An Interview with YSP Blogger Peggy Ni - March Volunteer of the Month
This month the tables were turned as Peggy Ni was interviewed as our volunteer of the month for March! Peggy is a 4th year Immunology graduate student. She has been volunteering with YSP since the end of her first year as a graduate student, 3 years ago. Peggy joined YSP as a continuation of her science outreach during high school and college, when she taught a class for middle school girls on computer technology. After hearing great things about YSP’s program and organization, she contacted volunteers she knew, got on the list serve, and the rest is history. Her first experience was as a tutor for a Summer Focus student, an experience she found rewarding as she got to watch the progression of her student over the 8-week program.
Her latest endeavor has been writing the YSP Blog, a project she started and considers “my baby”. You see, scientific writing is Peggy’s passion and this blog she hopes is the first step towards a career in science writing. She sees herself as a writer at a major scientific journal or at a more public interest magazine one day. Peggy first approached Jen Mosher to discuss writing a blog last year as a way to build her writing portfolio, as Peggy has never had journalism experience. Having been a volunteer, Peggy knew how awesome and rewarding volunteering with YSP is and she and Jen recognized the benefits of using a blog to promote YSP’s experiences and special events to the Wash U and wider community. New students who are curious about YSP can log on to the website and with one click, access Peggy’s blog to get a feeling for what volunteering is like first hand. As a consequence of starting this blog, Peggy was invited to write a blog for MidSci, a local biotech company who recently started a partnership with YSP, improving her writing credentials.
In writing the blog, she has particularly enjoyed writing the Volunteer of the Month. She said, “It’s nice to profile someone exceptional every month. It just makes them feel good, I think.” One goal for the blog this summer is following the progress of a few Summer Focus students through the course of the program to share their perspectives as they learn the ins and outs of conducting research and presenting their work.
What does she feel about being interviewed herself? Well, she found the experience very different. “I really appreciate all the interviewees that I have interviewed in the past. I don’t know how they managed such succinct, clear answers but it is really difficult!” For now, it seems, Peggy is happy to do her part in promoting YSP through her writing.