My name is Wajih Chaudhry, and this is my portfolio.
Here is some basic information about me.
- My name means graceful in my native language.
- I was born in the same village as the first Pakistani Nobel laureate; But, I grew up in the United States in the Midwest and South.
- I grew up in uneducated environments, which has deeply shaped how I view communication. Basically, I try to keep a practical spin on everything that I learn.
- I currently Stanford University on a full-ride scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; I am majoring in history with the eventual plan to go to graduate school for neuroscience or medical school for neurosurgery.
- And, when I am not pondering the big questions or tinkering with ways to optimize my life, I can be found drawing, rock-climbing, and farming ~
This website is my electronic portfolio for the Notation in Science Communication (NSC) Program.
The NSC Program was developed at Stanford University with the purpose of helping scientists become better communicators to promote innovation and collaboration in academia.
I first got into the program when I noticed that science papers were extremely difficult to read. It would take me hours to read a simple neuroscience paper! But, I noticed that certain scientists like David Eagleman (neuroscientist) or Robert Sapolsky (primatologist) were able to explain these advanced topics with ease and simplicity. For example, Sapolsky could easily explain how baboons low on the social ladder experienced elevated stress hormone release, reflecting similar parallels to humans low on the social ladder. Though Sapolsky was taking complex measurements in the field, he kept the facts clear!
I had to learn how to better communicate science.
At the start of my journey, I was a real beginner. If you saw my scientific papers, they were all about decorum, claims, and a ton of confusing details. There was no emotion or simplicity. I thought fancy words equaled competence. But, I eventually learned what to do, and my scientific identity started to change. Science does not have to be a dusty tome on a bookshelf. It can be dynamic, and simple enough to serve the communities that need the most help. I hope this portfolio conveys my experiences in a variety of scientific domains as I grow from a novice into a professional communicator.
Additionally, science communication is not just limited to me. I also found that many of my relatives and people that I served in non-profit spaces have had strong skepticisms toward science and academic institutions. In a way, science prevents medical patients from getting better, because it hides essential information behind abstract terminology. I’ve personally seen my own mother deny neuroscience for idealistic concepts of a soul, seeing science as a tool for institutional propaganda. If she had been exposed to clearer science, she might have had different ideas about the brain. Science communication really matters!
Finally on a visual note, you will notice the images of neurons throughout the page. This is a intentional design choice to show my unique journey. While I do not think I jumped massive skill levels, I did acquire skills through every artifact. By the end of my journey, I had collected enough skills to have a complete set – similar to how a bunch of individual neurons slowly add up to create a beautiful, functional brain.
Please use the “previous” tab below to go to the next topic based on chronological number; there is no way to change this feature thanks to the WordPress Corporation’s desire to hide features behind paywalls – hopefully this does not take away from the portfolio experience.