FameLab Hall of Fame

Sheetal Silal

FameLab SA 2017 Runner Up

What are you currently doing (studies/work)?

I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Statistical Sciences, at the University of Cape Town. I also hold an Honorary Visiting Research fellowship in Tropical Disease Modelling at the University of Oxford and am the head of a research group in Infectious Disease modelling at UCT.

What drove you to enter FameLab?

I have always enjoyed public speaking and, as a lecturer I do it for a living, but I was drawn to FameLab because I find the idea of communicating science to the public intriguing. I do not believe that scientists need to “dumb down” their work for the public, but rather that they need to learn to relay their work lucidly. 

How did you find your FameLab experience? What still stands out today?

What still resonates with me about Famelab is the need to slow your mind down and think carefully on how to explain concepts in a way that all can understand. I think it’s made be a better lecturer. 

How did your perceptions about science communication and public engagement with science change through participating in FameLab?

Participating in FameLab increased my awareness of the need for more and better science communication. Since FameLab I’ve personally participated in communication activities to bring my research into the public domain. 

Did FameLab impact you in any other way?

Famelab taught me the importance of being a good public speaker, something I had taken for granted in the past. Now it’s a skill I teach to my Masters and PhD students and it helps them disentangle and better communicate their research.

What would you say to young scientists thinking about taking part in FameLab?

 I would say that they should “go for it”. Better communication will make them better scientists, and the world deserves to know the fantastic research they’re doing.