At PubhD Coimbra, science reaches "the places where people are", which is "very appealing"

"The elephant in the room: the stigma associated with mental illness" was Carolina Cabaços' topic. The PhD student in Health Sciences was a speaker at the January 2023 session of PubhD Coimbra.

01 february, 2023≈ 4 min read

Why did you decide to participate in PubhD Coimbra?
This area of science communication for the general public, for the community, for lay people that do not belong to the scientific community, has always interested me a lot. I often feel that science is very restricted to a certain group, to people who, because they know the channels where scientific articles are searched, go there, they already have that interest from the start. But this idea of science reaching people's homes, the places where people are, the cafés, the street, is really appealing to me and it's something I want to bet on in my future. I had already participated in Soapbox Science Coimbra, an experience I loved, and when I heard about PubhD Coimbra, it really motivated me. Even because it's at Liquidâmbar, a space that I also frequent due to its connection to culture and the community. I thought it had everything to do with me and it could be an opportunity for other people to become more sensitive to my subject, the stigma associated with mental illness, and perhaps even want to get involved as a sample, for example.

How was your experience in this edition of PubhD Coimbra?
I really enjoyed it. I didn't expect the house to be so full - there were a lot of people, people of different ages, nationalities and social, cultural and scientific backgrounds. And each person can look at this issue, indeed at any scientific issue, from their personal perspective, in the light of their beliefs, their experience and their professional context. A biologist would look at the issue of stigma in a different way than someone from anthropology or someone from neuroscience. And that to me, is very interesting and was very much reflected in the amount of questions I was asked and the attention they paid to what I was saying. As it wasn't a lecture, people were more attentive, they came because they wanted to. And I really liked the organisation. And I'd like to take part again, in a future edition.

Would you advise other colleagues to participate?
Strongly. We often share our science with very restricted audiences. In our doctorates we end up talking a lot with people who belong to our laboratory, to our environment, academy, hospital, in my case. And we end up neglecting this part of communicating with people who have nothing to do with us. Sometimes, at a Sunday lunch table, our family asks us what we are doing in our PhD and we find it difficult to explain, to adapt our language and speech. And this opportunity to communicate our science, because science serves ultimately to change the world, is an incredible opportunity, and I would advise everyone to do that.