Hendricks named coordinator of Johns Hopkins Science Writing programs

Melissa Hendricks, a veteran teacher and writer, has been named coordinator of two new graduate programs in Science Writing at Johns Hopkins University. Hendricks will help direct the Master of Arts in Science Writing and Graduate Certificate in Science Writing at Hopkins, both of which are available via an online/low-residency format that allows participation by students round the world.

Since launching earlier this year, the two Science Writing programs have attracted more than three dozen students who either applied or who transferred from a previous science-medical writing concentration in the MA in Writing program. The new degree and certificate replace the old concentration, which was available only in on-site classes in Washington or Baltimore.

"I'm delighted to join this exciting new approach to graduate education," said Hendricks, who has taught nonfiction and science writing courses, as well as the thesis course, in the Writing program since 2001. "The Hopkins Science Writing program grows out of two decades of success by the MA in Writing program, and we're proud to be the nation's only graduate degree or certificate in science writing that can be earned mostly online."

A key feature of the online/low-residency programs is the new Science Writing residency, where students gather for a brief on-site experience that provides intensive exposure to cutting-edge science or related topics. The first official residency was held in June in Washington, D.C., where students studied science policy, funding, and politics in visits to Capitol Hill, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, and with White House officials.

The MA in Writing program piloted the Science Writing residencies with "Medicine in Action," a week-long experience inside Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2013, and "In the Field," a 10-day experience in 2012 among researchers in the Bar Harbor-Acadia National Park area in Maine. More residencies are planned in the Shenandoah Mountains, on the Chesapeake Bay, and in laboratories in the Baltimore-Washington area.

"We have been teaching science-medical writing very well since 1992," said David Everett, director of the MA in Writing program at Hopkins, "but only those who lived in the area could benefit from it. Now, students anywhere can enjoy Hopkins quality in a convenient, flexible way, with some exciting residencies added to the equation."

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