By Alyson Smith
Monica May, a science writer at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), recently won the SANDSWA logo design contest. Her concept features a lighthouse – a reference to San Diego’s fishing and shipping history and May’s view of science journalism as illuminating facts to protect our society.
May enjoys learning about both science and how authors craft compelling stories. After earning a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from UC Santa Cruz, she worked in a lab at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology studying dengue fever. In pursuit of a position that combined her loves of science and storytelling, she worked for Canale Communications (a life science-focused communications agency) before moving to her current position.
May puts her science writing skills – many of which she learned through the Science Writing I course at UC San Diego Extension – to work at SBP, where she has been for six months. She writes press releases about institute research, coordinates media relations, and writes a newsletter for donors and the general public. She is also tasked with handling the institute’s social media accounts, and she enjoys the challenge of effectively communicating science on each platform. “It’s a cool way to story-tell,” she says.
May joined SANDSWA after the kick-off happy hour last July. She appreciates this opportunity to meet local science communicators and participate in members-only events such as the behind-the-scenes tour of the Fleet Science Center. She encourages everyone in (or interested in) this field to join SANDSWA and explore science writing courses at UCSD Extension. She believes that “especially in this digital age, it’s so important to know people and to have a network and community.”
Outside of communicating science, May enjoys reading, hiking with her beagle, and exploring San Diego’s arts and culture scene.