science

research, writing, &  communication

I first fell in love with biology during childhood visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Following visits with hermit crabs and more in the touch tank exhibits, I grew to love the ocean and the incredible natural forces driving the life within it. As I take formal coursework, read scientific papers, and visit more aquariums and museums, I continue piecing together the words and frameworks for expressing what I observe in lab settings or during quick trips to the intertidal zone between classes.

Here, you'll find selections of my biology-based explorations over the years, from writing to illustration to a mix of both and more.

 
 

saltman quarterly

UC San Diego's award-winning biology research journal

I joined Saltman Quarterly in my freshman year of college as a designer, where I created layouts for our multiple print publications. During my junior year, I served as the Executive Editor of the journal, where I coordinated our flagship publications as well as oversaw the many committees of SQ, including online writers, community outreach members, and our research and review team.

 

Going into the 2020-2021 academic year, I'll be serving as the Editor-at-Large and taking the lead on revitalizing SQ's social and digital media presence. We closed out the 2019-2020 year with kicking off a new social media education initiative around the COVID-19 pandemic and plan to explore and implement new forms of content to distill science and engage with broader audiences.

While my interest in science communication was sparked back in high school through volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences, SQ has been a key catalyst for my ongoing growth as a science communicator and educator.

 

This undergraduate-run student organization has also helped me find my voice as a leader. In addition to directing new projects and setting the org's future trajectory, things like working on day-to-day logistics of running staff and advisor meetings, designing logos and apparel, communicating with professionals in scientific research, and collaborating with my peers to edit countless written and visual pieces have taught me so much about what it means to be an active listener and effective leader.

writing

on science, science communication, & more

With my writing, I love exploring scientific topics in the context of how we as humans generate, analyze, and share data. As of Winter 2020, I'm working towards a Certificate in Science Communication from UC San Diego Extension; through coursework in this program, I've worked on my interviewing, writing, and editing skills. I've also maintained a personal blog, Wordy & Nerdy, since I was thirteen, and much of my writing since entering college has been my reflections on being a student of science.

Understanding the zombie disease

of the sea

Exploring how community-driven data collection can help scientists understand the progression of a devastating marine disease. 

a seven-armed sea star

Reflections on one of my many inspirations in science communication. 

Dive into Birch Aquarium's annual Whale Fest kickoff

Live event coverage,

February 2020 

reflections as a student of science communication

Thoughts on science, media, and reconciling the two; inspired by a talk by NPR's Joe Palca. 

 

illustration

visual stories about animals, plants, & beyond

Growing up, my mom was my art teacher, and she helped me build foundation of drawing, painting, and working with traditional media to create art. I discovered digital art through a now-no-longer-functioning drawing website in middle school and went on to teach myself more about digital illustration and graphic design. This is a collection of some of the science-inspired illustration work I've done over the years.

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exhibits & educational programming

interactive storytelling for diverse audiences

I began at the Birch Aquarium as a Tide Pool Interpretation volunteer almost as soon as I settled into my college campus in 2017. Eventually, I was brought onto the Exhibits team as a research assistant to help curate content for incoming installations and work with guests to evaluate existing exhibit designs to generate insights for future developments. I've conducted surveys, researched for image assets, designed graphics, drafted exhibit text, and created interpretive materials and plans for use on the public floor of the aquarium. 

Tiny animals,

big stories

Interpretation station at the Birch Aquarium featuring research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on copepods and climate change. 

Presenting on

the public floor

Reflections on my experiences as a science communicator on the public floors of various educational institutions, including the Birch Aquarium and the California Academy of Sciences. 

Mangroves:

From Roots to Leaves

An educational activity station featuring mangroves and the diverse life they support.

 

West Coast Whales

Cognitive science projects exploring what makes the most engaging and effective educational conversations.

 

© 2023 by Arya Natarajan

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