My Most Memorable BCO Moment: The Power of Words and Knowledge

By on September 22nd, 2010 Categories: Inside

I fell in love with writing and the power of words in first grade when my teacher said we could borrow any books we’d like from her in-class library. I devoured almost everything she had, amazed by the authors’ abilities to take me far out of my suburban Detroit existence into exotic worlds populated by people who didn’t work on the line for Ford or GM.

I became a science writer after college mostly because it was something I seemed to do well — plus learning new things has always fascinated me. If I wrote a story about the cells that store fat or the genetics of plant breeding, I got a short course in the subject from the researcher as a bonus. And there didn’t seem to be a lot of competition — not a lot of other people seemed to like reading research studies and asking scientists questions, translating the academic/scientific jargon into words people who lived outside of the ivory towers and gleaming laboratories could understand.

Over the years, I’ve written about many different scientific disciplines, but the writing I do for is some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. It’s always nice to get a compliment, especially when I’ve agonized over crafting a story that’s accurate AND understandable. But when someone writes a note saying that the site is her lifeline and helped her stay sane while being treated for cancer…well, it’s pretty incredible to know that my words have helped someone successfully manage the disease. I always keep the audience in mind when I’m writing for the site, but hearing from a visitor how the site has helped her or him personally brings home the power of words and knowledge.

I feel honored to be a part of and look forward to developing a little closer relationship with those of you who read the blogs.

Jamie DePolo is senior editor at She's been writing science stories for non-scientists for 20 years. Her spare time is devoted to spoiling her assorted canines and felines and cheering for the Detroit Red Wings.

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