Science communication intern Nathan Mifsud compares his internship at Refraction Media to the process of refraction itself.

My brief but wonderful time as an editorial intern at Refraction Media is best captured by the eponymous scientific process. The one where light bends as it passes through a medium with different properties. You know, optical refraction! Okay, forgive me as I attempt to explain.

I’m the beam of light. Now, I don’t mean to deify myself – quite the opposite. I was a humble stream of photons, blithely propagating through space. However, as I neared the end of a science PhD, I found myself becoming interested in ways to directly engage with the public.

Then I collided with a triangular prism. (If you’re still catching up, that’s a reference to joining Refraction Media.) I was suddenly moving through a remarkably new medium. I’d shifted from the pure air of basic research to an exciting composite of publishing, science and educational outreach.

Just as white light disperses into a rainbow due to the different speeds of each constituent wavelength, my abilities were tested to varying degrees. I excelled in tasks like generating offbeat quiz questions or wrangling with the printer, but was happily challenged when I conducted lengthy interviews for the first time and wrote for a range of different audiences.

The small, close-knit team at Refraction Media could not have been a friendlier, sharper, or more supportive bunch. I had the privilege to participate in their production meetings from my first day. I was able to pursue my interests, familiarise myself with the suite of products they deftly coordinate, and learn about the digital nuts and bolts of a modern publishing enterprise.

At a point in history when STEM advocates are essential for progressing the national agenda and solving global issues, Refraction Media is performing important work to secure a new generation of scientists and engineers. For any prospective intern looking to assist, it’s a great place to get your finger on the pulse while enjoying the company of passionate, fun individuals.

But back to the analogy. Did my experience alter my career direction for good? It depends on the refractive index of the next phase I enter, of course – though I suspect the air will now be a little different on the other side.

– Nathan Mifsud


To find out more about becoming a science communication intern at Refraction Media, click here.