Science outreach volunteering
I adore talking about science to all sorts of people! I’m doing that currently:
• as a docent at the California Academy of Sciences. You can find me in the Rainforest, the Flooded Amazon Forest, the Giants of Land and Sea exhibit, and talking about sustainability in food and energy.
• as a Master Food Preserver with the University of California Cooperative Extension. I organize events around food waste prevention and teach workshops on safe (and delicious!) methods of food preservation, with a special emphasis on food microbiology and fermentation.
• with K-12 classrooms via video chat, through Skype a Scientist. I’ve talked with 1st-graders, 12th-graders, and classes in between as well!
• with high school students as part of the Methylothon project. I develop course materials and lead lessons in microbial ecology, from field sampling to phylogeny.
Writing for non-microbiologists
- BEACON Researchers at Work: On Microbial Individuality. (May 2017) On phenotypic heterogeneity, and flatbed photo scanners.
- BEACON Researchers at Work: What ice cream and biofuels have in common: vanillin and the microbes that eat it. (June 2015) A blog post about the role of Methylobacterium in lignin degradation
- The Stanford Wine Society blog – in which I wrote multiple posts on wine science during my time there (2014):
– an account of home wine fermentation
– the genetics of odor perception
– microbial biogeography in vineyards
– grapevine physiology and root grafting
– and the biochemistry behind tannins, acids, and aromas in wine.
- Yeast Are People Too: Sourdough fermentation from the microbe’s point of view. A conference paper I presented at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery in 2010.
- Other peoples’ writing: I’ve been cited as a scientific source on the topic of the microbiology of fermented foods: in an article about cultured butter in the cheese magazine Culture (M. Trapkin 12/1/19), and in the book The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (2012).