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Keywords:

  • science writer;
  • AGU Fellowship

Until last summer, I thought communicating science was just a matter of translation. When my friends' eyes glazed over as I explained, for example, how a productivity crisis and planktrophism could have caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, I thought they simply needed these terms translated.

While cutting through potentially difficult terminology is a key part of communicating science to the public, I now know that it is only the first of two parts. The second part is making one's subject matter tangible. Finding that out was my most important lesson last summer as an AGU-sponsored fellow in the Mass Media Fellowship program run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Understanding this journalistic two-step has helped me become a better science communicator and comprehend more fully why the Earth sciences fascinate me in the first place.