An interview with the Science Slam winner 2018

Tanja van Alphen from the Institute for Chemistry delighted the audience of the Science Slam 2018 with her contribution "Isolation and characterization of natural products for medical reserach."

We asked her about her impressions and tips for future candidates.

What motivated you to partcipate at the Science Slam?

„On the one hand, the new challenge the Science Slam offers, on the other hand the  „PePPP Project“ I collaborate on. There we already had a Science Slam workshop which was a lot of fun for me. My supervising professor Prof. Dr. Udo Kragl drew my attention to the Science Slam of the Graduate Academy and motivated me to participate.”

How would you describe your topic in 3 sentences?

„Within the context of the PePP-Project, scientists of the University of Rostock studied components of plants, especially sea buckthorn, which can be used against diseases of liver and pancreas (Pressemeldung). This includes the extraction and analysis of the ingredients. At the Science Slam, I depicted the procedure in a cartoon film.”

How was the feeling to stand on stage?

“I was very nervous. Usually, I need some time before I talk fluently. For the Science Slam you only have 3 minutes, that´s why such a preparation is not possible.”

How did you prepare for the Science Slam and what were the greatest challenges?

"In preparation, I used the workshops of the Graduate Academy right before the Slam and the one of my project. You have to deal with yourself and your style of presentation. It is not easy to judge and analyze yourself. That was a big challenge for me. However, in my opinion, you can only develop further if you are self-critical from time to time. The workshops were a great help.”

The 3 most important characteristics to win the Science Slam are…

" ...Creativity, Self-confidence and Openness to the medium/format"

What tips do you have for future participants?

„It is very important to be open to the format of the event. The type of scientific communication as well as the audience of the Science Slam are not comparable with scientific conferences. During a Science Slam, I try to fill an interested but non-specialist audience with enthusiasm for my research. Abstraction is thus very important. One has to be creative, overcome personal limitations and leave the comfort zone.”

How did your family and friends react to your participation and your victory in the Science Slam?

"As a support, I had some colleagues with me I look at during the Slam. That cheered my up. Some never heard of a Science Slam before until I explained it to them. The reaction were positive without exception. Everybody was happy about my win, my colleagues in the working group, too."

You should participate at the Science Slam if…

"…you like to try new things and be creative and if you have fun to delight a broad audience with your research.“

Do you have plans for the future?

"At first, I want to finish my master´s degree in chemistry.“

Thank you for the chat!

We wish you good luck for your future plans!

Have you become curious how you could present your research in a creative way to an interested audience outside your field? Accept the challenge and register here for the Science Slam 2019!