Day job: University of Wyoming. Professor of Practice, Department of Zoology & Physiology. Director, UW Science Communication Initiative. Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Initiatives.
Nerdery: sketching for scientists, integrating Writing Studies into academic writing instruction, policies & procedures that make organizations run better, to-the-minute facilitation planning, transdisciplinary mash-ups
Unplugging: Gardening, hiking with my dog, reading, writing poetry, ceramics, cooking, sketching
Hi! I'm Bethann Garramon Merkle, MFA - an award-winning science communicator and scicomm researcher committed to institution-level social change.
Yes. I still believe change is possible.
I'm all about nitty-gritty shifts in how we work and communicate that can have tangible, positive impacts on what people learn, experience, and believe they can do to make the world a better place.
I'm also a first-generation student and first-gen academic, my former lives were way outside academia, and I'm part of the rapidly growing, contingent faculty demographic in the U.S. I was also a cultural and linguistic minority/immigrant in French Canada for four years. So - I have models for how change can and does happen collectively. And, I'm committed to demystifying academia's hidden curriculum and counteracting academia’s culture of toxic overwork and elitism.
In all my work, I strive to make science and science-allied careers more inclusive and equitable, especially as these relate to public engagement and science communication.
We have amazing resources in the academy compared to the nonprofit and community development sectors I've worked in previously. Through my work now, I aim to share these resources widely.
I do this work in a lot of ways: researching whether this kind of work even works; teaching students to believe that change is possible and how they can make the world a better place; and collaborating to design training and accountability mechanisms that help professionals in public, private, government, nonprofit and academic sectors make the institutional change that supports the social change we're all working toward.
Research, consulting & facilitation for social change through better communication
Scheduled programs in graduate-level writing, SciComm career transitions, etc., plus coaching & invited talks and trainings
Peer-reviewed & popular publications in outlets including American Scientist, Ecology & Society, Nature, and more