By Sarah Brill, Science & Technology Editor
My passion for science didn’t emerge “normally.” Many people will say they are going into science because the people they know or love are in the field. They might say a TV show character inspired them, but for me, I was obsessed from day one. Even before I knew the depth of science, I was enamored with the miniature microscopes in ToysRUs. I used to take random objects I found outside and examine them in my limited range microscope for children. I laugh now thinking about how I shoved my eyes into those ocular lenses, as though that would help me visualize my sample better.
As I grew older, I attended a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) school, where I was immersed in the sciences. My knowledge of science broadened due to my “hand-on” science experience; programming robots in fourth grade, building rockets in fifth grade, and doing ecological conservation in eighth grade. . . among other things.
Entering high school, my love for science never weakened, but the tests became harder, and the homework became more tedious. Nevertheless, I persisted, finding my passion in biology, and moving my way through high school and committing to my former college.
My old college was a liberal arts focused school, having many required classes aimed at philosophy, English, and history. My previous college had many flaws, but it was where my love for English and journalism began to blossom. Not only was I introduced to topics I never thought I would find intriguing, I was grateful to be introduced to the ecological sciences as well. While my previous college offered me much, it was lacking in many areas, so I made the very difficult decision to transfer.
Enrolling in Stern as a transfer student was nerve racking to say the least. In the months leading up to my YU journey, I felt anxious, doubtful, sometimes even fearful of whether I would acclimate to such a unique environment or not. The week before school started, my YU email was set up, and I started to receive the mass amounts of, known at that time, sstuds and ystuds (emails). I immediately felt overwhelmed, but there was one email that captured my attention. It read something along the following: “Come write for the first edition of the YU Observer.” Now being the biology major that I am, I never thought I would have the opportunity to pursue my second passion, writing, in a more professional manner. I quickly wrote a draft about how hurricanes are occurring at a higher rate than usual, thinking it would be ignored; but, to my surprise, two days later, an editor reached out to me with comments and suggestions, and said that my article would, indeed, be in the YU Observer. And so began my journey as a science writer at the YU Observer.
While in my first year at Stern I wrote minimally, I found a kind of solace in the topics I was writing about. The writing was an escape from the chemical formulas I needed to balance later that night, or the Rashi script I knew would give me a pounding headache. I wrote about important, but not too controversial, topics, focusing primarily on science-related articles. By the end of the year, I had grown not only as a writer, but as a Stern student as well. I was shocked when halfway through the summer I received a text from the then Editor in Chief, Molly Meisels ‘20, asking me if I would like to lead the new Science & Technology section coming on as the only editor. I immediately said yes because who would pass up an opportunity like this. I naively took on the task thinking the section would not grow too much in the first semester. But boy was I wrong. Within two months I had over five writers a month writing for the section. It was time consuming, but fulfilling, to say the least.
Integrating the sciences and English was never something I considered until I came to Stern. At Stern, concepts are repeated in various different ways in different science classes, and oftentimes, it can lead to boredom; it did for me. Writing and editing for the Science & Technology section allowed me not only to embrace the knowledge I was absorbing from classes, but it also provided me with a creative outlet to research new topics and explore new ideas that were often not discussed in the classrooms of 245 Lexington Avenue.
As I leave Stern, I am heavied by a great sense of nostalgia and sadness as I know that I might not be able to write for a newspaper or edit for a Science & Technology section ever again. But with that sense of nostalgia comes a sense of relief knowing that this newspaper, the one that gave me so many opportunities to express myself in every way, will be in good hands.