform government officials on what DOST-ASTI is doing, why it’s important, and why they should give DOST-ASTI more research funds. In comparison, Mikael works in the public sphere, producing easy-to-understand science news and features on Filipino research and daily FlipFacts on curious, science-y things found in or happening in the Philippines.

You can watch our whole panel here (starts at 3:35):

As you can tell, we love talking about science, and talking about talking about science 😄 The panel was super fun to do and I’m super thankful to Jo and Mikael for agreeing to be in it. Thank you also to everyone who watched live and sent us questions! Please pardon the robotic voice at the beginning. The earphones I was using had a severe delay versus the microphone, so I could only hear myself a full second after I spoke into the microphone. Seriously disorienting, hence the slow speaking and the transfer to a different set of headphones.

On another note, this panel made me miss doing sci comms SO FREAKING MUCH. I love sci comm. I LOVE IT. Personally, I think it’s my great passion in life, maybe more so than doing science itself. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like because of bills to pay. To get around that, I’m committing myself to write at least one sci comms article a month, just to keep myself happy and sane. To researchers out there, especially Filipino researchers, send me stuff to write about! 😀