Meet the Team – Education Outreach Assistant

Published on 12th February 2019

This week we chat to Zia Forrai (they, them) our Educational Outreach Assistant.


What are the key parts to your role?

Going into schools and encouraging young people to make creative work exploring biological ideas.

What do you like most about your job?

I love being able to inspire people who might not ordinarily think science is for them. I also love that I have the opportunity to learn fascinating things while I work.

How did you end up in this job?

Since my Master’s, I’ve been focused on the philosophies of science, biology, technology, and consciousness, and these have played largely in my creative work. I am also dedicated to teaching and education, and spent my 2 years prior to starting at the Linnean Society working in public engagement at a medical museum that explores the influences and intersections in science of art, religion, politics, culture, and philosophy.

What is your favourite species of animal or plant?

It switches up often. Currently, it’s a toss-up between: Elysia chloratica, a seaslug capable of photosynthesis through endosymbiosis, utilising the chloroplasts of algae, or the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid. I’m keen on cephalopods for a variety of reasons, but this one is a recent fav. As part of its life-cycle, it gets infected with a bioluminescent bacterium that helps it hunt at night (which looks pretty brilliant too).

Images printing

What is the most interesting item to you in the Linnean Society collections?

Coat of Arms

The shield of the Society emblem has me under its sway. On the shield itself, the Black at the base represents the Kingdom of Minerals, on the top, the Red represents the Kingdom of Animals, and the Green the Kingdom of Plants.

The Egg (ovum) represents the origin of life (/existence).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Find somewhere soft, warm, and occluded, so I can sleep through the winter, with minimised fear of predation.