Tesla Monson“Communication of research to the public is one of the most important issues in science today.” So says Tesla Monson, a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology, where she she spends her days investigating the evolution of dental eruption patterns in mammals. In her free time, she is committed to science education and outreach, and is the host and producer of The Graduates, a science radio talk show that airs every other Tuesday 9:00 – 9:30 am on Cal’s own radio station, KALX 90.7.

“With important and sometimes controversial issues like evolution, climate change, education and conservation playing an important role in public policy, science funding, and our future on this planet, there is a real push to communicate what we do and why it’s important to people who may otherwise have little access to science and research. And that’s what The Graduates is all about,” Tesla explains.

Having been involved in independent college radio as an undergraduate at Princeton University, Tesla developed a love for world music and radio stations. Since joining KALX, she’s played music as a DJ, broadcast Cal sporting events, and interviewed celebrities and students alike. Though The Graduates had previously existed as a radio program, she retooled the interview format and concept, and brought the show back in April 2014.

Tesla says that working in radio has helped her own communication skills immensely, requiring her to listen and think simultaneously, develop rapport with her interviewees, and encourage first-timers to come out of their shells. She also has to work with students to break down any technical jargon into more accessible language for broader audiences. It benefits students to share their work with people outside of their field, “offering the opportunity to really talk about what they do, why they do it, and why they think it’s important.”

In her program, Tesla has tried to highlight a diverse range of research, conducting interviews with students from biomechanics, paleontology, music, and film and media, among others. She notes,

“It’s really exciting for me to hear about research taking place here on campus, and around the world, and to learn about the awesome things that my fellow doctoral students are accomplishing while gaining a better understanding of the diversity of experiences that bring students to UC Berkeley.”

  • Past episodes of The Graduates are free to listen and download on iTunes.
  • The Graduates is broadcast every other Tuesday at 9:00 am on KALX 90.7FM.
  • Do you know someone who would be a good interview for The Graduates? Recommend graduate students to come on the show by emailing thegraduates@berkeley.edu.

Categories: Headlines, May 2016, Student & Alumni Profiles
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