Meet the Editors: Caitlin Kirkwood

We are featuring short interviews with each of our editors, so that you can get to know those folks who are responsible for highlighting your posts each week as editors’ selections. For the third in our series, meet Caitlin Kirkwood, who picks the best posts in the fields of neuroscience, engineering, biology, medicine, and health.

Hello! Let’s start with first things first. Where are you from, what do you do how did you get into science?

Hello everyone! I hail from Pittsburgh, PA. Proud home of the black and gold. Currently, I'm a PhD student studying the neurobiological underpinnings of Alzheimer's disease with psychosis. My interest in science began early in life. My Dad and I were always starting projects like creating scaled mobiles of the solar system or building primitive radios out of gum bands (Pittsburghese for rubber bands), TP tubes, and a little copper wire. In high school, I took every science course offered and started research internships during the summers. I signed up as a bioengineering major in college and the rest is history.

What is the name of your blog and why did you choose that name – what does it mean?

My blog is named The Synaptic Scoop. I dish the scoop on hot off the press, perplexing, useful, and otherwise just plain cool neuroscience research.

How did you get into science blogging and science writing? What were the early influences on you regarding your blogging style and topics?

My blogging style has been greatly influenced by several people that I would consider my blogging heroes, many of which also happened to be women in academic science (Christie Wilcox, SciCurious, and ScienceSeeker's own Jordan Gaines Lewis to name a few). Their writing styles have a common thread of making science entertaining but also incredibly accessible by conveying complex concepts in plain English for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Starting out, topic inspiration was more difficult than I imagined – I figured my everyday research experiences would fuel my writing – but in reality topic selection has snowballed into a much more fun collaborative endeavor. Mostly, I scan through Twitter, Facebook, and journal feeds for something that makes me stop and want to know more, but I also field a lot of questions from family and friends. ‘Why are we afraid of heights?’ or ‘How do our brains work in outer space?’ were examples of topics fueled by the best kinds of late night conversation with good friends.

What is your blog about? Who is your target audience, and why do you think people should read your blog?

The Synaptic Scoop is about everything neuroscience and how it relates to the human experience. I write in layman’s terms for anyone that has an interest in how the mind works.

How do you spend your time when you're not doing science or science blogging? Any interesting hobbies?

Outside of science and blogging, I enjoy running, spinning, and hanging out with my cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sgt. Pepper.

Why did you decide to become an editor at ScienceSeeker? How do you use ScienceSeeker aside from when you're making your editors' selections?

Being a stickler for organization, I found ScienceSeeker to be a tremendous resource for the aggregation and categorization of all my favorite science blogs online – and a great venue for discovering new ones! I wanted to become a ScienceSeeker editor to help promote the remarkable science writing I was reading and begin facilitating discussions around important or controversial topics in science. I believe that as ScienceSeeker grows it will help the science community engage in worldwide discussion on today’s communication medium of choice, the fast-paced internet.

Aside from using ScienceSeeker for making editors selections and uploading posts from my own site, I use it to learn about the latest trends and debates occurring both in science and science journalism.

As you make your editors' selections, what sorts of things do you look for? What's the best way a blogger can get your attention, as an editor?

My editor’s selections have titles that usually reach out and grab my attention or make me feel like I need to know more. The posts also contain original content, usually with scientific citations, and often tell a story or meet a need, so when I’m through reading I feel as though I learned something valuable.

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