The Embryo Project (EP) and the Embryo Project Encyclopedia thrive on the participation of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and established scholars. There are many ways to join the EP and to increase widespread scientific literacy about developmental biology and reproductive medicine.
Writing Seminar: To write descriptive articles for the encyclopedia, student researchers enroll in the EP Writing Seminar. The seminar is a weekly writing workshop available to professional, graduate, and exceptional undergraduate students. The EP offers the seminar every semester, and the seminar is open to students from all majors and fields. Students may take the seminar more than once for credit. Prospective participants must apply to, and be accepted in, the class before they can enroll in it.
In the course, students learn to research, write, revise, and peer-critique articles aimed at inclusive and public audiences. They also learn to craft historical narratives and to follow the style of the Embryo Project Encyclopedia. Students each write several descriptive and focused encyclopedia entries related to their interests and to developmental biology or reproductive medicine. Articles written for the class are eligible for publication in the digital encyclopedia, pending editorial review and fact checking.
Writing Internship: People who have completed the Writing Seminar, and who are not enrolled at ASU, are also eligible for to apply for a writing internship. Interns pursue advanced writing projects specific to the intern. Prospective interns should contact the EP’s editor in chief for more information.
Editing Seminar: To edit articles submitted to the encyclopedia for publication, student researchers must first train in the EP Editing Seminar. The seminar is a weekly editing workshop available to those who excelled in the writing seminar and to those pursuing graduate studies in publishing. The EP offers the seminar every semester, and the seminar is open to students from all majors and fields. Students may take the seminar more than once for credit. Prospective participants must individually discuss their enrollment with the EP’s editor in chief.
In the course, students learn basic scientific communication theory, which they use as they learn to fact check, copy edit, and identify and fix content and syntax problems in texts. Students also learn to use a suite of editing programs and websites and to code text into xhtml format. They also construct a suite of professional documents, with which they can begin freelancing. Students can transfer their new skills and tools to many sectors, especially to academic publishing and to non academic publishing.
Editing Internship: People who have completed the Editing Seminar, and who are not enrolled at ASU, are eligible to apply for editing internships. Interns pursue advanced projects specific to the intern. Prospective interns should contact the EP’s editor in chief for more information.
EP Essays: The EP publishes a special series of essays called EP Essays. The series provides scholars a venue by which they can public work that is open access, archived in scholarly databases, and can be found freely by massive audiences. Such essays are written by scholars, either early career or established. The essays are also single-blind peer-reviewed by established scholars.
Similar to the descriptive articles in the Encyclopedia, the EP Essays use historical narratives to contextualize topics in developmental biology and reproductive medicine, and they aim for an inclusive audience that includes people with at least some post-secondary education.
Unlike the descriptive encyclopedia articles, the EP Essays provide arguments. Each Essay has a clear thesis and provides reasons for or against that thesis.
A text is eligible for submission as an Essay Insofar as it offers a reasoned thesis supported by scholarly sources, is about developmental biology or reproductive medicine, uses historical narratives, develops an interplay between science and society, and aims for inclusive audiences.
The EP pursues several kinds of scholarly research, and people can join the project to pursue that research. People interested in any of the options below should contact the EP’s director and primary investigator, Jane Maienschein, for more information.
Honors and Undergraduate Theses: The EP has a strong tradition of helping undergraduates pursue and complete theses related to the history of reproductive medicine and developmental biology.
Science Outreach and Communication: With its Encyclopedia, social media campaigns, and outreach events, the EP has established several new models by which researchers and universities engage public audiences about science. The EP works to make those models explicit and to test their efficacy.
To research those models, the EP collaborates, and encourages new collaborations, with scholars who have expertise in public communication of science. The EP especially invites collaborations from recent or soon-to-be PhDs who are interested to construct a post-doctoral program of study in science outreach or communication. The EP also encourages collaborations with students looking for doctoral research projects in science outreach, either at ASU or elsewhere. It also encourages students to enroll in the Biology and Society graduate program to pursue studies in science communication.
University Education and Writing: The EP has established several regular courses at the university level, including the EP Writing Seminar and the EP Editing Seminar. Especially for the Writing Seminar, the EP has established new models of university education, models that help students learn to write well, to write for inclusive audiences, to write history, and to learn about and explain science. The EP works to make that model explicit and to test its efficacy.
To research that model, the EP collaborates, and encourages new collaborations, with scholars who have expertise in university and science education. The EP especially invites collaborations from recent or soon-to-be PhDs who are interested to construct a post-doctoral program of study in university education. The EP also encourages collaborations with students looking for doctoral research projects in university education, either at ASU or elsewhere. It also encourages students to enroll in the Biology and Society graduate program to pursue studies in science education, especially in Sara Brownell’s Biology Education Research Lab.
Digital and Computational HPS: The EP is a member of the Digital HPS Consortium, and it pursues research in computational and digital humanities. It works closely with its sister project, the MBL History Project, on efforts to digitize items related to the history of science. Furthermore, it collaborates with researchers in the Computational HPS and Digital Innovation Group to pursue computational analyses of the items in the Embryo Project Encyclopedia.
The EP is led by a team of graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. Those graduate students who excel in the EP Writing and Editing Seminars move up in the organizations, and they are eligible to instruct courses, become managing editors, design research, and pursue special projects. Former leaders have gone on to careers in higher education, in federal government administration, publishing, and professional scientific outreach.
“The Embryo Project, an Integrated Approach to History, Practices, and Social Contexts of Embryo Research,” by Jane Maienschein and Manfred Laubichler, Journal of the History of Biology (2010).
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