The Writing Club is in session for summer 2016 – join us and follow their progress.We launched the Writing Club in 2015 as a 10-week online writing course for students and early career professionals to build fluency as science communicators. Some of our students are scientists looking to develop ways of discussing their work with the general public. Others are writers hoping to build careers as science writers.
Our first run was fantastic, with great feedback from participants, staff, volunteers, and Earthzine’s stakeholders. In the spring, we looked at what worked and what needed tweaking. We built a new website, redesigned weekly lessons, and added new assignments.
In June, we accepted nine students from myriad backgrounds and locations, and it is with great pleasure that we introduce the newest additions to our Earthzine community.
What follows is their first assignment, which was to interview each other and write short introductions for our readers. We hope you enjoy hearing about their progress and reading their work in the coming weeks.
Abby Burlingame: From Shakespeare to Shale
By Lorelei Goff
A backpacking trip in the northern Cascades sparked Abby’s curiosity, propelling her from an academic career in English and theater into geoscience to find answers for the awe-inspiring scenery she witnessed.
“I took a geology class and fell in love,” she said. “It answered a lot of my questions about what I saw around me.”
Abby is completing a Bachelor of Science in geology from Bryn Mawr College. She writes high school Earth science curriculum for Shmoop.com, and is an intern with GeoCorps at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon. She hopes to develop journalistic skills and meet other science writers through Earthzine’s Writing Club.
Rachel Gaal: Weather Writer
By Abby Burlingame
Rachel Gaal just finished her Bachelor of Science in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. While studying abroad in England, different teaching styles in the sciences struck her, which lead to an interest in communications and a NASA internship at SERVIR Global.
Gaal has been busy with a move to Washington, D.C., starting a writing job with the American Physical Society. For this summer’s Earthzine Writing Club, Gaal says she’s excited to learn alongside a diverse group of science writers. She loves trying new foods and spending time outdoors and says that running helps her work out story ideas.
Lorelei Goff: The Triple-Tasking Writer with a Love for Nature
By Rachel Gaal
Freelance writing and working part-time as a program assistant to help at-risk youth keeps Lorelei pretty busy – so does her work with the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council and her certification as a naturalist via Tennessee Naturalist Program.
An avid worker and loving mom, Lorelei Goff, 50, loves to combine her curiosity for writing and the environment year-round—doing yoga and gardening whenever she can catch some spare time.
She homeschooled her two sons, Josh and Aaron, and then became an emergency medical technician, later traveling to East Tennessee State University where she just earned a B.S. in interdisciplinary studies, concentrating in journalism and environmental studies.
This article was updated on August 9, 2016 to improve the accuracy of the introduction.
Josiah Killam: Future Astronomer
By Qiuyun Li
Fascinated by the enormous universe and having dreamt of becoming an astronaut, Josiah Killam majored in physics and astronomy at University of Illinois. He is a straight-A student, plays electric guitar, and performs in the marching band.
Being good at thinking of solutions to problems, Josiah will work as an engineering intern at Halyard Health during the summer, doing lab work, such as running tests on products and writing reports. At the same time, he is considering an academic career involving astronomy and physics. Josiah applied to Earthzine to gain experience in science writing and to be able to apply what he learns to a future career in astronomy.
Dani Leviss: Aspiring Science Writer
By Josiah Killam
When Dani Leviss discovered Earthzine’s Writing Club, she knew it would be an opportunity to combine her love of science and writing.
A recent graduate of Drew University in New Jersey, Dani majored in chemistry and minored in writing and art. For the past two years she has studied the quantitative and qualitative products of the reaction between two aerosols, alpha terpineol and ozone.
Dani applied to Earthzine to gain experience and begin to pave a path toward her final goal: using her writing skills to convey the importance of science to the public.
Qiuyun Li: Learning About the World, One Rock at a Time
By Dani Leviss
The best perk to studying geology? Traveling often. Currently an economic geology Ph.D. student at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Qiuyun Li has conducted research in Tibet for three summers and enjoys spending time in the natural world outside of the lab.
She finds geology a useful approach to studying energy stores and natural disasters. Her studies focus on porphyry copper deposits and ways to find more ore deposits. To complete her degree, she is working toward academic publication. She joined the Writing Club to exchange ideas with global peers, think creatively and learn more about the Earth.
Natalie Midzak: Writer and Meteorology Enthusiast
By Timmera Whaley
Natalie, a senior at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, is majoring in meteorology with minors in chemistry and mathematics. Currently an intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she works on the Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS). Natalie’s team is using LiDAR to improve the detection of smoke versus dust in clouds.
Her love for scientific writing shows as she anticipates publication with the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Natalie applied to Earthzine’s Writing Club because of her desire to share her passion for knowledge and discovery with an interested audience.
Jonathan Udlock’s Dreams Exceed our Atmosphere
By Natalie Midzak
Jonathan Udlock, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Denver, has a vast array of interests that range from outer space to adventure novels.
Currently, Jonathan is working diligently to pursue his dream of designing a space-borne instrument. Although science is a great passion of his, Jonathan is also a fan of theater, music, his yellow lab, Kady, and adventures.
He is presently visiting Disneyland in Southern California with his family, and cannot wait to launch into writing for Earthzine.
Timmera Whaley: Woman of Many Talents
By Jonathan Udlock
Curiosity is a driving force in Timmera Whaley’s life.
As a graduate student at Tuskegee University, Timmera is studying for her master’s in environmental science. To continue learning about her field this summer, she is working with the the NASA DEVELOP National Program and using Earth observation tools to study ecological problems such as invasive species.
The Writing Club piqued her interest when Timmera discovered that Earthzine focuses on many of the scientific issues about which she is passionate. Timmera’s semester abroad in Japan and her undergraduate studies at Colgate University have led her to come to an appreciation of the arts, humanities, and Japanese language and culture, as well as all her scientific interests.
Editor’s Note: Rachel Gaal had to leave the club due to a family emergency – we wish her well!