The path to a career that combines the arts and sciences is not always straightforward, nor the multiple credentials that are often required to be successful. For Professional Sequence in Technical Communication graduate Dianna Bautista, it was during her final year of studying biochemistry and cell biology abroad that she realized she wanted to pursue her love of teaching and communications to complement her science education.
"Research alone wouldn't have been fulfilling for me," she explains. "But I really like teaching science and communications; I also wanted to do science writing. I knew I would need an introduction rather than go straight into teaching from a science background. UC Berkeley Extension's technical communication program really stood out to me."
Once enrolled, Bautista was impressed with the universality of what she was learning. "Technical communication is applicable pretty much everywhere, and the classes got me to look more closely at the way, for example, a basic poster is written," she explains. "The focus on the audience was something that really struck me."
Learning to organize information visually was also key: "In the Technical Communication II course, I made mini-posters to explain scientific concepts visually, to make them easier to understand than a whole block of complicated text, and I really liked that. The in-class activities and partner-editing allowed me to see a lot of things that I didn't see previously. Even in editing, people have different styles."
She found the instructors very approachable, and still keeps in touch with her instructors and classmates via LinkedIn. "The class had a wide range of people coming in at different stages in their career," she recalls. "It was nice to feel like we were all starting on the same level."
Completing the program has proven to be a key stepping stone for Bautista, and she continues to take classes with Extension. Recently accepted to a master's program at the University of Queensland, she has just completed Extension's human physiology course and is currently studying nutrition, all while working part-time at Profile Genomics in Alameda and running her blog, "Scientific Musings."
"My dream is to be a museum curator at a science museum like the Exploratorium, so I plan to complete a second master's or a Ph.D. in museum studies and science communication," she says. "I want to pursue a career that would allow me to combine the visual arts with science and create tools to help people learn."