Pride and Prejudice and podcasts

Published Wednesday, 9th May 2018 in Staff news

Steph Smith Podcast
Steph Smith tries out her new-found mic skills

A stately home featured in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice provided a stunning setting for an SRUC researcher to make her podcast debut.

Steph Smith, a post-doc from Professor Eileen Wall’s group, attended the Genetics Society’s three-day workshop in the picturesque surroundings of Chichley hall near Milton Keynes.

Hosted by the Genetics society and attended by ‘The Naked Scientists’ (whose programmes have been downloaded more than 50 million times over the last five years) the Communicating Your Science course demonstrated how the importance of a well-structured story applies not only to Netflix dramas but also to scientific papers, presentations and press releases.

During a section of the course taken by comedian Helen Keen, Steph and her fellow geneticists were even asked to take to the mic and present five minutes of stand-up comedy related to their work.

“This was exceptionally daunting but turned out to be surprisingly okay,” said Steph. “Having worked on various species’ reproductive tendencies, sperm competition and the benefits of artificial insemination for most of my career, finding material wasn’t too difficult!”

While Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen famously referred to “universally acknowledged truths”, Steph used her new-found communications skills to talk about the universal challenges of food production in a 15-minute podcast.

Steph said: “This was an exciting, intense and thought-provoking task where we learned the mechanics behind creating a radio programme. With a mix of backgrounds in our team of agricultural genetics (me), cancer genetics and computer modelling, we converged on a theme of what the world will look like in 2050, primarily with regards to health and diet. It also gave me an opportunity to talk about our aim to create the ‘perfect dairy cow’ using data from the Langhill herd. I can’t recommend the course enough.”

To listen to Steph’s podcast, click here.

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