Paraphyletic

Medicine and human biology

curiositycausedthescience-deact asked: How did you land a job as a science writer and what was your major in college? Man, that is too cool. That's my ideal job.

I actually majored in biology, and went on to a Ph.D. program in biology before aborting. I studied journalism for a while, but really just used the time to build a portfolio of writing clips. You don’t need to study science to be a science writer. Some of the greatest science writers in history never stepped foot in a science classroom.

Before I finished the journalism degree, I got a mini-grant to attend some American Chemical Society science writing workshops in D.C. There I met a woman who ran the public relations office at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and she helped hire me about a year later. So the short of it is… having good writing clips and knowing people. 

So if you’re still in school now, start writing. Contact the editors of a student paper — or even your local newspaper — or radio or TV station and tell them you want to do stories for them. See what they say, and don’t be afraid of rejection. It’s important to do more than just blogging, but you should probably blog too.

Something else you can do is join the National Association of Science Writers, the largest professional organization of medical and science writers in… probably the world. They have a national meeting every year, and a special lunch for new science writers where you get set up with a veteran journalist or PR writer and learn a lot. You’ll meet lots of people, from NPR, BBC, the Washington Post, ABC, etc. This year’s meeting is in North Carolina. NASW also has a pretty great jobs list. And they have a discounted membership fee for students.

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