Last night I attended a great biotech mixer organized by a local group named Triad Biotech Alliance. I had a great time and met patent lawyers, various TBA members & founders, local researchers, bioinformaticians and entrepreneurs. I even met someone who grew up in the same area as me & worked about 5 minutes from my childhood home – as they say ‘small world’, considering I am 500+ miles from there now. The organizers always pick a cool local restaurant/bar & aim at keeping it casual and fun – they’ve succeeded at all the ones I’ve attended. If any of you are in the North Carolina Triad area, I strongly suggest you check them out & attend their events – I’ll probably see you there!
Having a chance to interact with such a diverse crowd, but with everyone sharing an interest in promoting the local biotechnology sector, is very cool. Getting away from my keyboard and exchanging ideas with others is such a good way to blow the cobwebs out of my mind and get refreshed on what I am doing. So many people described the interesting work they were doing, and genuinely seemed interested in the interesting work that we are doing at OpenHelix – it was energizing.
This morning I’ve been thinking about my event, and of other events & opportunities that we’ve blogged about in the past. My networking event reminded me of the ‘Secret Science Club‘ at Union Hall in New York that I posted on. And Mary’s recent post on scientists directly reaching out to teachers and kids to improve science education. Then there’s Cyndy’s guest post suggesting scientists have a responsibility to help inform the public in ways that help them, including shedding light on the science behind ‘new technologies’ to enable them to judge merit for themselves and become more informed consumers. Each of these are examples of ways that scientists can reach out into their community, become active, and help dispel the archaic ‘old white men in ivory towers’ image of science that has prevailed in the past. I say, get out there and get active in your community (if you aren’t already), and if you are active, let us know what opportunities to reach out that you believe in, and would like to share.
I’ll get down from my soap box now – I need another cup of coffee anyway.