Originally published at mhsbroadcaster.org on March 23, 2015 by Katie McCreedy
In March of 2014, I applied to be a writer for the online student-driven science blog, Curious Young Writers. I’ve always had a proclivity towards science and was immensely interested in the opportunity to develop a connection between my passion for science and for writing.
After a month of interviewing, researching, and brainstorming, I nervously submitted my story for editing by the student staff.
Like MHS alumna Naomi Pohl, who published an article about cYw for The Broadcaster a year ago, the response to my story was greeted with the offer of a cYw editorial position. For the next year, I will be working with the cYw staff to develop the site as well as my ability to edit scientific writing. I could not be more excited!
“cYw is revolutionary. It doesn’t exist anywhere else…” – Paul McKellips, Exec. VP of the Foundation for Biomedical Research
The site gives young and curious student writers the opportunity to do investigative research in the biomedical field. Over each summer, students research “nontraditional animal models and their roles in advancing our knowledge of specific diseases or conditions,” as Pohl wrote in her articles.
Writers produce a storyline throughout their piece that includes a complementary amount of scientific information. Personal narratives are simpler for a reader to understand than a bulk scientific abstract, these stories allow for people of all scientific levels to understand the information being relayed. Erin Colfax, science teacher at MHS and cYw faculty board advisor, explains that student writers “learn how to tell a science story that inspires and motivates people”.
After careful editing and review, the story is sent back to the author with preliminary suggestions. The author adjusts their piece, and a succinct final draft is submitted. These compelling stories are then published on the cYw blog by Creative Transfer and Tech teams. “Science and technology are advancing exponentially, yet fewer than 7% of American adults are scientifically literate”, says Colfax. The teams within cYw work to display scientific information in an accessible online format.
For cYw, collaboration is necessary on all levels. Emails, meetings, and conference calls are among the many tasks staff members undertake to make the stories come alive. The process is most certainly a creative one, and requires considerable dedication.
The past year was marked by the blog’s incredible expansion. Not only have they been able to increase the number of writers contributing to the site, but they also tackled various imaginative pursuits. They’ve enhanced their staff by introducing smaller teams focused on specific areas within the website. The teams meet regularly and focus on visual aspects of the site, such as illustration, media, and editing. This expansion allows the site to encourage new areas of student production; podcasts and science poetry are now being published alongside regular pieces. “Science poetry really helps tap into the emotional side of this research while still including quantitative and qualitative data”, says Julia Flores, a junior at MHS and the current Editor-in-Chief of cYw.
Flores looks eagerly to cYw’s bright future, noting that, “[cYw] will be presenting at the National Institutes of Health in the next year and we predict that this will help establish us as a truly national platform.” cYw is also garnering more commentary on the stories posted, and looks to continue gaining site traffic.
Interested in tackling a new and innovative writing challenge? These recent changes allow students the opportunity to write influential stories, for a site dedicated to expanding public scientific knowledge.
Apply here, to be a writer for the 2015-2016 year! Or subscribe to the site, and stay updated on ground-breaking research and writing.