Jennifer Ferris is currently an MSc candidate in the Graduate Program of Neuroscience working under the supervision of Lara Boyd in the Brain Behaviour Lab. She completed her undergraduate degree at UBC with Honours in Psychology. During her time as an undergraduate she studied the distribution of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone in the rat hippocampus under the supervision of Dr. Kiran Soma, and visual-spatial attention in senior fallers under the supervision of Dr. Todd Handy. Her research will focus on the contribution of Type-2 diabetes to stroke incidence and stroke recovery.
I grew up watching David Attenborough, Bill Nye, and National Geographic, these programs made learning about science fun, which later would inspire me to pursue graduate-level education. Since then I have had in interest in science education, which I’ve developed by leading seminar classes as an undergrad and as a teaching assistant today. These teaching mediums are all very interesting, but definitely a far cry from the entertaining movies I used to love as a kid. Then I met Ian Holliday, a recent graduate of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Ian has a background in biology and wanted to find ways to connect his film skill set with his passion for science education. From a few conversations with a new friend, Sixty Second Science was born! We set out to create a series of videos that would explain dense scientific concepts in sixty seconds or less. Our first season has 3 themes: Neuroscience, Ecology, and Astronomy.
I provide the neuroscience content and we have been working with science educators in other fields to create lessons on our other topics; from high school teachers, to PhD students, to professors. Everything came together this summer when Ian wrangled together a team of film school graduates to help us film the first 10 episodes of this crazy series. By putting our name out to contacts around the city we were given access to some amazing shooting locations, we were even allowed to run around the Vancouver Space Museum one Saturday night to film our astronomy episodes!
Our test video caught the attention of a group of commercial directors in Los Angeles, and we were invited to give a workshop on science and media at the S.T.E.A.M. education event (http://www.steamnation.org). We will be speaking to over 2500 children and teachers from the greater Los Angeles area about how to connect a passion for science with a passion for artistic expression.
I never imagined that I would be appearing in videos like this, I was very content to stay in the lab and the classroom. But this opportunity has taught me about the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone to engage with an idea. It has also taught me the value of collaboration with individuals outside of your academic circle; people are interested in what is going on in universities and in the Internet age everyone is hungry to learn. We can increasingly provide high-quality educational content outside of classroom settings, and collaborating with educators and artists can address gaps in the general public’s knowledge in fun and engaging ways. A good idea can bring people together from all kinds of backgrounds and specialties who can enrich your own skill-set in ways you never thought possible!
For our first season we will launch a video every Monday! We plan to come back with bigger and better things for our second season, so subscribe to our channel and stay tuned! You can find our videos at www.sixtysecondscience.org