Jonathan Cooke

Current role: Communications Officer, Academy of Medical Science

Jonathan Cooke Science CommunicationIt was during his undergraduate studies here at Sheffield that Jonathan realised that his passion sat within science communication and communicating to those who can bring about direct change in scientific research. Jonathan now works for the Academy of Medical Science, engaging the wider public in the academy's engagement activities.

“As I studied my undergraduate degree in Zoology (also at the University of Sheffield) I found myself becoming more interested in a life outside of the lab than in it. Coupled with my passion for theatre and performance I regularly searched for opportunities to discuss science in non-laboratory conditions.

“This led me to choosing modules in my second and third years which steered me more towards the outreach side of the department than towards the research aspect. Luckily, several opportunities offered themselves to me during my undergraduate degree. Working with Dr. Nicola Hemmings on ‘Dinosaurs are Dynamite’ in my second year gave me a great opportunity to explore my new-found passion and whether it was for me.

“Luckily for me, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and this led me to the MSc Course offered here at the University. Whilst I looked at other universities Sheffield’s course promised more practical opportunities to communicate alongside allowing me to remain within the city I had grown to love. Throughout my MSc I conducted outreach both as part of the curriculum and under my own steam.

“Working with local radio stations and student radio to produce science-related content as well as getting stuck in with projects at ‘Discovery Night’ gave me training across a range of different Sci-Comm fields. From this outreach I realised that I wanted to get stuck into policy-setting and communicating to those who can bring about direct change (i.e. politicians) to the importance of scientific research and discovery.

"This led me to working at the Academy of Medical Sciences as a Communications Officer. In my job, I am responsible for the engagement of both our fellowship and the wider public in the academy's engagement activities. This can range from attending conferences and festivals dedicated to science to running workshops about the latest in medical science breakthroughs.

“Sheffield offered me a range of opportunities to indulge my passions and decide for myself what I wanted to do with my future in science. Though I do intend to return to academia eventually to pursue either entomology or parasitology the dream is of course to work for the Natural History Museum. With the training I received in Sheffield I now believe that goal to be more than possible.”