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Summer Workshop in Creative Science Writing for Undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh

 

See Marty Levine’s article about the Workshop in the University Times

Overview. The development of effective writing skills in the sciences has become increasingly more important given the critical roles that science plays in society. To help undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh develop such highly valuable skills, the Summer Workshop in Creative Science Writing is intended to foster writing pursuits that are focused on communicating science in a compelling, accessible manner to non-scientists. This Workshop is available to undergraduates in the Departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Neuroscience, History & Philosophy of Science, and/or English. Each of four selected participants will be awarded a prize of $250 to pursue creative writing involving scientific journalism, poetry, and other works of nonfiction during the summer.

Summer Workshop of 2019. During the 11-week period from May 22 to July 19, 2019, each participant will complete the following:

  • Develop a writing portfolio with at least one piece that is sufficiently revised for submission to a news outlet with a broad readership (e.g., campus literary magazines and newspapers, local Pittsburgh newspapers, online magazines as well as brochures for science museums);
  • To receive guidance on communicating the science in an accurate manner, spend ³80 hours with either (i) a scientific research lab, including individual meetings with the PI, or (ii) with a faculty mentor in the History and Philosophy of Science Department;
  • Meet weekly with a faculty mentor in the English Department to receive guidance on the writing efforts;
  • Attend weekly writing workshops and have at least one writing piece critiqued at two of these workshops;
  • Publish at least one piece in Lab Musings the program’s online magazine on Medium.
  • Participate in reading selections of their work at a final celebration event that is open to the public.

How to Apply for the Summer of 2019. To be eligible for the Workshop, undergraduates must be in good academic standing. To apply, please email a brief summary (≤ 250 words) to Prof. Lillian Chong (ltchong@pitt.edu) by March 15, 2019 that includes:

  • A description of the proposed writing project, outlining the research/science topics of interest, forms of writing, and motivation/significance of your writing project. 
  • The names of (i) a faculty member of the Department of Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Neuroscience, or History & Philosophy of Science Department who has agreed to mentor you during the summer on communicating the science in an accurate manner; and (ii) a faculty member in the English Department who has agreed to mentor you during the summer on the writing.
  • Mention any previous experiences with creative writing, including writing workshops.

A faculty committee will review the proposals and select four awardees for the Summer of 2019.

The Workshop is co-organized by Lillian Chong (Chemistry), Marylou Gramm (English), and Sam Pittman (English). The organizers are grateful for funds from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh.