The Best Compliment a Scientist Can Get
Sometimes, something happens that proves to you that you are doing EXACTLY what you were born to do with science: do great work, be excited about it, and share it in weird ways.
I posted this picture on Friday of a new shirt I bought after the story below. It is currently my favorite piece of clothing ever.
My nerdy band, The PDX Broadsides, performed at Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) 2017 in Seattle this past weekend. We sang new songs from our upcoming fourth studio album plus some old favorites as the only band performing on ECCC’s storied programming this year! (We announced our 1st Kickstarter is happening in April to make this album. It’s true. We’re terrified. It’s going to be great.)
I was also very honored to moderate a panel called “Nerds Who Rock: Music for the Masses” with some of my favorite nerd musicians: Sunnie Larsen from Vixy & Tony and Bone Poets Orchestra (and The PDX Broadsides’ “Astronaut’s Hymn”), Chris Waffle of Megathruster, Kielen King of Star Pilot Music and Preytorians, Quinn Allan AKA Kid Apocalypse/2Spock, and, of course, my bandmate Christian Lipski. We talked about our inspirations, styles, and favorite other nerd bands.
At the end, we came offstage to talk to the audience, and a familiar woman came up to me. “Hi. I don’t know if you remember me, but you were at GeekGirlCon a couple years ago and introduced me to other scientists.” I did! It’d been a while, but I remembered she was science-interested, but not sure exactly where to fit in. At the time, I was new to science communication but very excited about its potential applications, and we had a long excited conversation about it, and followed each other on Twitter.
“I wanted to tell you,” she said, “that I looked into science communication because you encouraged me, and I’m finishing a Masters program in communication now. I have a fellowship lined up with an aerospace propulsion company. We help restock the orbiting Space Station. I wouldn’t have known I could do that if you hadn’t encouraged me, so…I just wanted to give you an update and say thank you.”
I was absolutely floored and hugged her. I managed to stammer out a thank you and tell her how incredibly honored I was to have helped her on her journey. As she told me more about her fellowship, I laughed and said, “Sounds like ‘Astronaut’s Hymn’ is right up your alley.”
“We love that song,” she said. “Thank you for making great music.”
I owe an offering of thanks to the Patron Saints of Scientists, St. Albertus Magnus, the Patron Saint of Musicians, St. Cecilia, and the Patron Saint of Nerds…I think St. Expeditus is the closest we’ve got…for a compliment I’ll carry with me the rest of my life: I’m inspiring other people to find their own amazing connections to science.
Science communicator for hire as of Fall 2017. You know where to find me: making science the new rock ‘n’ roll.