We are happy to welcome Vanessa Hill (@nessyhill) as our new curator! Vanessa is an Australian science educator and filmmaker. She is the creator of BrainCraft, a PBS series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behaviour. She has previously worked for CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, as a science educator, social media manager and spokesperson, she was a science reporter for ScienceAlert, and she had regular segments on Australian broadcast media. At the moment she is working on a PBS documentary about the science and ethics of gene editing.
We asked Vanessa to tell us a bit about herself, and here is what she said:
I grew up watching David Attenborough documentaries and really wanted to be a vet, marine biologist or a zookeeper. I did an internship at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and ended up in their education centre – I realised that I enjoyed talking to people about science too. I chose to study science at the University of New South Wales as I could take zoology and creative writing as part of the same degree. From here I got a job in science education at CSIRO, and the rest is history.
I’ve always had a habit of visualising things and tinkering with cameras. When I was at CSIRO working in education I started photographing and filming our experiments with kids, I started redesigning our visual materials in a way that I felt was aesthetically pleasing. I’ve always really enjoyed documentary and I’ve almost fallen into it in the past few years through wanting to communicate science visually.
I’m a science educator and filmmaker. I started out working in the classroom as an educator with CSIRO and I progressed into online education. Now I’m the producer and presenter of BrainCraft, a web series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behaviour. It started out as an independent series and it was picked up by the American broadcaster, PBS. Through it, I hope to spark curiosity in others and show how science is human, relevant and amazing. I just released a short documentary, LEGO for the blind, and I’m currently working on a long form documentary on the science and ethics of gene editing. It’s due to be released in early 2017.
As a communicator, I sit in the middle of scientific research and the public: my audience skew young, and my videos mainly reach an 18-24 demographic. I think my work is important because it inspires young people, students, future scientists and decision makers to understand and care about science.
Right now, working is my extracurricular activity. I also have a very good looking labradoodle, so I try to keep her happy.
How would you describe your ideal day off? Sleeping! Eating brunch. Going to the beach. Snorkelling.
Please welcome Vanessa to Real Scientists!