I remember my first unpleasant biology lab dissection in high school. I am not sure if the experience was worse for me or for the unfortunate fetal pig we dissected that day. The sights and smells of that fateful morning forever put me on a path toward the physical sciences, and probably have a lot to do with my ending up as a graduate student in atmospheric chemistry instead of at some medical school cutting up dead bodies.
So imagine my horror after encountering the leg of a dead horse as I walked into a bioengineering laboratory to report on a story about artificial joint research. Subjecting myself to such biological horrors, though, was part of my duties as an AGU-sponsored American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellow. The program places graduate students and recent graduates from scientific fields in major media outlets throughout the country. The aim of the program is to give science-trained individuals a taste of a career in science journalism as well as to help scientists develop better communication skills.