UCSD Extension Coursework

Coursework towards a Certificate in Science Communication through UC San Diego Extension. 

I. News & Features Writing

II. Self-editing & Publishing for Web

Final Pieces

a seven-armed sea star

thinking small

What kind of paintings get made in a biology lab? The tiniest organisms on our planet–microbes–provide an exciting new medium and are making waves in the art world: Petri Dish to Big Picture: How Microbes Inspire Creativity


Progressive Writing Assignment #1

Every year, artists embark on a quest to create paintings with a rather unorthodox material: microbes. These tiny organisms–bacteria, yeast, and more–are often invisible to our eyes in individual numbers, yet they are found almost everywhere from the bottom of the ocean to our own tongues. Since 2014, the American Society for Microbiology has hosted Agar Art, a competition accepting submissions by petri dish rather than canvas in order to bring the beauty of microbes out of the lab and into the view of broader audiences. However, this living medium often has a mind of its own. How do microbe enthusiasts work with their tiny collaborators to craft works of art?

Critique of Classmate’s Writing Exercise #2

Kokila’s piece can be read here

Hey Kokila! First of all, I loved this story. As someone facing a similar journey as a woman in STEM, I resonate with this a lot.

I think this story could overall benefit from more descriptive language. I loved your description of Dr. Szpara’s whiteboard with multicolored scrawl. That’s the type of description that I’d love to see in place of the prior sentence; something like “juxtaposing chaotic energy with efficient organization” doesn’t provide quite the same level of visual. Maybe think about specific details of her office that show this, something like “papers scattered but heaped into piles designating topics” or whatever kind of concrete things lay around in her chaotic yet organized office.

I also think the story may become stronger if you dove more into this central idea that even though you aren’t a virologist by trade, you found a great sense of connection, community, and mentorship, meaning that good mentors can sometimes be found in unlikely places. I think you touch on it in that last paragraph, but adding more about it earlier in the story might be good as well.

Overall, really nice job, looking forward to your future writing!

Critique of one of your classmates’ Final Progressive Writing Assignment #2

Lisa’s piece can be read here.

Hi Lisa! This was a gorgeously written story. I love your detailed descriptions– I can almost see the sun-kissed figs in my own hand!

Personally, I think I might prefer the story without subheaders, just since it flows together so well even without them. However, I do think you used them thoughtfully and the story is effective and powerful with them as well.

Wonderful work, this was a pleasure to read!