Outstanding Senior Kecil John Strives to Inform the Public about Science

Kecil John standing on a rock formationRecent graduate, Kecil John, was one of three students selected for the 2017 Outstanding Academic Achievement & Promise in Zoology Award from the Department of Integrative Biology. This Ann Arbor native received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Minor in Public Relations, and was a member of MSU's Honors College. Kecil was also awarded the Dr. Marvin Hensley Endowed Scholarship Fund in Zoology and was selected as an Outstanding Senior by the University.

Kecil developed a clear career vision early on in her undergraduate studies - communicating science to the general public. She is incredibility passionate about educating, raising awareness, and instilling wonder about science to members of our society. As a Zoology major, Kecil strategically selected supplemental coursework (e.g., grant writing, fundraising, communications, and web design) and experiential opportunities to develop a well-rounded, desirable skill set.

For the past several years, Kecil has enthusiastically helped with the Department of Integrative Biology's communications. She was instrumental in launching Integrative Biology's social media presence. This social media presence has dramatically increased the audience viewing our Department news stories and given the Department more publicity. She went out of her way to investigate tools for efficient social media workflow and has developed Department-related social media posts. Kecil has also written numerous, outstanding Integrative Biology stories that have been published on the Department website and social media. Additionally, she also honed her skills in media relations and Adobe Creative Suite as an intern at Kolt Communications, a local public relations firm.

Kecil hasn't just focused on developing her communication skills while at MSU. In addition to her Zoology coursework, Kecil has been a professorial assistant in the MSU Hyena Lab since August 2014. This opportunity has given her a first-hand opportunity to learn the interworking's of science and scientific jargon, so she can more effectively interpret scientific findings, simplify the jargon, and communicate them to non-science audiences in her future career. Kecil eloquently pointed out, "My training in a research lab has taught me about the difficult and important work of research scientists, while my time at a nonprofit has given me insight on how to plan educational programming and work with boards."

Kecil will be joining the Holekamp Lab in the Maasai Mara of Kenya this summer for a year of fieldwork. She will be studying the behavior of spotted hyenas, Crocuta crocuta. When she returns, Kecil hopes to enroll in graduate school to study the interaction between science and communication.