The American public must have a better understanding of science and technology to make many of the important decisions in their lives, on both a personal and a societal level. The ability to communicate scientific concepts to the public is therefore an important asset to professionals involved in research. In addition, the ability to communicate opens the door to other science and engineering related careers such as science journalism, management consulting, public health, engineering and pharmaceutical sales, science policy, public relations, and leadership positions in high technology industries.
Science Journalism - Television, radio, and newspapers need journalists who understand science and can communicate well. Professional organizations like the American Chemical Society must communicate not only among their members, but also with the public. Writers for special interest magazines, like Discovery and Popular Science, write about science, engineering and technology to a savvy and interested public audience.
Public Health - In many phases of public health (public health medicine and nursing, genetic counseling, biostatistics research, infectious disease study and many more), it is critical that important medical concepts be described in terms that the lay public can understand. Public policy issues such as water fluoridation must be described to the voting public in a manner that permits them to make intelligent decisions.
Medicine - All physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals who treat patients must be able to communicate complex concepts about health and treatment in order to be effective. They are also called upon frequently to speak to the media and to various groups and organizations about topics relating to health.
Hospital Outreach - Outreach professionals who work in the context of a hospital must communicate equally well with medical professionals and the community in which they work.
Education - The science teacher is one of the ultimate communicators of science to the public with far reaching effects. Teachers play a critical role in instilling in young people a curiosity and an interest in science. They also influence those who enjoy it most to enter careers in the field.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Instrumentation Sales - To be effective in these high profile industries, sales personnel must have an in-depth understanding of the natural sciences, as well as a facility in interpersonal communications.
Engineering Sales - Manufacturers of engineering equipment market their products to a population that frequently does not understand technical language. Sales people must therefore not only understand the technical aspects of their products, but must be able to translate this knowledge to their customers.
Science Novelist - Science is exciting and intriguing, and scientists and engineers are personalities whose stories are fascinating. Thrilling detective stories and emotionally charged personal stories are waiting to be written.
Public Relations - High technology industry needs public relations professionals to describe products and activities to the public. Public relations is an important activity also to science-related governmental agencies and to science and engineering professional societies.
Management Consulting - Management consulting firms rely on science communicators to advise non-technical clients on the ways science and technology can enhance their business.
Environmental Law - Lawyers and legislators who are involved in environmental affairs and in litigation must be familiar with the language and concepts of science and engineering.
Legislative Staff - Legislators who are not scientists need staff members who understand science and can advise them on matters relating to science and the environment.