Meet the Communications Specialist: Alaina Dismukes

Headshot of Alaina Dismukes
Photo by Tom Thompson/MSU

Alaina Dismukes
Mississippi State University

Tell us about your background and research interests.
I graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelors in English and previously worked as an intern at MSU, writing for publications such as MAFES Discovers and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center before becoming a fulltime writer for the Delta Farm Press.
In my internship at MSU, I enjoyed talking to researchers about their work. While research is not something I personally do, I find it fascinating and have enjoyed learning more about the world of aquaculture and fisheries through our research teams.

How does your background in English and communications inform your approach at the Fish Innovation Lab?
My main goal as the Communications Specialist is to make scientific topics accessible to everyone. Since I am not a scientist, I am oftentimes learning new terms and topics I am not familiar with. When I write an article, I think, how can I write this in a clear way, so someone who is also not familiar with this subject can understand and find value in this important work? In that way, not being a scientist is actually a benefit because I have an outsider’s perspective.

In your view, what are the most pressing challenges related to food and nutrition security worldwide and what are some ways we can overcome these challenges?
Whew! That is a tough question. Perhaps, this is a very basic answer, but I think the main way we can overcome these challenges is by working together. One aspect that drew me toward the Fish Innovation Lab was seeing the collaboration with people from around the world on these pressing issues. I believe the way to solving big problems like food insecurity starts by making sure everyone has a seat at the table.

What drew you to the work of the Fish Innovation Lab?
The main aspect that drew me to this work was the focus on helping women and children. In developing countries, women and children oftentimes experience more food insecurity and nutrition deficiencies compared to men. I was impressed with how the Fish Innovation Lab addresses these issues. Many of our teams focus primarily on filling these gaps in our target countries by providing various trainings and resources to women and youth to not only increase their access to nutritious food like fish but to also improve livelihoods.

If you weren’t the Fish Innovation Lab’s Communications Specialist, what other careers might you have pursued?
If I had not pursued a career in writing and marketing, I most likely would have gotten my master’s in library science to work in a university library. As an avid reader, I believe in being a lifelong learner, and I think a career in library science would have been a good fit. As a writer, though, I also have the opportunity to continually learn more about the world around me and share with others what I am learning. It has been a good fit!

What are your hobbies or activities outside of work?
I like to read, do yoga, and serve in my church as well as spend time with my family and friends.

What is on your bucket list?
I would love to travel to Ireland and Iceland, as well as several other places, but those are the two at the top of my list.

If you would like to, tell us about your family, where you are from, and any personal details you would like to share.
I grew up in a small town in Mississippi with my amazing family, which is made up of my parents, older brother, and many pets and farm animals through the years. I’m also a proud aunt of two sweet, little boys.

Published June 2, 2022