A new electron pusher on board: Meet the grad student co-pusher for JAEP

Hi! I’m Christine and I’m really happy to be here as a blogger on CENtral Science!

Me and my puppies, Bleu and Kat (yes, I named my dog Kat, short for Katerina).

In a nutshell, I am a 4th-year graduate student in chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an aspiring science writer.

I came to grad school and like many others thought I wanted to be a professor. When I finished my undergrad degree I realized I had more questions than answers when it came to science, and I wanted to learn more. I find the intricacies of science to be incredibly mind-boggling and fascinating, and I love seeing the connection between science and everyday life.

About a year ago I began realizing that what got me most excited was taking something I understood about science and communicating it for all kinds of audiences, from colleagues in the lab to my family members. Then when I haphazardly stumbled across the field of science writing I immediately fell in love. A few years ago I would’ve never guessed I’d go for writing. Here’s an excerpt from my first-ever blog post (May 2010) that explains why:

I’ve never seen myself as a writer. I dreaded English composition classes, the SAT and GRE writing sections, and even managed to avoid taking a single English class in college, claiming my AP credits to evade the difficulties of expressing my thoughts in writing. I’ve just never been very good at it…

In the past year I have discovered that more than doing the research itself, I like writing about it, presenting on it, talking about it with other scientists and non-scientists. Wait, what? I like writing? Well, yes, when it’s about a fascinating scientific topic, I do…

Feel like you just don’t fit the mold of “academia, industry, or government”? Consider an alternative career in science! Image by flickr user Gregory Wild-Smith

Last semester I took my first journalism class and started building my portfolio by writing for The Daily Illini, the independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois. My goal is to keep getting writing experience as I finish up my PhD in the next year or so (cross your fingers!) and then become a full-fledged science writer.

I am really excited for the opportunity to “co-push” alongside Glen Ernst. The idea is that I will provide the grad student perspective, while Glen provides the perspective of a mid-career professional exploring non-traditional career options.

As Glen already mentioned, please feel free to send us suggestions or contacts for people who have a chemistry background and have a non-traditional career. What we really want is to provide information and resources to anyone out there who feels like they don’t quite fit the mold of “academia, industry, or government” and wants to know what other options are out there. We’ll also use the blog to tell the world about our adventures as we explore various alternative career paths for ourselves. Here we go!

Feel like you just don’t fit the mold of “academia, industry, or government”? Consider an alternative career in science!

Image by flickr user Gregory Wild-Smith

Author: Christine Herman

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1 Comment

  1. Yay! I’m excited to see where you guys take this! I think it’s really cool to have your two different-but-similar perspectives, since a lot of chemists can relate to both of you.