Communication | Ep 03 | Science Writer, Sheeva Azma, of Fancy Comma, LLC
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Season 02 (Communication) | Ep 03 | Sheeva Azma of Fancy Comma, LLC
In this episode, our host Nicole Felts interviews Sheeva Azma, owner of Fancy Comma, LLC. Sheeva is an MIT and Georgetown grad who spent 10 years as a cognitive neuroscience researcher.
In 2020, just a month before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Sheeva founded Fancy Comma, a science writing company that supports people and organizations in all sectors, including industry, nonprofit, academia, government, and the medical field.
Join us as we explore what a career is like as a science writer!
In this episode, Sheeva shares with us
How scientific literacy is the guiding light for her career
Making the transition from scientific research into science writing
Her reflections on sustainability as a freelance science writer
During this episode, we have in-depth conversations about
The importance of networking and connectivity in science careers
Diversity of ideas, community diversity, and workforce diversity
Adapting and learning as you do work in the field
From this episode, you can expect to learn
What the difference is between science journalism and science communication
How to tackle topics that scare you
2:21 - Sheeva talks about how she got into science writing
11:06 - Bridging the gap between science and SciComm
34:59 - Making science culture more inclusive and collaborative
42:02 - The role of scientists in policymaking
45:00 - Entrepreneurship as a science writer
49:31 - Sheeva's book and starting as a science writer
55:42 - Different types of science writing: content writing, copywriting (marketing writing), and science journalism
1:01:50 - What motivates Sheeva in her current work, and her current career goals
1:05:51 - Sheeva’s day-to-day routine and tools she uses to get work done
1:15:53 - The most exciting projects Sheeva’s worked on in the COVID-19 pandemic
1:21:59 - Important skills or traits needed in science writing
1:25:00 - Challenges as an independent business owner and freelancer
1:32:56 - Sheeva’s writing (and thoughts) on sustainability
Correction: at 1 hour & 41 minutes, Sheeva stated that Qatar was in OPEC, but as she later informed us via email, Qatar left OPEC in 2019. The full list of nations is here: https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm.
Connect with Sheeva
Sheeva’s book, How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing
Science Writing Was Worth It. It Just Took Longer Than I Thought, The Xylom by Sheeva Azma
Scientists Push Back Against Retracted Nature Communications Study on Women Pls, The Xylom by Sheeva Azma
Does Brain Training Really Work?, The Motley Fool by Sheeva Azma
Resources Sheeva mentioned
MIT Knight School of Journalism handbook - The MIT KSJ Handbook contains helpful info for aspiring science writers, and specifically, science journalists.
Science’s Exclusionary Language: Why Jargon May Be Driving Away Your Audience, The Fancy Comma Blog, by Stephanie Paoli
For Effective Science Advocacy, Focus on Shared Values, and Speak Up Often, Union for Concerned Scientists Blog, by Sheeva Azma
The Open Notebook, a website dedicated to all things science writing
The Writers’ Co-op Podcast
The National Association of Science Writers, a trade organization for science writers
Resources Nicole mentioned
And, But, Therefore (ABT) Narrative Blitz - June 9th, 2021 - $10
Disclaimer: At Conversations with a Wannabe Scientist, we are not endorsing people, products, or services unless a partnership or professional relationship is explicitly stated.
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Nicole Felts, Podcast host/producer & project manager