Image Credit: NASA

Earthzine Writing Fellowship

Why is Earthzine mentoring writers?

Significant scholarship suggests that mentoring is integral in developing in one’s career, and writing is no exception to this rule. From medical (Flaherty, 2016) to legal (Kawalski, 2011) to creative writing – early career writers perform better when mentors are available to share best practices and guide the development of instincts that will serve the writer for the long haul.

Fostering opportunities for growth and training among young professionals is an important activity for IEEE Earthzine. In 2015, thanks to support from NASA’s Applied Sciences Program and IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, the Writing

Club was established to build capacity among students and early-career science professionals for communicating the benefits of using Earth information to support decision-making. With its Writing Club, IEEE Earthzine hoped to encourage and develop aspiring writers who are interested in Earth observation and scientific communication. After a successful first run of the club in the fall of 2015, the club conducted a summer session in 2016.

In 2017, the club was renamed the Earthzine Writing Fellowship to better reflect the professional development and career mentoring the program successfully provides.

How does it work?

The 10-week, online program includes a series of workshops and presentations led by professional writers and experts from the scientific community. Weekly readings, presentations, and activities focus on developing the skills needed to find story ideas, conduct research, interview sources, write articles, and move through the editorial process toward publication.

In addition to required coursework and discussions, which are facilitated remotely via a WordPress website, IEEE Earthzine volunteers and staff provide one-on-one mentorship on the writing and peer review process to help participants reach the final goal: publication.

Participants are awarded a $200 honorarium for participating in this rigorous program, which was conducted much like an upper division college-level course. Students were expected to provide meaningful peer feedback and show growth in their writing skills over the course of the program.