IT’S ALL IN THE TELLING: The Newell Scholar Narrative Science Writing Seminar Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell
Ever wonder how science writers captivate an audience with a subject as seemingly uninteresting as a puddle of water or a mound of rubble? How do such writers as Robert Sapolsky and Stephen J. Gould spin science to make it accessible and engaging without losing content? And when a scientific concept is used as the premise for a movie plot but is spun out too far, doesn’t the public deserve better? Getting people to care about science requires their understanding. This course will give the budding science writer tools and techniques to hook readers with an engaging narrative from the first sentence. Students will begin by reading and deconstructing science essays as well as writing short essays (250 to 500 words) to practice voice and story arc in preparation for writing a feature science essay (2,000 words), which the class will critique within workshops. Students will be encouraged to submit finished work to general interest science magazines and finished essays will receive feedback from the Slate Magazine science editor. Guest chat hosts will join the class periodically, including industry writers and editors who will provide diverse perspectives on the science writing industry.
O’Connell-Rodwell is a faculty member of Stanford University’s School of Medicine and a world-renowned expert on elephants.
Over the last 20 years, she has dedicated her research to studying elephant communication and how their societies are constructed and maintained.
O’Connell-Rodwell’s research has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and popular magazines including Smithsonian, The Writer and Africa Geographic.
She is also the author of the internationally acclaimed nonfiction science memoir, The Elephant’s Secret Sense and has published An Elephant’s Life, which is a photo book.
O’Connell-Rodwell co-founded and is the CEO of Utopia Scientific, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and science education.
Her other interests include ecology, health, women’s issues and art.
Below are some of the presentations that were held during Dr. O'Connell-Rodwell's time with Georgia College as the inaugural Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar.
The Science of Sound: Can Elephants Hear Through Their Feet? Dominance Hierarchies: What Does it Take to be an Elephant Don? The Elephant-Human Interface and Associated Conservation Dilemmas The screening will be followed by a discussion on creative non-fiction storytelling.
Special screening of the documentary film Elephant King: March 7- Arts & Sciences Auditorium. The screening will be followed by a discussion on creative non-fiction storytelling.
Using Animal Behavior to Solve Conservation Problems: From Coral Polyps to Flamingos to Elephants
Employing the Conservancy Model to Ensure Human Health:An HIV Case Study
A Writer’s Guide to the Changing Face of Publishing: The Art of Storytelling in a Digital Age