Science Communication Results: Work Samples

Page 1 of April Finnen's PDF portfolio

Thanks for stopping by. I’m currently working on some exciting projects as a Federal employee, and not able to take on additional work. Still need to get in touch?  Email me.

Healthy Eating and CSA Work


CSA vegetables

Farmers should be business heroes. They’re among the hardest-working people on Earth, with the biggest challenges. Changing weather. Invasive pests. Exacting certification standards. And who else actually lives at work?

Several years ago, I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. I was enamored with the idea of farm-fresh, organic, local produce, and couldn’t wait to cook with whatever came in the box. I was quite dependent on certain packaged convenience foods at the time, so cooking from scratch with seasonal vegetables–some of them unfamiliar–involved a learning curve.

Happily, I stuck with it, and have learned to efficiently dispatch my CSA share to feed my family–mystery vegetables and all–while working full-time, and without spending excessive amounts of time in the kitchen (unless I want to).

Knowing you can turn a pile of fresh-picked vegetables into a delicious, healthy meal is empowering. I write weekly newsletter features for my CSA, and columns about (mostly) healthy eating, food and farms for Want2Dish. I see no reason to keep secret how easy healthy cooking can be, with a little practice. I guess you could say I’m a vegetable evangelist. Long live zucchini!

The Rules of Modern Business Communication


"Caution wet floor" sign in a fountain

These rules are a collection of things that stuck with me as I read various books and posts, and that I’ve tried to implement in my own work. They represent trends and advice from a lot of smart people, including Frederick’s own social media trend-spotter Beth Schillaci of VillageWorks Communications, event-planner and communicator extraordinaire Jessica Hibbard, and authors including Scott Stratten, Phil Simon and Amber Naslund.

The rules, as I see them:

Be a real person.

Don’t hide who you are. People root for small businesses, and they expect transparency, especially for online-only businesses. Personality encouraged.

Don’t forget the obvious.

Common courtesy is still required. Please, thank you and excuse me go a long way. Customer service is still critical. People still judge by appearance, including your writing and website.

Don’t just broadcast.

Communication is—more than ever—a two-way street. If you only broadcast (that is, talk about “me me me”), you get tuned out. Engage. Ask questions. Get to know your audience.

Be helpful.

Skip the hard sell. Offer useful information. Help people, and when they need your product or service, they’ll remember you.

Don’t take shortcuts.

Building relationships—even virtual ones—takes time. Services that claim to net you thousands of social media fans or followers are most likely scams. Offer helpful content, and earn them instead.

Automate with caution.

Tailor your message to the platform. Never send automated direct messages on Twitter. If you automate posts to help with time management, remember to check comments/replies.

Don’t steal. Or spam.

If it’s on the Internet, assume it’s copyrighted. If they didn’t sign up for your email newsletter, it’s spam. And it’s illegal. $16K per violation illegal.

Do the right thing.

Make your website accessible, even if you aren’t required to by law.

Ask for help.

You (probably) wouldn’t try to fix a major electrical issue yourself. Consider your website a digital extension of your building. Work with professionals to make it your best possible window to the world.

Make your own rules.

One size does not fit all in the digital economy. Figure out what you want to accomplish, set a strategy and get started. Mistakes happen. Learn from them, and move on.

What are your rules?

Frederick Chamber EXPO materials:

Presentation (PDF): Modern Communication: Professional Writing for Your Business, and Why it Matters

Handout (PDF): The Rules of Modern Business Communication


(This is an excerpt from a post on OnePersonShop.)

Be Human: Building and Measuring B2B Relationships with Social Media


Woman sitting with laptop in grass.

I wrote this paper on B2B social media in 2010. While some of the tools have changed, the basic concepts for social media success haven’t. The bottom line: be a real person, and you’ll do fine.

Cover page - Be Human: Building and Measuring Profitable B2B Customer Relationships Through Social Media

Getting involved in social media is no longer an option for businesses.  It’s a requirement.  Companies that invest in these tools to enhance their client relationships—and build new ones—will be better-positioned for future growth in the new marketing environment.  This paper refutes common arguments against engaging in social media, and provides guidelines for effectively planning, managing and measuring your social media presence in a business-to-business environment.

Read the full paper (PDF)