Tag Archives: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Junk DNA & A Wisconsin Update

I saw this article in the New York Times today, and it got me thinking about how misleading the concept of “junk DNA” is for the general public. It isn’t really a good descriptive term because junk signifies that the DNA isn’t needed, when really researchers just don’t yet know what that DNA does. It isn’t part of the exome (part of the genome that codes for proteins – which make all the substances of your body) but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a role. I think its a term that people should avoid using because I think it causes more confusion than it does good.

In other news, today was my first full day in Wisconsin. I saw my apartment and met my roommate Francis, and she seems really awesome so that was exciting. I spent all day waiting for my boxes to come from UPS (which arrived at 6:45pm and ripped open, of course) but they finally came so that made me happy. Tomorrow we’ll try to actually set up the apartment since my stuff is literally just dumped out all over the place. There is a definite lack of storage so we’ll have to try to fix that, but overall the apartment is really nice and in a great location.

Hello, Wisconsin

Today I flew with my family to Wisconsin where I’ll be starting grad school in a little over a week. The flight was less than stellar, but we made it ok, and the airlines even managed to get all my luggage here in one piece. We didn’t get a chance to do much, but we did drive around Madison a little bit to show my brother the city (he’s never been here but I visited with my parents in March).

Tomorrow we’ll actually see about setting up my apartment, which is in a really awesome location. Its only a block from the Journalism/Communications department. I’m thinking that will be really nice during the Wisconsin Winter. Tomorrow I also get to meet my new roommate, the apartment building matched us up so we’ve never met. She moved into the apartment on Sunday when the lease started, so I’m excited to get to the apartment and start settling in myself.

Since When do Journalists Need Grad School?

Most people agree that what counts most in creative fields, like journalism, is experience. However, in a field like science journalism there is a certain expectation that a writer will have extensive credentials, including a higher degree. When I interview scientists I have to hold my own with incredibly intelligent and accomplished people, all of whom have their Ph.D., and usually I do just fine, but they often ask me what my Ph.D. is in. Imagine their surprise when I tell them that I don’t have a Ph.D. or even a M.A. (my B.A. in Science Writing is from Lehigh University.)

In my year at BioTechniques, I worked with several interns, three of whom moved on to full-time positions at NPR’s Science Friday and Genome Web. What these writers had that I don’t was a Master’s Degree in Journalism. I’ve always wanted to pursue a graduate degree, so it just made sense for me to apply to grad school for science journalism. I start at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in September.

Part of my reasoning for starting this blog, in addition to wanting to constantly write about science and needing a new venue, was to chronicle my grad school experience as I try to make a name for myself as a science writer. So hopefully this blog will become a mix of personal stories, observations about science, and a few adventures (and I’m sure stumbles) as I chase that dream.