Summer Training Program

Curious Science Writers (cSw) is a training program for exceptional high school students with a passion for science and writing. Created to ÔÇťadvance the art of science communication,” cSw is an innovative, extracurricular program that prepares highly motivated high school communicators to bring complex biomedical science to the general public through the power of story. Founded in 2010 by Jayne Mackta, past president of the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research, cSw is now hosted by Americans for Medical Progress.

The 2021 program will consist of pre-program work, attendance to a week-long virtual boot camp, and post-program work.

Writers will be required to research an assigned bioscience topic, actively participate in a 5-day boot camp and develop their story the month following the camp. Writers are mentored by professional science communicators. Students will work closely with their mentor to evaluate sources, identify a content expert to interview for their story, prepare for the interview, discuss possible storylines, incorporate feedback on structure, clarity, and ability to engage public audiences. Final drafts must be approved by mentors before turning into the editorial team.

Stories will be edited and published during the 2020-2021 academic year. Writers will be required to attend a meeting with the editorial team and provide requested edits to their article before the assigned publication month. Publication month will be between September and June.

Editors, graphic designers and social media coordinators will be required to become familiar with assigned bioscience topics, actively participate in a 5-day boot camp and participate on the editorial team. This will include meetings and training sessions after the camp and throughout the academic year.

The 5-day boot camp provides intensive training and skill-building for writers, editors, designers and social media coordinators.  The program includes faculty and guest speakers who are professional science writers and science communicators. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with scientists and others involved in the biomedical research community.


The application for the 2021 program is closed.

Who should apply?

Curious & creative high school students.  Preference to those currently in grade 10 or 11.

How many positions are available?

cSw will accept up to 24 writers, 2 editors, 2 graphic designers and 2 social media coordinators for the Curious Science Writers Class of 2021.  Training will primarily occur during the summer of 2021 with some sessions occurring during the 2021-2022 academic school year, depending on the position. Read the cSw Position Descriptions here.

2021 Schedule

  • Application Period: January 15 – May 15 or until all slots are filled
  • June 15 – July 15 Students are assigned a biomedical research topic to cover. They collect information about the topic (e.g. scientific literature, science-based websites, reliable news coverage).
  • Boot Camp: July 12 – July 16, 2021 Virtual program from 9 a.m – 5 p.m. Mornings will consist of course content, guest speakers, and interactive activities. Afternoons will consist of independent work and group exercises.
  • Story Development: July-August 2021 Working with a professional Communications Mentor, each writer will produce a carefully researched, clear and compelling biomedical science story for a general audience. Interaction is online; preferred means of communicating (email, skype, telephone, etc.) will be agreed upon by writer/mentor. Editors, designers and social media coordinators will attend one to three additional training sessions during this time frame.
  • Story Editing and Publishing: August 2021 – June 2022 Editing and publishing will happen between August and June of the 2021-2022 academic year. Each student writer will be required to attend one meeting with the editorial team via web/call and provide edits as requested before the story is published. Editorial team members (editors, designers, social media coordinators) schedule to be determined post-boot camp.

Rolling Admission

Candidates are accepted on a rolling admission basis.  Applications will be closed when all slots are filled.

Tuition

$350 Early Registration (before April 1).  $450 Regular Registration. Scholarships for those in need are available. Contact us at paula@amprogress.org for more information on scholarships.

Program Goals

  • To provide foundational skills needed to produce clear & compelling science stories
  • To model the real-world science communications experience
  • To expose participants to career opportunities in science communications

Staffed by professional communicators with expertise in science writing, the cSw Boot Camp will offer up to 30 select students an intensive short course in producing clear and compelling science stories for a public audience.

Students will interview a content expert relevant to the biomedical science story they are researching and writing and be paired with a mentor actively working in the field. The month following the day camp will involve writer/mentor interaction while students write their stories. Stories are then sent to the cSw Editorial Team. This experienced student team, which includes a Chief Editor, Creative Team Manager, and Social Media Manager, will work with new student editors, graphic designers, social media coordinators and writers to polish, publish and promote stories throughout the 2021/2022 academic year.

What is the profile of the ideal cSw Candidate?

  • Curious, creative and committed to advancing the art of science communication
  • Open to constructive feedback
  • Prepared to revise stories, rework graphics and/or promote stories
  • Self-motivated and self-disciplined but a team player
  • Not afraid to ask questions regarding roles and responsibilities
  • Organized and able to meet deadlines
  • Passionate, expressive, and open to learning new ideas and skills
  • Willing to work hard
  • Genuine desire to be a Curious Science Writer

Thinking about applying? You will need to complete an application and submit three additional forms: two recommendations – one from a teacher and one from a supervisor for an activity outside of school, and parent consent.

Applications will open in January 2022.

Questions? Contact the cSw Program Coordinator at paula@amprogress.org.