Advancing the Art of Science Communication

2021 Program

Curious Science Writers (cSw) – curioussciencewriters.org – is a training program for high school students with a passion for science who love to write. Created to “advance 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 a 5-day boot camp followed by one month of story development by participating student writers 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. The program includes faculty and guest speakers who are professional science writers and science communicators.

The application period 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 22 writers, 2 editors, 2 graphic designers and 2 social media coordinators for training during the summer of 2021. Read the cSw Position Descriptions here.

2021 Schedule

  • Application Period: January 15 – May 15
  • Boot Camp: One week in late June or in July. Dates TBA. 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 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.
  • Story Editing and Publishing: August – June 2021 Editing and publishing will happen between August and June of the 2020-2021 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.

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 320select 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?

  1. Curious, creative and committed to Advancing the Art of Science Communication
  2. Open to constructive feedback; prepared to revise stories and rework graphics
  3. Self-motivated and self-disciplined but a team player
  4. Not afraid to ask questions regarding roles and responsibilities
  5. Organized and able to meet deadlines
  6. Passionate, expressive, and open to learning new ideas and skills
  7. Willing to work hard

Ready to apply? Complete the Student Application at the link below.  Also required is a recommendation from a teacher and parent consent. See below for links to those forms.  Questions? Contact the cSw Program Coordinator at paula@amprogress.org.

The application period will open on January 15, 2021.