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Learning Digital Marketing for Science Communication

Hi! My name is Sachin Gauchan. I recently completed my Malaysia Marketing Internship for Conservation, where I have been learning digital marketing skills for science communication. Having completed my MSc at Imperial College London, I wanted to explore my career options in science research and communication. Also, I wanted to give myself time to decide whether a PhD is the right path for me.

Trust me, I have made so many bad decisions in my life, but this was not one of them. Living and working with like-minded people at incredibly stunning locations was definitely worth it!

Why did you choose the Malaysia Marketing Internship for Conservation?

I think that being able to write and communicate your understanding of the natural world through storytelling — which people can relate to — is key in science communication, especially at present. Perhaps, this is what motivated me to choose this internship.

Also, I wanted to learn about NGOs and how they operate. Since Ecoteer is a wholly self-funded conservation company, it gave me an insight into the company’s financial management, i.e., how Ecoteer projects are managed within the company.

What does a typical workday look like?

Three words: varied and flexible. For instance, I could be conducting background research for a whole day. While the next day, I could be writing content, designing web layout and templates, and reviewing texts and images on webpages.

While I was at project sites, my workday followed the project’s schedule. I would participate in different project activities, help out with field surveys and data collection, and even lead school groups. So, I was involved not only with conservation research but also with corporate volunteering events and visiting study groups.

Caving with volunteers at Merapoh

What were the most challenging aspects of the internship?

The amount of self-study and working on one’s initiative. My main task for the internship was to research and create accurate digital contents for each Ecoteer projects. I was slightly overwhelmed and lost at the start as I had no web-based experience or training. And it was a massive undertaking. But after completing formal digital training and discussing my personal goals with Barbara, my mentor, I gradually managed to resolve my incompetence.

Perhaps, now, I can genuinely say that my writing and WordPress skills are at a very good level as I managed to create several high-quality online stories about each Ecoteer projects.

What was the best part of the internship?

The best part of the internship was the chance to help out with field research on the Rhinoceros Hornbill. The project manager of the Malayan Rainforest Station invited me to get involved with field surveys and collect behavioural data on this large arboreal hornbill. It certainly was an unforgettable experience! Especially hearing the utterly loud flapping of the wings above the canopies after lying motionless for hours on end.

I was also impressed with the community focus of each project since the idea of social cohesion in conservation was somewhat new to me. Therefore, I think that this internship has broadened my view on conservation, from both wildlife and human perspective.

Would you recommend this marketing internship?

Yes, I would recommend this marketing internship. I believe this internship has opened my eyes to a wider range of career choices in conservation. It has also prepared me to explore the area for improvement in science communication. It has taught me digital marketing skills and also helped to improve my transferable and soft skills. Also, I had ample opportunities to practice my photography skills while at project sites.

Finally, the immersion in Malay culture was an amazing bonus, and I also explored Vietnam during my internship. All in all a very worthwhile experience! I am considering returning next year to check in on the Ecoteer team.

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