What's in Your Bio?
Every time an application or presentation requires a bio, I struggle. Whenever I have to do a quick introduction for an informal meet up, I feel panicked.
For me, writing a simple bio begs me to be transparent yet dynamic about who I am, what I do and why I do it. For me, a bio, or a “detailed description of a person’s life experiences” is a deeply intricate representation of how I want a person to see me — but a portrait of how I see myself more importantly.
Let’s take the bio I wrote for my SciGirl’s presentation:
Briana Green is a second year graduate student at Michigan State University, pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology Educational Technology. Briana's research interests focus on 1) how Black youth are making meaning of their early STEM experiences and 2) supports for students' STEM identity and motivation towards STEM careers. Briana enjoys learning with Black youth and has several experiences designing and implementing engineering activities for students, leading camps and workshops with Black and Latinx youth, and working with teachers, parents and community organizations to support the education and motivation of local youth. Briana is also born and raised in eastern North Carolina and expresses herself through creative writing, supporting others’ goals and socializing with friends.
Sure this is who I am.. but is it who I really am, or all that I am?
My issue with this bio and the unconscious way that I have begun to self-define is that it is limited to work and academia and does not represent my LIFE experiences.
When it came to writing the Artistic Bios section of our poem book, The Playlist, earlier this year, me and my co-author STRUGGLED to write our individual bios. Being that I write academic bios more regularly, I felt disappointed that many of the bios I scrapped focused on being a student or researcher and included tooooooo much formal jargon.
Frustrated, I called a kindred spirit, someone who knows me as a woman, scholar and friend to help describe myself. Within a few moments she came to:
“A life-long learner and explorer of self. She writes as an act of exploration, safety and creativity. She continues to utilize all of her God-given talents to connect with people and make sense of herself and the world around her."
I absolutely love this bio. I love its simplicity. How it reads like a breath of fresh air. How it allows the mind to wonder all of my God-given gifts. How it portrays that I am constantly seeing the world as the ultimate teacher and me and my experiences as the ultimate student.
In reality writing a bio is equal parts about authenticity as well as knowing your audience. How much do I want them to know? How much is pertinent to know? What can I say clearly and confidently?
While this post was not intended to help you write your next bio, I hope this inspired you to think about what you put in your next bio.