Medical Science Educator | Science Communicator |


Kendra H. Oliver, Ph.D.

It is critical that we find new strategies to communicate, engage, and include the public in scientific exploration. By embracing digital technologies and using online learning and visualization methods, I am exploring visual science communication to support digital education and science communication approaches. Although classically trained as a research scientist in pharmacology, I consider myself a science education and communication designer with skills ranging from project management, pedagogical approaches to online learning, video production, instructional design, and web design. As an active multi-disciplinary team member, I am interested in developing and utilizing these skills to produce science marketing, communication, outreach, and engagement strategies, particularly those at the intersection of art and science. 

I use evidence-based approaches to develop online courses. My experience in education began in graduate school where I participated in the Certificate in College Teaching the Blended Online Learning and Design program offered by the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University. After completing my graduate work in pharmacology, I began my post-doctoral studies with Dr. Billy G. Hudson in association with Aspirnaut(TM). Aspirnaut(TM) started with “WiFi” school buses, expanded to “beaming” of weekly STEM labs to elementary and middle schools in rural America, and is currently the flagship summer research internships for high school and undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Utilizing this background in education, I am currently assisting in the development of a transinstitutional framework to support digital resources development. The primary goal of this effort is to develop online novel programs and courses in drug discovery, a leading discipline at Vanderbilt University. This effort has culminated in the development of Drug Discovery Online (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/drugdiscovery/about/) to assist Faculty with instructional design, video and audio editing services, website design, and course assessment strategies. 

Beyond formal training environments I am particularly passionate about informal education approaches and have spearheaded new programs that allow students to explore creative outlets for expressing their scientific knowledge and cross-disciplinary interests. In 2017, I created a program at Vanderbilt University called ArtLab (https://artlabvanderbilt.com). ArtLab stemmed from a desire to better understand the seemingly inherent resemblances within the arts and sciences. As an artist, I have naturally gravitated to visual approaches to enrich my science and sought to better understand this practice. ArtLab aims to connect artists and scientists to ignite dialogue on a variety of societal issues from infection and addiction to bias and racism. ArtLab students merge experience in scientific setting with artistic exploration.