Emerging writers, scholars collaborate in science policy fellowship

"To Think, To Write, To Publish" – a project of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University – has selected 24 fellows through an international competition to participate in its 18-month training and writing activity.

Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, "To Think, To Write, To Publish" brings together 12 emerging communicator/writers and 12 “next generation” science policy scholars, as well as editors of mainstream publications, to learn creative nonfiction writing – a genre that uses narrative, scene and storytelling – to engage and inform a general readership about the value and advantages of science and innovation policy. 

The fellows will get the chance to collaborate on writing projects, and the product of their labors – 12 creative nonfiction essays – will be published and distributed by the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction, a co-sponsor of "To Think, To Write, To Publish."

Lee Gutkind and David Guston, the principal investigators of the project, selected the 24 fellows from a pool of more than 200 applicants, originating from the United States, Ireland, India and the United Kingdom.

“The response was overwhelming and the competition was awesome,” says Gutkind, a CSPO writer in residence and professor in ASU's Hugh Downs School of Communication. “We had 200 applicants and nearly all of them were good enough, talented enough and accomplished enough to be selected. I wish we could double or even triple the size and scope of the program.”

The selected scholar fellows include Emily Fertig, Nicholas Genes, Melinda Gormley, Karen Hilyard, Allison Marsh, Vikrom Mathur, Grischa Metlay, Ramya Rajagopalan, Emmanuel Raymundo, David Schleifer, Niki Vermeulen and Joon-Ho Yu. The scholars come from a wide range of universities and organizations including Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health. With backgrounds as bloggers, university communicators and freelance writers, Chelsea Biondolillo, Roberta Chevrette, Maria Delany, Sarah Estes, Allison Fairbrother, Melissae Fellet, Molly Bain Frounfelter, Robert T. Gonzalez, Brian L. Kahn, Helena Rho, Jill Sisson Quinn and Lizzie Wade were chosen as communicator fellows.

“Emerging writers and scholars are clamoring to learn how to work together and to communicate ideas in a vivid way that connects to the general public through story,” Gutkind says.

Guston, the co-director of CSPO and Gutkind’s collaborator on the project, sees the project as “a great opportunity to expand the set of people who understand and participate in making science and innovation policy.”

The 18-month program will begin with an in-depth workshop on narrative techniques Oct. 3-7, at the Writer’s Center, in Bethesda, Md. A second workshop is scheduled for May 16-20, 2013, at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Ariz. Both centers are co-sponsors of the program.

The fellows will be mentored through the program by experienced writers and scholars. For more information, visit thinkwritepublish.org and cspo.org