Xinyu (Cindy) Li*


Ph.D., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine (Expected 2023)
B.S., Biology, Duke University (2018)


Long-term recovery of plant-pollinator communities after wildfire disturbances


Xinyu (Cindy) grew up in the great middle-earth islands of New Zealand, and is proud to call it home. She completed her undergrad on the other side of the world at Duke University, where she metamorphosed from an insect fearer to an insect lover. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Irvine's Campbell lab, looking at how plants and their pollinators recover after disturbances such as wildfires. In her free time, Cindy spends her time singing, doodling, and waiting for the next volume of The Book of Dust.

Why is science communication important to you personally?

I used to think that science communication is far, far removed from storytelling. Science is fact. It is non-fiction. Therefore it cannot be a story. I don't think that I am wrong in saying that this line of thought is shared by a big part of the scientific community. I was afraid that if I don't present my work in a formal, serious way, others might think my work is unscientific, unimportant. But maybe it is because of this fear of telling science through stories, that there is a widening gulf between those in the sciences and everyone else, where the message isn't getting across. Then the science isn't being applied in policy, in people's lives, in a time when we need it more than ever.

There is a quote from my favourite book series: "Tell them stories. They need the truth. You must tell them true stories, and everything will be well..." We love stories. We remember them, and tell them to others, allowing some stories to be passed on for millennia. I want to tell the true stories of science to people, in a way that everyone will be able to listen, to understand, and retell to each other so that we may use science together to better the future.

*Managing editor term


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