Our fourth cohort of postgraduate students in the Science in Society programme recently celebrated their graduation. This brings the total number of students who have completed our postgraduate taught programmes to 35: 30 have graduated with a Master of Science in Society (MScSoc), two have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Science in Society, and three have transferred to a MSc (two of whom have subsequently started a PhD).
As ever, we’re extremely proud of, and impressed by, these students and want to share the breadth of topics and media that they chose to explore.
Essays and long-form writing
The students started their science in society careers by engaging with and writing critically about a wide range of interesting and important topics. Using the lens of critical science studies, feminist theories, queer studies, and Science and Technology Studies, the students produced essays that were not only enriching to read but allowed them to explore new terrains of academic research and writing.
The range of writing from SCIS 412 (Contemporary Issues in Science, Environment and Technology) included: Neanderthal Transformations: How Race Science Informed Interpretations of Homo Neanderthals Bones; Women, Computing, and the History of Gender Exclusion; Darwinian Medicine Implementation in New Zealand’s Medical Schools: Yay or Nay?; Feminist Technoscience in the Context of Chinese Society; Survival of the Queerest: Exploring a Practical Queer Ecology; Climate and Mind: Mapping the Relationship Between Art, Climate Change and Psychology.
In addition, students in SCIS 414 (Science and the Humanities) wrote essays about film and TV – including two on the films of Hayao Miyazaki – about geoengineering and computer games, disability and genetic engineering.
In their second trimester, all students also completed an in-depth research essay. Topics included disinformation, farmers’ relationships to climate change, psychiatric diagnoses, and the science of sex and trans politics.
Our Science Communication courses (SCIS 410 and SCIS 589) give students an opportunity to develop creative projects that interrogate the relationship between science and society, or explore an idea for science communication. This included a range of videos designed for YouTube and TikTok, visual digital short stories, a magazine article, a teaching guide, mock websites and blogs and a comic with beautiful artwork.
A wide range of creative projects were also produced by students in SCIS 414 (Science and the Humanities). From a piece of conservation-themed wearable art based on a korowai pattern to a matched algorithmically composed musical score and visualisation, from a piece of embroidery modelled on chromosome imagery using the student’s hair – with accompanying poem – to a wide range of painting, collage, zine, writing and manga art projects, these works were always surprising, novel responses to the scientific and technical issues that we chose as provocations: environmental change, digital technology and genetics.
In the final trimester of the MScSoc, students can choose whether to complete a Research Project or a Placement and Project. For a full list of placements that we’ve had, and to learn more about the placement programme, please visit the placement information page.
The six placements in 2021 were at Forest and Bird, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Science Media Centre, the Research Office at Te Herenga Waka + Wellington UniVentures —Te Paewai; with two students at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. In one very lovely twist, a former MScSoc student (2019–20) was a supervisor for the course this year!
This was a wonderfully rewarding end to the programme, with all students receiving stellar feedback from their host organisations.
We wish all our students well in this next stage of their careers, and strongly encourage anyone seeking talented, friendly and independent colleagues to look out for our graduates…!