Meet Tasmania’s Inspiring Australia officer, Sarah Bayne
People come to science engagement with a range of backgrounds, but there can’t be many who’ve worked cleaning convict bricks like Sarah Bayne has. But there’s far more to Tasmania than convict clichés, and Sarah now communicates all the many science and science-related activities going on in the island state.
Sarah is one of eight state and territory Inspiring Australia Officers who support science communication and engagement projects, help them gain publicity and enable local collaboration.
What is your background?
Bachelor of Arts, Master of Journalism, Media and Communications
What was your first job?
Cleaning convict bricks for 2 cents a brick. I found out years later that my older sister had negotiated 5 cents a brick! But I still made an absolute fortune of about $50 one summer.
What inspires you?
At work I really get inspired by people – the passion and dedication I see in the scientists and science communicators I work with and also the ‘light bulb’ moments and fascination I see when a child (or even an adult) fully engages with something new. Out of work I mostly get inspired by nature and the environment, and also my friends. Oh, and good food. And my dog.
What Inspiring Australia initiatives are happening in your area?
There are a whole range of IA initiatives happening in Tasmania including the WhySci.org.au website, a local grants scheme, newsletters and social media, all types of events, scholarships and lots of brainstorming about how else we can engage the public in science.
Is there a success story or two that stand out?
The Redmap project is definitely a stand out example of the power of Inspiring Australia. Redmap was developed here in Tasmania and has recently expanded nationally with the assistance of an IA Unlocking Grant. It is an online citizen science project that allows the public to contribute data to help researchers assess changing species distribution due to rising ocean temperatures.
What are the science strengths of your state or territory?
Aaghh there are too many! But particularly marine and Antarctic science, agricultural science, separation science, mining/geology…. The list goes on!
Tell us about your favourite science-related TV show or movie
I’m more into podcasts, You Tube and social media. I really like Talking Science, Veritasium and I F*ing Love Science, but I do appreciate a bit of Wonders of the Universe and The Big Bang Theory too I suppose!
What are you currently reading?
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, who I first saw on TED Talks and does some really interesting work in psychology.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the people I get to work with, all the cool things I get to do and learn about when I’m organising events and generally operating in such a positive space with really valuable outcomes if we keep succeeding.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
My biggest challenge is definitely narrowing down my focus- there are so many wonderful things to do and to learn about and get involved in but not enough time.
If you could give science communicators one piece of advice, what would it be?
Talk to your local IA Officer- they can probably help you in some way!