Mission & Objectives
Scientists & Crew
Interviews: Science Writer Christy Reed
As the journalist for the Dive and Discover website, Christy spends a lot of time at her computer. Here she is writing the daily journal.
How and why did you become a science writer?
I was an oceanography student at the University
of Washington in Seattle, and taking courses in English literature,
when I learned about graduate school in science writing. When I was
a junior, my ecology class read the book by Jonathan Wiener, The Beak
of the Finch, about the Galápagos, and I did a detailed report
on penguins and their evolution. I was inspired by Wieners writing
style and felt connected to the scientists, and Ive always wanted
to go to the Galápagos. I began thinking seriously about becoming
a science writer and applied to the graduate school at Columbia University
in Earth and Environmental Science Journalism.
I was extremely excited to go to New York. Id been living on
the West Coast my whole life, but had visited New York City as a child.
The science writing program at Columbia is fantastic. Its relatively
new. I was in the programs second graduating class. In the first
year, we worked with science graduate students working on their Ph.D.s
at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In the second year, we were students
at Columbia's Journalism School. We had to do two masters projects,
one in science and one in science writing. In my first year I went
out to sea on the RV Knorr with scientists from LDEO and WHOI
and did gravity cores and a multi-corer to investigate the extent
of the Little Ice Age. My second project consisted of writing a long
feature article about the Asian longhorn beetle, which is attacking
maple trees throughout New York City and Chicago.
Before I graduated from the J-School, I started working as an intern
at Scientific American. I now work as the associate editor at Geotimes
Magazine. Geotimes is primarily for earth scientists and people interested
in earth science, including students, the public, and professionals.
I also freelance when I have time.
takes a fishing lesson from Jack Healy with the island of Fernandina
in the background.
What do you have to do to get a Dive and Discover
page ready each day?
Every morning I take pictures and interview
people about whats going on that day. In the afternoon, I write up
the interview and start working on the daily journal, which I try
to get finished around dinnertime. For the rest of the evening, we
edit the material for the Web page and work on the slide show, which
Kate and Rhian have been putting together during the day. Dan and
I generally try to decide topics for the daily journal the day before
I write each one. For instance, the engineering article for Sept.
8 was inspired by feedback from students, who sent in questions to
the web site about how we make freshwater on the ship.
Its exciting to wake up every day and have something new going on.
Im always at the computer, taking pictures, talking to the crew and
scientists, and finding out whats going on. Its really exciting
that were reaching thousands of kids, thousands of future scientists
and science writers. Even if the students reading our web site dont
go into science or any related field, they are learning about it and
can use that information in whatever career they choose because knowing
science can help you understand your world better.
Whats the most challenging thing youve ever
This is the most challenging thing Ive ever
done, being the science writer for Dive and Discover, because it meant
going beyond my comfort zone. It means working on a daily deadline,
working with a whole new group of people Id never met before, and
going out to sea which I know can be a lot of fun but can also be
challenging. Im gung-ho to do this type of thing more often. For
instance, Id like to do a Dive and Discover project involving coastal
studies, to teach students about the relationship between the oceans
and the continents.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Im learning how to river kayak; Ive sea kayaked
in the San Juan Islands and along the west coast of Canada. I also
like to roller-blade, bike, snow ski, and sail. I love swing music
and swing dancing. When I lived in New York City I used to go swing
dancing on top of the World Trade Center. I also like to SCUBA dive.
interviews Karen Harpp for her interview that was posted four
SCUBA diving must be interesting for someone
trained in oceanography. How did you learn how to SCUBA?
When I was about 9 years old, my family and
I went to Sea World, in San Diego. They had an exhibit where you could
put on a wet suit and wade in a pool with little tiger sharks. Then
the pool deepened, and you had to snorkel through a coral reef display
with fish. I got terrified, and my brother had to come back and get
me because I was still clinging to the side of the exhibit, refusing
to go back or forward. The trainers had to crawl through the brush
to come take me out because I was so scared.
Part of learning to SCUBA dive when I was 14 involved conquering my
fear. I went with my family on a trip to Australia where I first used
SCUBA equipment. Being down under water was so much different from
being above the water snorkeling. I felt in control of what I could
see and where I was. So when I was 18, I got certified and I love
it. I saw sharks for the first time this year in the Caribbean, black
tipped reef sharks and nurse sharks. Sharks are incredibly majestic.
My dream experience is to see a whale shark. Ive been diving in Puget
Sound in Washington, and Monterey Bay in California where I swam through
the kelp forest and saw a harbor seal close up. Ive also been diving
in Thailand. Im not afraid of snorkeling anymore and seeing the sea
lions swim all around us in Santa Fé Bay in the Galápagos
gave me a tremendous thrill.
prepares to go snorkeling with the sea lions around Santa Fé bay.
Tell us a bit about your family.
I grew up in Irvine California. When I was in
junior high school my family and I moved to Redmond, Washington. My
Dads a retired captain from Delta Airlines. Mom has been an interior
designer and a real estate agent. And, when theyre not traveling
around the world, both my parents love to garden. My younger brother,
Bob, is also a pilot, for a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. Im very
proud of my brother, and I cant wait to visit him in Alaska so he
can take me flying. My family is very important to me. My brother
and I grew up with the philosophy that you never really know what
to expect next and its good to venture out to see what tomorrow might