The “me” behind the writing.
I remember the day in 1990 when the construction workers finished the wall. A new research building was rising next door at Northwestern University, where I was finishing my doctorate in molecular biology. As I looked out the window, now blocked by the formidable concrete, I cried. I’d lost my view of downtown Chicago – a metaphor for what the research lab was doing to my love of biology.
I had to find another way to practice science.
Now I communicate it.
As a reporter in the 90s at the Chicago Tribune, I found the science in everyday life. DNA and OJ Simpson. Head injuries in sports. A mating study.
When a new mother and a freelance writer, I wrote for scientific audiences in Science, Nature, and Scientific American. I told science stories to unscientific readers in publications such as, Child, Health and the Yoga Journal.
A Knight Science Journalism Fellowship brought me to Boston and my first book, Lying in Weight; the Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders. There were others, here and here. And article derivatives.
Despite having fun spinning science stories, I learned that this is not enough. What’s the point if no one reads your stuff?
As a senior science writer – and later associate director of communications at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust – I discovered ways to push out ideas and bring in audiences. I create toolboxes of proposals, brochures, presentations, videos and unconventional collateral.
I still keep my “pen” in use, writing about the Amish, procrastination and renting-a-start-up-bench, for example.