“Planting” the seeds for Race for Science: Plant Sciences Department at Race for Science!

I interview Sonja Dunbar from the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Cambridge about her role in Race for Science.

One of the mini escape rooms in Race for Science is in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Cambridge – it’s one of our toughest puzzles! Sonja Dunbar has not only been helping to develop the game, but will be guiding players through the puzzles at the event itself. I asked Sonja how she got involved with Race for Science, what she loves about outreach, and what advice she would give to potential Race for Science teams!

What is your role in the plant sciences department?

I’m the Teaching Associate for the Department, which means I help develop and deliver everything from lectures to laboratory practicals and supervisions with small groups of students.

What do you enjoy about outreach? What’s your favourite thing about your role(s)?

I love seeing people have that moment of “I’ve got it!” and helping someone get there is really rewarding. Also, I enjoy sharing knowledge about my subject and getting people to see connections they’d never considered before. Plants are very often overlooked, but there’s so much going on beneath the surface and I love showing people how amazing plants really are! I feel very lucky that I get to do this in both my job and in outreach.

Sonja helping some of our playtesters with one of the Plant Sciences puzzles.

How did you get involved with Race for Science?

My role in Plant Sciences got me to meet others developing the event, but my love of puzzle-solving and role-playing made me keen to be involved! I love developing puzzles on a smaller scale for my Dungeons and Dragons games and I’ve also escaped from Lockhouse’s escape rooms and played many of Fire Hazard’s codebreaking games – so I couldn’t miss the chance to peek behind the curtain for once!

Why should people get excited about Race for Science?

I think people should be excited to immerse themselves in the experience. You’ll see so many little details in Cambridge that you’ve never noticed when you weren’t looking for clues!

What tips do you have for RFS players?

Work together, but nominate roles within the team. Then everyone will have something vital to contribute to the success of the team and that’s just more fun! My friends and I often split out roles such as map-keeper, clue wrangler, timekeeper and scout.

For more information about the Plant Sciences department, click here.

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