Open Science Cafe

Written by on June 5, 2014

Open Science Cafe: First year launch

I’ve been reflecting on the inaugural Open Science Cafe. In case you missed it, Ali Albiani, a soon-to-be-graduate in art and design, developed an interactive event that featured Steve Duenes, graphics director at The New York Times: “How to use data and design to tell stories” on May 9, 2014. It was a big hit!

In addition to working closely with me and others at Kennedy Library, Ali continued a close collaboration with Charmaine Martinez, an associate professor in art and design, who was a key connector in getting Steve to Cal Poly. Here is more about Ali’s experience:

What skills did you learn through your experience with Open Science Cafe?
Overall, interpersonal, oral communication/presentation, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills…

How will you apply the skills you learned?
After graduation, I will be interning with Evernote. I plan to apply my event management, communication leadership, and networking skills in the future creative meetings I have with them. These are valuable skills I will carry with me throughout my life and I can only continue to build upon them.

Why did you apply to Open Science Cafe?
Open Science Café caught my attention because initially I was looking for a way my club, AIGA, could host Steve Duenes from New York. We are student-run and did not have sufficient funding/sponsorship. This opportunity came along at the perfect time and after looking into Steve’s career trajectory, I was determined to share his diverse ‘learn by doing’ background with the Cal Poly community. Additionally, I attended a couple past Cal Poly Science Café events, including Japanese book binding with my sister. The interactive section was what I remember the most! It is a key factor in what makes Open Science Café unique.

What advice would you give future applicants or winners?
Persistence and passion is key! Steve Duenes is someone I truly desired to share with the Cal Poly community and to this day I still can’t believe it happened! Staying organized, taking notes, scheduling/prioritizing, as well as collaborating well with others is also very important. Karen is a great mentor and future applicants are lucky to work with her! Other random advice, practice, practice, practice your intro speech / interview questions for your speaker. I am thankful I did because on the day of the event I felt confident even though my nerves were going insane!

In what way was Open Science Café useful to you?
It is an event I can talk about with other professionals, and it built more of my network with others. It taught me more about myself and furthered my event management, leadership, and communication skills. It was an empowering experience and makes me look forward to events I can part take in and plan for the future!

What was the impact of your participation in Open Science Café?
An array of professors, faculty, and students were truly inspired and thankful a person like Steve Duenes came to speak at Cal Poly. Many told me how personable, connected and engaging Steve was. They look forward to future Open Science Café events and some who attended may apply for this opportunity next year! Steve was impressed with the turn out and enjoyed sharing his background with the Cal Poly community.

In one word, how would you describe your experience in Open Science Café?
Once-in-a-lifetime or worthwhile, gratifying, rewarding —It’s more like a feeling—I can’t describe the impact it will always have on me, but it is something that has inspired me to continue striving to influence, lead and teach others.

Read more about Open Science Cafe, a student leadership opportunity at Kennedy Library. Applications will be accepted Fall 2014.

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