Next-gen science as told by next-gen journalists

If you feel like you could use a boost of hope for the future, don’t miss the “SN 10: Scientists to Watch” profiles in this issue. For the seventh year, we’re featuring early- and mid-career researchers who are racing to solve big problems and answer big questions. In doing so, they’re creating a dazzling future for science.

Each year, I enjoy learning about the 10 scientists, marveling at how much they have already achieved and also how far they aim to go. And in a stroke of serendipity — and the good planning by our special projects editor Elizabeth Quill — the authors of this year’s profiles are all early- to mid-career science journalists.

“Scientists are usually excited to share their work,” said associate editor Cassie Martin, who wrote three of the profiles, when I asked about the experience of writing for SN 10. “What makes SN 10 so special is that we get to know these people on a deeper level. They pull back the curtain, letting us see what makes them tick.”

Staff writer Nikk Ogasa had a similar reaction. “It’s inspiring and fascinating to hear about someone following their passions for so many years.” In the case of Robin Wordsworth, the planetary scientist at Harvard University who Ogasa profiled, his love of science fiction and dream of someday standing on another world has driven him to use supercomputers to replicate the climate of early Mars.

“I’m grateful for the trust the scientists give us to tell their stories,” said Aina Abell, Science News’ editorial assistant, who wrote three profiles. “That’s why I feel an enormous sense of responsibility not only to represent their science accurately, but also give our readers a sense of their heart and their humanity: who they are, what drives them, how they perceive the world. It makes for really electric and inspiring conversations.”

That comes through in her profile of biological anthropologist Tina Lasisi of the University of Southern California, who is applying scientific methodology to better understand human variation — including why some people, like herself, have curly hair.

Former Science News intern Anna Gibbs wrote a profile, as did Asa Stahl, a Ph.D. student in astrophysics at Rice University who was our AAAS Mass Media Fellow in the summer.

Ogasa was also an intern; in fact, many of our staff writers began their careers as interns at Science News. Each year, we host three interns and one Mass Media Fellow. We provide extensive mentoring to help these promising writers build skills, explore potential career paths and, of course, produce top-quality journalism. They bring us their energy, new ideas, curiosity and excitement about covering science, and we’re lucky to have them with us.

Over the years, many of our interns and early-career journalists have gone on to be leaders in science journalism and science communications. I’m proud that we’ve been able to help these amazing young people on the way to achieving their career goals and know that the future of science journalism is in good hands.

Nancy Shute is editor in chief of Science News Media Group. Previously, she was an editor at NPR and US News & World Report, and a contributor to National Geographic and Scientific American. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers.