May 2015 SWAC Seminar Series: Mark Derewicz

Posted: 06 03, 2015

Mark Derewicz is a translator. As the Science Communications Manager at UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care, Mark works to translate the language of science – an esoteric tongue necessarily peppered with jargon – into English that more general audiences can understand. Because of his experience and skills in science communication, Mark was a welcomed speaker for SWAC’s Seminar Series on May 26.IMG_4984

Mark talked with us about his foray into science writing – from his beginnings as a history teacher to his transition as a feature writer/editor at UNC’s Endeavors and then to his present-day position. He provided helpful writing tips and described some basic aspects of the job: pitching a story, procuring engaging quotes from scientists, and molding the details of complex research into big-picture, accessible ideas. Moreover, Mark stressed the importance of building rapport with both researchers and reporters.

For scientists interested in science journalism, it is essential to keep in mind that the bland, detail-oriented terminology and structure necessary for academic publications run counter to the more accessible language necessary for broader audiences. The ability to switch flexibly between these two forms of communication is crucial to becoming a successful translator of science, and Mark Derewicz is a great example to follow.

Mark provided excellent writing tips and examples of other great science writers, which can be found on SWAC’s Helpful Links page.


By: Zan Isgett

Peer edited and Reviewed by Nicole Baker & Jonathan Susser.


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This article was co-published on the SWAC Blog, The Pipettepen.



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