We are featuring short interviews with each of our editors, so that you can get to know those folks who are responsible for highlighting your posts each week as editors’ selections. For the fourth in our series, meet our photo editor Raphael Ndem, who also manages the ScienceSeeker Google+ Page.
Hello! Let’s start with first things first. Where are you from, what do you do how did you get into science?
I’m currently based, and have spent most of my life, in London, United Kingdom. My passion for science started towards the end of primary school education, and I pursued it in College and University, achieving my BSc and MSc in Biomedical Science. I don’t currently hold a professional role in life sciences, however during my free time I maintain my scientific interests by reading and recommending scientific blogs and articles for the ScienceSeeker homepage, and I help to increase the awareness and understanding of said articles on the ScienceSeeker Google+ Page, and my personal Google+ profile.
What is the name of your blog and why did you choose that name – what does it mean?
I currently do not have a blog, however I do share articles related to my scientific interests on my personal Google+ profile mostly to the thriving Science on Google+ community, as well as the ScienceSeeker Google+ page.
How did you get into science blogging and science writing? What were the early influences on you regarding your blogging style and topics?
Science writing naturally came to me, and improved, as I progressed through my BSc and MSc degrees in Biomedical Science at the University of Westminster, but blogging hadn’t been an interest of mine until I joined the ScienceSeeker team. Having showed a particular interest in two life sciences – biology and chemistry – at a young age, I followed my desire for those topics and continue to do so.
Writing laboratory reports, complete with an abstract, followed by the standard sections (introduction, methodology etc), as well as my ability to summarise scientific content in much simpler terms without detracting from their meaning, had a major influence on my style of science writing, and continues to do so. I try to ensure that readers of my content understand the background and purpose of a new advance in science based only on the brief summary I provide with supporting links.
What is your blog about? Who is your target audience, and why do you think people should read your blog?
When I blog, I do so on Google+ and it is targeted to a science community. I’m not one to insist that people should read my blog, however I find that I often post content that hasn’t been shared by anyone else on Google+, so active users will indeed learn something new by simply following/reading my posts.
How do you spend your time when you’re not doing science or science blogging? Any interesting hobbies?
When I’m not doing anything science-related, I split my time between playing basketball, running lighting and sound equipment for amateur theatre groups, and playing Ingress. Ingress happens to be one of the most interesting augmented/alternate reality ‘games’ I have ever been involved in, and even that is an understatement.
Why did you decide to become an editor at ScienceSeeker? How do you use ScienceSeeker aside from when you’re making your editors’ selections?
I noticed an opening for an Editor’s position posted from the ScienceSeeker Google+. It seemed like an opportunity for me to use my skills and knowledge of science to help further its reach and understanding, and so I applied for the position. I was also granted the opportunity to run the ScienceSeeker Google+ page, which has since gained much attention and activity.
Aside from making my own editors’ selections, I often check ScienceSeeker to find out about new advances in sciences in disciplines I am not familiar with. It also connects me to a variety of science news sites and blogs, some reputable, and others rising up the ranks.
As you make your editors’ selections, what sorts of things do you look for? What’s the best way a blogger can get your attention, as an editor?
I generally start off looking for a story with an interesting title, usually but not exclusively related to disciplines I have a particular interest in (e.g. artificial intelligence, biology, chemistry, energy, robotics). Then I follow through to verify that the story reported is indeed genuine, including references and source information where appropriate – i.e. a simply copy-and-paste of what has already been reported by other news sites tend not to be picked. Sometimes, I look for graphical illustrations that depict, or in any way help to describe, a certain aspect of the story and may use that picture when making my recommendation, or may attach a more relevant image to help highlight the selection on the ScienceSeeker homepage.