Toxicology and Societies - Mary Reiley

Title: Dropping the "ego-lingo": “people-speak” on how science is used in environmental and human health decision making.

Government guidance, policy, and regulation, peer-reviewed journals, and often science news reporting and other outlet’s information are written by and for those in professions and trades that will use and implement them daily. They are not written to be understandable to the public. It makes it very difficult to separate fact from fiction, to make up your own mind on the quality of the work and the decisions being made by government and others that impact you, your family, your community. It makes it very difficult to impactfully comment on a proposal, a change in guidance or policy, to determine if a one percent or less or a huge change in the amount of a chemical allowed in water is important to you.

I hope you will join me for a talk and discussion about dropping the technical and profession specific “ego-lingo” (aka, jargon) that is used when writing about, discussing, and deciding how much of something is too much in water; how much can be allowed without causing problems for all the life and livelihoods that use water; in favor of words and language that you can connect to, appreciate, explain to others and take action on. We will take a few examples from my experience in water quality research and policy making as well as from peer-reviewed journals and translate them to people-speak. Our goal will be to strip the examples of jargon that only speaks to “those in the know” and emerge with a better understanding of the science and the decision processes. One we can understand for ourselves, explain to others, and use when we or our communities are making decisions.

You can view the presentation on-demand through the WWU Alumni site. 

About the Speaker: Mary Reiley – Reiley Ridge Consulting & EPA-Retired

Mary Reiley image.Mary Reiley is a biologist by training and recently retired from EPA’s Office of Water after 36 years working to protect water quality for the benefit of both aquatic and human health. Besides her academic training, Mary is also trained in program management; facilitation for meetings, working groups, and decision makers needing assistance with interest-based negotiation, difficult conversations, and divergent perspectives; as well as coaching, mentoring, and technical and inspirational public speaking. Mary spent her career using this skill set to bring together diverse science, engineering, legal, economic, and policy expertise from across EPA and other federal agencies, academia, businesses, and stakeholders to lead them through science and policy discussions that established state-of-the-science and informed water quality protection decisions. She has been called on to speak and teach to students, stakeholders, scientists, and policy makers in many parts of the world. Mary has a passion for working with scientists to make their work more comprehensible and useable by the public. She continues to grow a network of like-minded scientists to bring science out from behind the curtain for everyone to see and use.

Mary lives in Virginia with her husband of 30 years. She has three young adult children. She is a past president of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and recently launched her own consultancy: Reiley Ridge Consulting, through which she hopes to help others bring clarity to their communications and facilitate conversations that find common ground and improve decisions in the US and abroad.

Mary’s CV can be found on LinkedIn:

Registration for this event is closed, but you can watch the recorded presentation through the WWU alumni site.
Oct 22, 2020 11 .

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