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Sarah Webb writes about science, health, technology and policy for researchers, for the general public and for children. Her work has appeared in Discover, Science News, ScientificAmerican.com, Science, Nature Biotechnology, National Geographic Kids, Science News for Kids and many other publications. Trained as a PhD chemist, she has reported on the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the science and policy of stem cell research and the acoustics of carbon fiber cellos. Sarah also served as the research coordinator for the award winning astronomy exhibits at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband, son, two cats and a Senegal parrot. Sarah is the Editor in Chief of pitchpublishprosper.com.

5 responses to “PhDs in the science writing ecosystem”

  1. 2Tif

    Sarah,
    I mean Dr. Webb… *clears throat* :-). These thoughts really hit the nail on the head! Its such a crap shoot the decision to add titles or not when navigating normal world with a PhD. The PhD path in a hard science is really quite unique (for lack of a better term). Out side of bench science academic life- having these types of terminal degrees can almost be limiting when trying to get a ‘regular’ job- which happens to pay way more. Either way- I enjoyed this- I am happy I came across your blog. Good stuff.

    website:mbmagroup.com
    Twitter 1: @2tif1
    Twitter 2: @mbmagroup

  2. Elizabeth

    Dear Sarah,

    Thanks for your post. Plotting a major career switch after “all that school” (as my mom puts it) feels pretty unorthodox, and it’s encouraging to hear from you and others who have already made the leap. As a soon-to-be PhD in contemporary literature and theory, I don’t quite understand the struggle of the would-have-been scientist, but I had to smile at your picture and caption. I totally get it.

  3. Scott Jeffers

    Dear Sarah,

    I love the book you and the other SciLancers have put together. It is a great resource.

    Your post hit the nail on the head. I too have a terminal degree, in biology, with MANY years of postdoctoral training. I didn’t know I wanted to write for a living, while I was spending so much time on the lab bench. But, for years I have been telling colleagues and superiors that I wanted to communicate science for the general public. I always wanted to write. I remember reading The Writer Magazine at my local news stand as a teenager, but my ego and my fear got in the way.

    It has taken me a very long time to discover what I really love about science. It’s learning new and interesting things, and communicating them to people. I always loved starting a new project, not because it was something new, but because I got to read all those great papers, digest them, learn something new, and aggregate them into new presentations.

    I figure the best way to sate my passion for science and learning, while being able to start something new on a regular basis, is to become a science writer. The SciLancers book and this website have helped a lot. But I still need more. I’m looking for mentors that could be guides. I guess, I’m coopting your thread to ask for help with finding mentors and building my tribe.

    Thanks for your help, your blog, and the book!

    All the best,

    Scott Jeffers
    tinyurl.com/scottjeffers

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