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MSc student in zoology off to London to study science communication
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 20/04/2020

​An MSc student in zoology at Stellenbosch University, Celeste de Kock, has been accepted for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College, currently rated as one of the top ten universities in the world.

The MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College was introduced in 1991, and accepts only 45-50 students per year.

De Kock says she originally planned to study visual arts, but changed her mind in Grade 11 after an introduction to botany and zoology during a Maties Science Winter Week: “I have always had a love for nature and especially the classification of plants and animals, and the beauty of form and function. So when they took us into the Natural Sciences Building during the Science Winterweek, I became so excited I just knew this was what I wanted to do."

However, during her studies she realised that there was little opportunity for creative expression: “I have always been interested in a wide range of topics, and am always looking for ways to combine science and the visual arts. But there is often little scope for creativity in science, and because of the academic culture of publishing in scholarly journals, most of the science is lost to the public. The purpose of science is to ultimately deepen our understanding of the world around us and, where relevant, to use it as a tool to improve our lives. I believe that this knowledge should be accessible and understandable to all.

“Art can be used to bridge the gap between the public and raw science. Showcasing and explaining amazing science with eye-catching visuals, through videos, infographics and exhibitions, often makes more of an impact when compared to the written or spoken word," she adds.

The one-year full-time course offers a balance between theoretical and practical modules, combined with an internship. De Kock says she is especially excited about the internship opportunities provided by the course, which includes partners such as New Scientist, Nature and the Science Museum, London.

For now she is applying for funding to support her studies at Imperial College, and hopefully she will be able to join the class in person, starting 1 October 2020.

De Kock says more BSc-students should consider science communication as a career: “Do not assume that a career in the natural sciences is limited to research only. Science communication offers a creative, interdisciplinary career outside academia and offers so many options in television, radio, journalism, museums, digital media and policymaking," she concludes.