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Wednesday 13 April 2022 2:02pm

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Second-year student Max Balloch has recently set up his own podcast sharing the positive stories of science.

Science communication is an important industry for the entire world and for one student who says his passion for it has only grown.

Max Balloch is a second-year Marine Science and Science Communication student and has recently set up his own podcast sharing the positive stories of science.

“Dear Nature is essentially my love letters to the universe. There are so many interesting things that exist alongside us, and I want to share them with people. On the show we ask questions you would never really think to ask, like 'What has Halley's comet seen?', but I'm excited to get more creative with it- there are a lot of fun ideas in the works.”

Originally from Gore, Max says Science Communication is an important part of the future.

“We are all very quick to recognise there are problems in the world which we need to solve and I agree that's an area of importance. The thing I love about science comms is that there are some really amazing things happening in the science world that people would want to know about. We aren't necessarily taught those things in school, but science communication makes intriguing parts of the world around us more accessible to a wider audience.

“We've seen it with people like Ashley Bloomfield and others on TV during the COVID-19 outbreak – it's important in a world of misinformation to have people who can break it down. We are also having scientists learn about communications too which is great because they can then take their discoveries and directly share it with others, ensuring it doesn't get lost in translation. It's important work.”

Max was one student who attending the Science Academy programme in 2020 which he credits with making it clear he could study these particular subjects at Otago.

Science Academy is a programme for Year 13 students from schools across the country and provides an insight into campus life, a full week of science seminars and science communication workshops.

“I would absolutely encourage other students to do the science academy and in general to take opportunities when they present themselves. There are so many and you never know what you're going to find or who you're going to meet.”

This is the approach Max has taken with launching his podcast.

“If you want to do it, I think you should just try it. Even if you make a podcast or a video or something else creative and it doesn't go as you planned at least you've been true to yourself. As soon as you start making excuses like 'I'm too busy' you've gotten yourself to a point where it won't work anymore. You just need to trust yourself and go for it.”

Max has no shortage of excitement ahead of him with plans for further study and learning.

“I want to do some postgrad study for the same reason I like doing the podcasts, I love learning. I don't want to stop learning in a years' time. I look at what people like my favourite lecturer Rob Smith does, and what other researchers around the world are doing and I feel inspired.”

You can find Max's podcast Dear Nature on Spotify, Apple Music and other major streaming platforms.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser, Chelsea McRae

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