Meet new member Paul McDivitt

Paul McDivitt, a communications specialist at the University of Minnesota, shares #WhySciWri in this Q&A.

A headshot of Paul McDivitt

Paul McDivitt

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I'm a Communications Specialist at the University of Minnesota. I communicate agricultural research findings to farmers and crop consultants.

Q: How did you get interested in science writing?

A: As an undergrad, I was lucky enough to participate in a university-sponsored documentary film trip to Copenhagen, Denmark for the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference. We attended the conference, went on UN-sponsored press tours to renewable energy sites, and interviewed experts from around the world about potential solutions to climate change. This experience led me to a graduate program in journalism at the University of Colorado, home of the Center for Environmental Journalism.

Q: Describe a typical day.

A: I work with university scientists and Extension educators to write blog posts, record podcast episodes, create videos, and more. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is that we're helping both farmers and the environment.

Q: What's the website you visit most often for work? Or, how about your favorite social media account that you follow?

A: For work and for pleasure, I think Twitter is the best place for science writers to learn from a variety of journalists, scientists, and other subject-matter experts. Since the pandemic began, I've sought out experts on Twitter who can quickly and clearly communicate the latest science on COVID-19. Some of my favorites include Natalie Dean, Trevor Bedford, Scott Gottlieb, Ashish Jha, Tom Frieden, and Helen Branswell.

Q: If you could write about any scientific event/breakthrough/topic (past, present or future) what would it be and why?

A: I wrote my master's thesis on communicating climate change science, and I remain fascinated by how we, as a society, use climate science to inform political and policy decision-making.

Q: Why did you join NASW and what kinds of professional connections/opportunities are you seeking?

A: I was an NASW student member during graduate school and was awarded a travel fellowship to attend the annual NASW conference. At this point in my career, I want to support the organization's mission, which helped me when I was first starting out. I'm also looking forward to attending future NASW conferences and networking with, and learning from, science writers from around the country.

Follow Paul on twitter @PaulMcDivitt

Image by Jody Davis from Pixabay

May. 19, 2020

Drexel University Online

Leon Levy Center for Biography fellowship