News: News Archives
AAAS Mass Media Fellows Conclude Newsroom Internships with Poster Session
When Molly McElroy, a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at the University Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, arrived in St. Louis to begin her internship at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she expected to be frantically busy every day.
“The ebb and flow of work was surprising,” said McElroy. “While on some days I would be busy with writing, on others I would be more creative and plan future stories by asking local professors about their current projects.”
Despite the manic schedule, complex story assignments and last minute edits, McElroy wants to use her Ph.D to promote science through a career in journalism, as opposed to benchwork. “I have about six months left in graduate school,” she said. “Then I want to stay in science writing.”
At the poster session, sixteen advanced scientists and mathematicians presented highlights from their 10-week internships at various news media outlets across the country, including Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Oregonian and Science.
Over the past 32 years, AAAS has teamed with various sponsoring organizations such as the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the American Physical Society and the American Mathematical Society to place science, engineering and mathematics scholars in newsrooms across the country to expose them to the challenges of effectively communicating science to a non-technical audience.
Stacey Pasco, senior program associate at AAAS Education and Human Resources, said that the program encourages the Fellows to take an active role in educating society about important issues.
“Science writers translate complex findings for the general public and are charged with explaining why these findings are important,” Pasco said. “The program teaches participating students how to communicate ideas clearly and to also make the connection as to how these stories impact their communities.”
Briahna Gray, an undergraduate at Harvard University and a AAAS Minority Science Writer Intern at Science, noted that the internship provided the perfect place for her to explore her two passions—the history of science and architecture and writing.
“I felt Science was where I could best apply my experience and interest in history of science,” Gray said. “It was the perfect niche.”
Many fellows will return now to laboratory or classroom, with new insights about communicating science news. For others, though, this may be just the beginning of a whole new career in the newsroom. Notable journalists among the 530 alumni include Joe Palca and Richard Harris of NPR; Steve Mirsky of Scientific American; Ken Chang of the New York Times; and syndicated columnist and author Julianne Malveaux.
30 August 2006