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The Brains Behind BrainCraft : Meet Vanessa Hill

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’ve been twitterpals with Vanessa Hill (@nessyhill) for quite some time now, so I was delighted to see that she recently started up a new YouTube channel. ‘BrainCraft’ focuses on psychology and human behaviour, highlighting Hill’s background in science education and social media. Her videos tell entertaining and educational stories with paper craft and time-manipulated sketching.

I had a few questions for Vanessa about her background and goals for the channel:

CB: You recently received an MSc in science communication from the Australian National University, what is this program like?

VH: The course was a good mix of research and coursework, which offered an introduction to research life and real world experience. I felt like a got a lot out of the mix—for some of the research component I did a study into scientists’ use of social media; for a coursework project I created a podcast series on science careers.

CB: What is the inspiration behind the kinds of videos you create?

VH: I find the brain and our behaviour so fascinating. I love to share interesting facts and studies I find with others. My background is in science education, my undergraduate degree was in Psychology and I now work in social media—It all seems to fit together really well to equip me to educate people in a fun way. I think people are really interested in self-directed education and come to YouTube ready to learn.

CB: Where did you obtain the amazing video-production skills you have?

VH: I’ve worked around some other very talented online video producers, I feel that helping with pre-production and filming was really valuable experience for me. I’ve also hosted a web series on DIY experiments for CSIRO. My craft skills have a little way to come. I’d like to make videos with amazing papercraft that are works of art as much as they are stories about science.

CB: What is your advice to aspiring science communicators?

VH: You can never have too much experience, and every piece of it helps you hone your skills, find your strengths and style. Write more, edit more, talk more, design more, film more. When you find your sweet spot, make amazing things and use them to build up a strong portfolio.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Vanessa! Make sure you head over to all of her various sites and keep yourself up to date on the latest and greatest releases from BrainCraft!

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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