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nicole sharp

Science communicator, FYFD

 

And - Aerospace engineer

No one has the right to define who you are and what you are capable of - except you.

What do you do?

I split my time and activities into two main pursuits: writing articles and producing videos that explain fluid dynamics – the physics of everything that flows – to general audiences, and working with engineering students and researchers to improve their communication skills. On a daily basis, that means reading research papers, writing articles, producing videos and animations, giving talks, and leading workshops.

Why did you choose this field?

As a student, I was firmly committed to pursuing a major and career in aerospace engineering. But I’ve also always loved to write and to share my enthusiasm for science with others. When I discovered fluid dynamics in college, I was immediately hooked on this beautiful, fascinating subject that touches on nearly aspect of our lives. But as I continued to study it in graduate school, I became increasingly frustrated that so few people outside of engineering ever learned about fluid dynamics, so I began my blog, FYFD, with the goal of introducing the public to the world of fluid dynamics.

I never imagined when I did that FYFD’s audience would grow to more than 280,000 followers on social media, or that I would become better known in my academic field for science communication work than for my own original research!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I once had the honor of speaking at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for Women’s History month, and I doubt ten-year-old-me would have ever imagined doing such a thing. She would have thought it was unbelievably awesome, though – and it was!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love having the chance to constantly learn about how the world works. Every day brings new topics to learn about, and I’m always excited to learn and share with others.

Best advice for the next generation

No one has the right to define who you are and what you are capable of – except you. That means you can be your greatest advocate or your own worst enemy. You’ll get farther with the former, though!

Fun fact 

In graduate school, I split my time between my degree, writing FYFD, and racing bicycles for my university’s cycling team.