Assignments

The "Awesome" Profile

Purpose: The goal of this article is to bring your subject—your profiled person and her/his area of scientific wonder—to life for the reader. You may select any scientist, researcher, graduate or undergraduate student, or professor for your article. Use descriptive details to craft a meaningful profile that makes your subject and her/his “awesome” interest tangible for the audience. Enable readers to feel that they “know” the person you are writing about, and in turn, become inspired by their story and field of interest. This article should demonstrate your ability to meaningfully describe a person and briefly explain a scientific topic within a clear, well-organized narrative.

Ultimately, you should strive to inspire your audience by reaching their “head” and “heart”—their intellect (logos) and emotion (pathos)—in order to connect with and educate the reader in a memorable way. The profile should be 1000-1200 words.

Audience: You are writing for the general public. They are unaware of the person you are writing about and unfamiliar with the scientific topic.

Context: The article will appear in an online magazine or newspaper, such as the New York Times or Popular Science. In each of these contexts there is no “automatic audience,” that is, as a writer you must creatively and intentionally capture and sustain the attention of potential readers if you want them to read and remember your story.

Form: Submit the article as an MS Word document or Adobe PDF with the following:

  • 1”X1” margins
  • Size 12 Times New Roman font
  • 1000-1200 words
  • Single-spaced text
  • Include page numbers

Additional requirements and tips:

  • Contact your subject by Session 14 and interview them. Refer to the “ Strategies for Interviewing Strangers ” section for information on how to contact and interview your subject. Securing an in-person meeting might be the most challenging aspect of this assignment, and will require persistence and clear communication.
  • Include at least one original photo with a caption. Additional images do not need to be original, and accordingly, they require an accurate citation.
  • Write a story rather than a list of facts and characteristics.
  • Craft a meaningful title, since these are the first words your readers will read as they decide whether or not to read your article.
  • Before you submit your draft, re-read your writing, preferably aloud, to detect ideas that need to be tightened and/or reorganized for clarity.

Due Dates:

  1. Upload your draft to the course website before class on Session 17.
  2. Peer-review workshop on Session 18.
  3. Upload your revised article to the course website before class on Session 19.

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