July 2, 2019, by Emma Thorne
From cardiac research to the heart of the media
Dr Catrin Rutland in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science first encountered the world of media and outreach through her scientific research. For many years she has undertaken a wide variety of activities related to showing her research to others – from writing magazine and newspapers articles through to giving public talks, undertaking school visits and writing scientific papers for children, she is interested in communicating science far and wide. Her passion for the media has led to her being chosen as Nottingham’s latest BSA Media Fellow.
I am an Associate Professor of Developmental Genetics and Anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. I love spending my life researching, teaching and communicating science. It is such a varied job. In any given day I can be applying for funding to undertake research, teaching veterinary and PhD students, giving talks to the public, writing scientific papers and books, running social media pages and even writing for newspapers and undertaking interviews. There are so many roles on top of this but every day is exciting. I research cardiac and angiogenesis-related diseases and development in horses. My time is spent understanding genetics and anatomy of hearts and blood vessels and trying to help with disorders such as cardiomyopathy, lameness and blindness.
With my own research I have seen how vital it is to get your work known and understood by the public. Whether that encourages people into science or helps disseminate information about your work. I am also a professional science fiction author and write popular science books. I see how this helps to get science out there in a fun and (hopefully) interesting way. Over the years I have worked with the University of Nottingham media relations team and have developed a love for communicating science. Working with the media in the past has given me an insight into the busy but exciting world but I really wanted to know more.
Therefore when the opportunity arose to apply for a Media Fellowship, sponsored by the British Science Association (BSA) and the University of Nottingham, I was keen to learn more. The opportunity to undertake a 2-6 week placement with an international broadcast company, reporting live from the British Science Festival and undertaking a training programme looked exciting.
Juggling my teaching and research will have another important addition over the coming year as my 2019 BSA Media Fellowship starts this Summer. Recently I went to the BSA headquarters in London to formally start the scheme. Over the summer I will be undertaking my placement with Sky News. I am looking forward to learning about the media industry. How it works, how they decide which stories to highlight and how they ensure that people remain interested in their articles and announcements.
Seeing behind the scenes will be fascinating and I know I will learn a lot. I hope to enhance my own skills and help others once I am back at the university. My experience will pay off when I attend the British Science Festival for a week in September to report for Sky and the BSA.
For more information about the 2019 BSA Media Fellows please see here: https://www.britishscienceassociation.org/news/introducing-our-2019-media-fellows
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