Ivan Zovko ’14 came to Earlham from Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a doctor. An alternate path led him to use science and business to bring together a country affected by war.
After a semester on the Philadelphia Program, where he completed an internship in digital marketing with AG Conexus, he realized a desire to connect his passions of science and business. He switched his major to business and nonprofit management, but he found he missed the science.
“My question became how can I combine digital marketing with my love for science,” he remembers. “So, I started a blog.” The blog, which translates into eScience, had 20,000 followers after only five months of operation.
Zovko condenses articles from scientific journals, which he loves to read, into short 300-word descriptions.
“I read scientific journals and simplify things so everyone can understand,” he says. “I take the main points and try to simplify them. I find out what the major point is and what its impact might be.”
Initially, he spent a minimum of three hours each day reading, writing and posting to the site. Since February he devotes four to six hours per day.
“In February, I opened it up to others and received 60 applications in five days,” he says. “I now have 20 authors between the ages of 18-24 from Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.”
Building community through science
An interesting outcome, which Zovko had hoped would occur, is that the blog has provided a space for Croatians, Bosnians and Serbians, groups previously divided because of the Bosnian War, to come together to help one another.
“I give them brain teasers, and they often help each other to solve these problems,” he says. “Instead of arguments about nationality, they are working together to learn science. I am thankful that it has worked out this way. I see this as a way to bring people together who want to learn something about new science.
“I see this as a way to help my society and as a way to promote science. I want to get science closer to the people.”
Zovko still writes three or four articles per week and edits all of the others. With the additional writers, the site now posts two or three new articles each day. He also responds to all feedback, which has been largely positive.
Relevant keywords also help to make his blog popular.
“Blogs are an efficient way to keep up your Google ranking,” he explains. “Keep it short, concise and simple and write about well-researched topics. I always use trusted sources and always give a link.”
Zovko admits that he is surprised by how quickly the number of followers accumulated.
“It is now more than just a hobby,” he says. “Because I want to bring science to the people, I am considering a science festival for high school and college students, and I have thought about connecting science professors with students interested in science internships.
“I have many passions, and I want to do many things. By making me think outside of the box, Earlham helped me to connect my passions.”