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How does a girl go from rooting around rare-book libraries to teaching knowledge translation?

As I look back at my grad school days, the title of my dissertation now seems prophetic: "Voice from the Borderland: Rebecca Harding Davis and the Southern Roots of American Social Protest Fiction."

The borderland is where I love to play—in the spaces between disciplines, between industry sectors, and between the academy and the world outside the Ivory Tower.

I've spent my career zigzagging between academia and the business world, and now I help others bridge the gap between those two domains. My mission is supporting innovators who are on a knowledge mobilization quest to turn research findings into real-world impact.

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Since the start of my career, I've felt compelled to help connect the world of academic knowledge with the broader community. Way back in 2003, I wrote this op-ed column on the need for more "town and gown" activity, not realizing that what I was calling for was knowledge translation and mobilization.

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I've created, and taught others to create, a wide range of communication products, from reports and proposals to animated videos and interactive infographics. I've also authored two books on writing.

My approach can be summed up in two powerful words from the great British novelist E.M. Forster: "Only connect!" Successful knowledge translation does more than inform; it engages the audience in deeply human ways.