Profile Article

Write about some aspect of science or technology by interviewing and writing a profile of someone working in the field—a graduate student or post-doc who’s running a lab, or a professor (not one whose class you’re currently taking).


  • Class #8: Proposal Due
  • Class #11: Progress Report: i.e., you should have set up your interview by now and/or done background reading (the progress report will be oral, not written)
  • Class #14: First Draft Due, Workshop
  • Class #21: Revision Due


Write about some aspect of science or technology by writing a profile of someone in the field—most likely a post-doc who’s running a lab, a grad student, or a professor. You will conduct an in-person interview. Your interview will not appear in Q & A form but, rather, be integrated into a story that has a clearly defined focus.

Think of your assignment as similar to a feature article in a newspaper such as the New York Times, or in a news magazine. Review the principles of interviewing that we read in Hancock’s Ideas into Words.


We will workshop as a whole class as we did with the previous assignments, and then in groups.

Print out, read, and comment/ask questions on your partners’ drafts before class. Choose 2–3 things to focus on to get the workshop started. For example:

  • Do the character and personality of the person being profiled come through?
  • Are the subject’s research interests and/or career path clear?
  • Is the research or other work explained clearly and with some depth?
  • Are terms and concepts explained for non-specialists?
  • Does the science get too dense in places?
  • Does the profile have an overall focus? Does it feel unified?
  • Is the writing clear at the sentence level?
  • Do sentences and paragraphs link well?
  • Is there something you’d like to hear more about?


Make sure to include a Sources list, including the interview itself with the date of the interview (even if that’s your only source). As you revise, especially consider:

  • What’s the story I’m telling?
  • Does the balance of parts feel right?
  • Can readers “see” the person I interviewed?
  • Have I left key parts of the science or technology unexplained?

When you hand in your new draft, please include a cover sheet answering these questions along with the first draft with my comments.

  1. What has changed in this draft? Please be specific.
  2. What do you think is the most interesting thing about the story you’re telling? Why?
  3. What was most challenging about writing this article?


  • 3½–4 pp. double-spaced (1000–1250 words)