My name is Valerie Bentivegna. That’s an anagram for Inevitable Avenger. If you’d ask me to describe myself in three words (not that you did), I’d say: tall, nerdy and clumsy; not necessarily in that order. I translate seemingly complicated science subjects into something interesting and easy to understand by developing new, exciting and creative ways to inform, educate and engage non-scientists and the sci-curious of any age.
In case you didn’t know yet, science is fun(ny)! I write humorous songs about science and academic life and have performed in science communication competitions such as FameLab and Science Slam. I have toured the world (not really) with Bruno, the blue ukelele. Check out some of my comedy sets below (disclaimer: may contain some adult language and/or topics) or find out more about my comedy here.
Watch my “Closet Recordings” (recordings of random songs in my closet during the pandemic) on my Youtube Channel.
- Organizer and host of the monthly Geeky Open Mic at Wayward Coffee House in Seattle (first edition in November 2019).
CURRENTLY HOLDING WEEKLY OPEN MICS ON SATURDAYS (7 PM PST) ON INSTAGRAM
- Producer and performer at GEEK OUT! (November 2019).
- GeekGirlCon 2019 Organizer: Make ’em Laugh (science comedy workshop), and The Dark Side of Research (variety comedy show).
- The Dark Side of Research at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018:
Dumb Ways to Die, I am a Nerd and the PhD Medley.
- BrightClub performances: Songs from the Gut and Do I have the Guts?
- Whoops! Recent Graduate Realizes That Having A PhD Does Not Make Someone Employable
- Grad Student Becomes Lab’s Go-To Graphic Designer After Making Half-Decent Image In Powerpoint
- Grad Student Desperate For Feedback Thrilled To Receive “K.” From Supervisor After Just 3 Months
- Whoops! This Research Chemist Forgot To Add “But Not For Drugs” At The End Of Their Google Search And Now They’re On A Watch List
- 10 Hot Tips To Make Your Lab Data Look Spooky For Halloween
- An Immigrant’s Guide to Making Friends in the US
- What People Are Really Asking When They Ask “Where Are You From?” (And How to Answer)
I write about cool science, both in a professional capacity and for my personal blog, and sometimes for other freelance projects.
Writing and copyediting experience
- Science and Medical Writer for Cognition Studio, Inc.
- Co-author of Inking Science, an art-meets-science book highlighting the lives of inspirational scientists, engineers, and innovators.
- Blogger for Decafino, a Seattle-based startup company that is changing decaffeination.
- Occasional scriptwriter for Physics Girl.
- I’m chair of the Communication Workgroup of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), supervising a team of volunteers in creating the MCAA newsletter, blog, social media content and outreach activities. One of my roles is as lead editor of the MCAA Blog, for which I occasionally also produce content.
With my broad scientific background in bio-engineering, I can gather information from most STEM fields and distill the core message. I aim to be a master-of-all-trades, with an insatiable curiosity to learn more. In the last two years, I’ve worked as a research associate at a chemical engineering start-up company, and more recently, I worked as a consultant for a biotechnology company in the Seattle area.
Learn more about my work as a bioengineer in this video (suitable for all ages):
- PhD in Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, looking at the biomechanical properties of cells and tissues, and how these change during cancer.
- MSc in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, with a final project looking at the potential of gadolinium nanoparticles for the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors.
- BSc in Bioengineering.
Finding new ways to inspire the next generation of scientists, innovators, creators, and engineers is very… inspiring! I’ve worked as an informal educator in different capacities, both as a volunteer during my PhD as on contracted jobs.
Informal Education Experience
- Teaching LEGO Engineering and LEGO Robotics to elementary and middle school students.
- Working at a science summer camp as operations lead: supervising day-to-day activities, supporting teachers, communicating with parents, etc. In 2020, I helped test out virtual camps and write virtual camp curriculum.
- Workshop leader at a CyberSecurity Bootcamp
- Organizing panels at MCAA general assemblies and GeekGirlCon 2019 (The Science of SciFi panel together with MCAA and Seattle 500 Women Scientists)
- Organizing public lectures on the Science of SciFi