In your life as a student or as a researcher, you may hear discouraging voices telling you you’re not good enough, not intelligent enough, or even not man enough for the task or project at hand. In today’s episode, we’re talking with Cindy Hovington, founder of, about why it is important to distance yourself from these opinions, to listen to your own inner voice and your own will, but also to take in account input coming from people who have more than a unidimensional impression of your personality and your abilities.

Cindy did her Ph.D. in neuroscience at McGill University, in Montreal, where she focused on the cognitive and emotional difficulties experienced in people with psychosis. She volunteered with a program called BrainReach at McGill and this how she came to love knowledge translation. She then decided to pursue a postdoc in education and studied the impact of knowledge translation in the community. In parallel, she launched her company – Curious Neuron – a resource for parents and caregivers that provides science-backed info about child development and education where she has been able to merge both of her fields of study.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How teaching and popularizing science to a lay audience can help you get a better grasp and tell a better story of your research subject
  • How a PhD or a postdoc allows you to develop the skills you need for your life projects, even if they fall outside of the academic realm
  • The important role volunteering can play opening different professional vistas for you during grad school
  • Transferrable skills you develop during a PhD
  • The part perseverance and resilience play in obtaining a doctoral degree and the reality of a multifaceted intelligence
  • Why it is crucial to encourage girls to go into STEM domains, if that’s where their interests lay

This episode’s pearls of wisdom:

“As grad students, we have a lot of presentations, but they are presentations that we give to other grad students, and researchers. But it was so different to be in the classroom and communicate what a neuron is to a child who is in grade 3. So when I was doing that as a volunteer, that’s when it hits you: if I don’t know what I’m talking about, if I don’t know what a neuron is or how it communicates with other neurons, I can’t talk about it to an 8 year-old or a 9 year-old. So, if you can explain something to a 9 year-old, you really understand what you’re doing.”

“Don’t be afraid to merge different fields.”

“After finishing, I really changed in terms of my internal talk, you know – that negative internal self-talk became ‘I can do anything I want’. Anything you want is at your grasp – you could just get it as long as you work for it.”

Cindy’s links: LinkedIn –; Twitter –; Instagram –; Facebook –; Website –; Podcast –

You might also like the following episodes:

Fiona Robinson – Patient education:

James Bowers – Communication consulting:

Kelly Bullock – Science illustration:

Kirsten Sanford – Science communication:

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