AstroComms aims to leverage Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives for the betterment of society. The company was founded by Dr. Tana Joseph in 2018.
While Dr. Joseph initially founded AstroComms to share her growing knowledge of science communication, especially in her specialty field, astronomy, she always expected it to become something more than a science communications consulting company. “What I wanted to do was not just science communication but to help people in STEM communicate the best they can, whatever the case may be,” she remembers.
Since its founding, AstroComms has evolved to encompass a broader lens, one that leverages science communication for social justice. The murder of George Floyd in Summer 2020 galvanized what had already been a personal passion for furthering anti-racism and inclusion in the sciences. Dr. Joseph was inspired to use the platform she’d created with AstroComms and elevate its services to include anti-racism workshops and tools to help scientists and organizations further Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
In the end, AstroComms’ mission and services come down to Dr. Joseph’s own core values. Her future vision is to expand AstroComms’ reach beyond astronomy and beyond geographical borders. Ultimately, she hopes to work with universities that are minority-serving in the U.S., including historically Black institutions, to advance scientific communications projects especially in non-English native languages.
“Science is for everyone. I want to change science and academia to a place where everyone – if they want to contribute – can be valued and can thrive,” she says. “No matter how you got into science or which identities you embody, you can be a scientist. When you make contributions, you can be celebrated, acknowledged and feel safe and at home.”
AstroComms’ mission and services come down to Dr. Joseph’s own core values.
Meet Dr. Tana Joseph
Dr. Tana Joseph is a leading astronomy researcher with a passion for using science communication to create a unified sense of belonging in STEM. She is the founder and CEO of AstroComms and splits her time between her work for the company, her research, and her role as the Equity and Inclusion Officer for all of Dutch Astronomy, through which she advances policy and social justice for the global astronomy community.
As founder and Director of AstroComms, Dr. Joseph supportsnumerous scientific communications projects and delivers talks on science and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and how they intersect. Her speaking appearances have included several high-profile science festivals, including Science Live! and the Bluedot Festival in the UK. In November 2021, she spoke to PBS Nova about the Big Bang for an episode of NOVA Universe Revealed.
Dr. Joseph earned an undergraduate degree in Physics and an M.Sc. in Astronomy from the University of Cape Town, and a Ph.D. in High Energy Astrophysics from the University of Southampton. Before founding AstroComms, she worked at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) as the Outreach Astronomer and postdoctoral research fellow, where her role included public engagement, science communication and media liaison on astronomy and related topics. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2017 and continued her research at the Physics and Astronomy Department at Texas Tech University. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Joseph received a Royal Society Newton International Fellowship to further her research into the study of black hole and neutron star binary systems at the University of Manchester, where she is currently based. She also has experience as a data analyst working at Stemettes, an organization to support young women and non-binary people in STEM.
Dr. Joseph is continually seeking out new opportunities to advocate for diversity, inclusion and decolonization efforts in astronomy and science.
Meet Tadiwa Michelle Nyamazana
Tadiwa is an industrious STEM associate specialising in Biotechnology and Online Business Management. She shares in Dr. Tana’s vision of promoting science communication for professional and social development. Her own experiences are a testament to its value in building a dynamic career within the science community and across other sectors.
As AstroComms Digital Media Manager, she works directly with Dr. Tana, providing support in the company’s day-to-day operations, primarily regarding marketing, website management, and scheduling. She also provides advisory services to diversify AstroComm’s client portfolio and social reach within all STEM fields. She has a unique career background that encompasses clinical biochemistry, project management, quality assurance, education, as well as research and writing. This experience and skill set allows her to provide constructive insights that aid in developing AstroComms communication and social justice resources for STEM professionals.
Akin to Dr. Tana, Tadiwa is a fellow University of Cape Town alumnus. She earned her Bachelor’s in Genetics, Microbiology and Biochemistry. Later on, she attained her Master’s in Biotechnology from the University of Zimbabwe.
Tadiwa is also actively developing her own passion projects and technological skills. Currently, she is focused on, designing a renewable energy system based on compressed biogas, that aims to provide clean and cheap energy in impoverished communities. She also nurtures her software engineering skills to expand her digital services repertoire.
Tadiwa is adept at working in diverse environments, having worked and studied in various countries and institutions, including the National Health Services (NHS) of England and associations with global STEM start-ups. She is thrilled to be part of the Astrocomms team. She believes its services are essential to the STEM community and have been a ‘missing puzzle piece’ for far too long.