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Senah Yeboah-Sampong

The people I encountered within and through the News Department made my experience, from a supportive editorial staff to a broad span of researchers in fields from meteorology to anthropology biology. As a general assignment journalist, my stories had focused on purely human drama. Science taught me how small that drama can appear when people start asking big questions. I didn’t know what to expect. I had to rapidly improve my reporting and improve my communication with sources. I had been creamed by editors for some of my Science Shots. Learning how to dial down and compress some very heady concepts took practice. There were times when I really had to question myself, to wonder if I were up to the challenge. Charging them with authenticity and energy took finesse. I found out pretty quickly that my strength was still in my short game. On the Science Insider side of things, science and policy overlapped. My first story dealt with organ transplant policy for those living with HIV.  I sat in on the committee hearing where the vote would took place, spoke with advocates who’d done the research and pushed for the change in policy and used databases I had never heard of to quote and  breakdown the legislation that was on the cusp of changing. I learned that, for me, Science writing can have an immediate impact on our lives, can radically alter a very human narrative. With the help of my editors, I began to see how and why the sciences inspire and motivate so many, how even basic research can save lives and also satisfy our child-like curiosity.