Creative Science Writing Internship
The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 Creative Science Writing Internship is a one semester fellowship created for UA graduate students pursuing a graduate degree in creative writing, including fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The program goals are to increase the intern’s knowledge of the scientific process, conduct of research and to improve the student’s skills in constructing engaging forms and narratives for the presentation of scientific research, while improving his/her own research skills.
Interns are highly qualified University of Arizona (UA) graduate students in creative writing, who are funded to develop skills, strategies, and works in poetry or creative prose that communicate science. The Creative Writing Internship uses Biosphere 2 as a setting for observation and investigation related to the intern’s own interests in writing and science. The goals of the Creative Science Writing Program are 1) to increase the intern’s knowledge of scientific process and research conducted at Biosphere 2; 2) to improve the student’s research skills as well as her/his skills in constructing engaging forms and narratives for the presentation of scientific research; and 3) to disseminate understanding of science and Biosphere 2 to a wider audience. Additionally, the student will gain experience in presenting her/his research and work in a public setting.
Ideal candidates are UA graduate students in any of the three genres within the Creative Writing MFA program – creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Graduate students should have a strong interest in honing their abilities to communicate science effectively through creative writing and/or draw inspiration for the creative process through interaction with scientists, the scientific process, and observation of a world-class research center.
The Intern’s award is $3,200 for an eight-week summer semester tenure. In addition, funds may be available to support materials and production costs.
Ideally the intern should produce a written work suitable for external submission within the genre of the student and/or for publication on the Biosphere website. The student will also be asked to give a public reading/presentation of the piece at one of Biosphere 2 Science Saturday programs. The intern will be asked to discuss their experience in the program at a meeting of the Biosphere 2 Science and Society Fellows as part of their training in science communication.
Interns devote 20 hours per week working on the internship, and visit Biosphere 2 roughly twice per week. This includes interviewing Biosphere 2 scientists and staff, as well as observing research, tours, and outreach at Biosphere 2. Interns are also expected to help document the internship by maintaining a blog, with the goal of demonstrating and documenting science / art collaboration. Opportunities exist to collaborate with a variety of artists in residence at Biosphere 2. Creative Writing faculty and Biosphere 2 research staff will be available to mentor the student.
The schedule allows for flexibility and continued evolvement and enhancement of the program within the intern’s interest and discipline. We ask that students take an active role in shaping their own experience and welcome feedback as the summer progresses. We recognize that the student may wish to present her/his work in the Creative Writing Program’s autumn workshops for suggestions and revisions before scheduling a public presentation.
Esmé Schwall is an MFA student in creative writing at the University of Arizona. Before moving to the desert and committing to the writing life, Esmé taught high school English in the Midwest, and studied traditional music in Madagascar and France as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. She earned her BA in American Studies/Women’s Studies at Carleton College in 1997. Esmé is now Fiction Editor for Sonora Review and cellist with the band Seashell Radio. She is at work on a collection of short stories about survival and the search for home.