My year in the news

My year in the news

Jan 9
Lauren Quinn, ACES Media Specialist
  

It’s my anniversary. As of last week, I have been writing for the College of ACES News and Public Affairs office for one year. I was assigned to cover research news out of the Department of Crop Sciences. I’ve never taken a course in journalism, but my boss had a hunch I had a knack for writing about science. After all, I had been a scientist myself for most of the 15 years leading up to my big career switch.

I was a plant ecologist, studying invasive species in natural ecosystems. Like many Ph.D.’s, my research focus was pretty narrow. So, although I knew a lot of the basics about plants, I didn’t have much professional experience with most of the diverse study systems being investigated in the crop sciences department. Because I’ve been following the department’s research over the past year, however, I now know that nematode neurons are more anatomically diverse than previously thought, that horseradish can fight cancer, and that pits filled with woodchips can reduce nitrogen runoff from farm fields. Who knew? 

That’s the value of turning research into news: I give the public answers to questions they might not have thought to ask, to inspire “wow” moments about science. That said, a lot of what I cover has very direct, practical implications, especially for the farming community. Either way, it feels good to know I’m helping science break out of the confines of the ivory tower to mingle with the masses. As we embark on 2017, I am looking forward to another year of getting the story of ACES out to the world.