• iceberg
  • boy with flowers
  • checking water quality
  • planet eclipse
  • solarsystem model
  • rangitoto trees
  • kids with test tubes
  • kids with earth
  • snowy mountains
  • teens in physics class
  • Rainbow Clouds

    Refraction and diffraction of light through ice crystals in the clouds

  • Philippa On The Ice

    Philippa On The Ice Philippa Werry at an Antarctic research camp 2016

New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Education & Society

Science communication is for everyone

Jo Thompson is passionate about making science accessible to everyone.

From professors to kindergarten students: science communication is integral, says Jo Thompson.

She is the community educator at Nelson’s Cawthron Institute, an independent science organisation specialising in marine science like aquaculture, coastal ecology, and algal technology.

How do you describe what you do?

I translate scientific information into something that everyone can understand!

What led to your particular interest in community science/education?

I’m very passionate about science being accessible to everyone, and I think it’s important that anyone can access the latest scientific research.

What do you like most about your job?

I like the variety of people that I work with, from professors and experts in scientific fields to kindergarten groups.

Were you interested in science at school, and what was your academic path after school?

I became passionate about the ocean and marine biology when I was very young. I studied joint honours oceanography and marine biology at the University of Wales, Bangor.  

How do you think your job might change over the next five or ten years?

Scientific institutes and government agencies are increasingly accepting a responsibility to represent their science to the public in an ‘easy to understand’ manner.

Therefore, there will be more community education roles like mine in the future. It’s also becoming important to everyone to have a good basic understanding of science, as the need to understand processes such as climate change become relevant to all of us.

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