Inquiring minds

  • Anil Ananthaswamy ('00)
  • Becky Bach ('14)
  • Elizabeth Devitt ('13)
  • Jennie Dusheck ('85)
  • Melissae Fellet ('11)
  • Heather Rock Woods ('94)
  • Helen Shen ('12)
  • Danielle Venton ('11)

Although the banana slug—UC Santa Cruz’s mascot—is considered a solitary creature, a team of “slugs” came together to create the inaugural edition of this research magazine. More specifically, eight Bay Area alums representing every decade of the Science Communication Program returned to campus to report each of the feature stories.

The internationally recognized program was founded in 1981 by John Wilkes, who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English literature from UCSC. “The cross-disciplinary emphasis at Santa Cruz is great for producing science journalists,” said Wilkes, in an oral history interview with one of his students, Sarah Rabkin (SciCom ‘85).

Under the guidance of director Robert Irion (SciCom ‘88) since 2006, the program differs from all other journalism studies by requiring applicants to have a background as a working scientist. So far, about 300 writers have completed the SciCom Program, forming a slug network that stretches around the world. Our alumni cover the science beat at National Geographic, NPR, the New York Times, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, major research universities and medical centers, museums—and, right here under the redwoods.