Lehigh University's nationally and internationally known Science and Environmental Writing Program in the Department of Journalism and Communication graduated its first student in 1978. Every year since then, a small but select number of sought-after majors and minors have been graduated and have gone on to rewarding careers in media, industry, government, consulting and nonprofit organizations.
Science and Environmental Writing Majors
The science and environmental writing major is ideal for students who want to write about pure and applied scientific research, technology, engineering, environment, medicine and health for a variety of audiences varying from the general public to scientists and engineers. In addition to learning how to write about these fields, students can gain experience in media analysis and research, risk communication, and national and international politics of science, environment, medicine and health.
Science and Environmental Writing Minors
Many students who minor in science writing do so because they realize how important communication is to success in their science and engineering fields. Almost all of these students find that science and environmental writing gives them a much-needed advantage over others in the workplace. Because they learn to think and write critically, they often find themselves assigned to special projects or as project team leaders. Partly because of their introduction to science and environmental writing, a few have altered their career paths to focus on writing or other pursuits, such as law.
Because hydraulic fracturing or fracking of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is a major environmental controversy that gets a great deal of media coverage, it has been the ideal subject for a research and writing project in a Lehigh course called "Environment, the Public and the Mass Media." In the fall of 2012 and 2013, the students’ intense study culminated in a series of research papers, each on an aspect of the fracking controversy, written to serve as a Web guide for readers. In 2013, the students also produced short videos about their research findings.
Places where our Alumni found jobs...
Available to science and environmental writing students at the junior or senior level, this program allows students to attend major scientific meetings as fully accredited science reporters, gaining “real world” experience. Students observe professional science writers in action and write their own stories about the scientific symposia and press conferences held at the meetings. Another segment of the program provides practical experiences in scientific research and science writing for students who work on and write about research projects directed by university scientists and engineers.
Internships give students an opportunity to work in a professional setting while earning credit. Science and Environmental Writing students have interned with organizations such as: