The interns have written more than 100 EurekAlert! releases and MUSC Catalyst News stories.

Grace Milauskas
October 11, 2021
Four collaborators stand outside at MUSC
(l-r): Dr. Matthew Greseth, CGS assistant director of science communications initiatives; Dr. Paula Traktman, CGS dean; and interns Julia Lefler and Catherine Mills.

In 2016, the College of Graduate Studies (CGS) and Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) created an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to write news releases about research at MUSC for the AAAS website EurekaAlert! and MUSC Catalyst News.

Dr. Kimberly McGhee is CGS director of science communication initiatives, a member of the MUSC Academic Affairs faculty, and a professional science writer with the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR). She developed a science communications boot camp that provided training in various writing techniques well-suited to informing the lay public about recent MUSC research. As a result, the internship program “Science Writing Initiative for Trainees (SWIFT)” was created.

In the SWIFT program, interns gain valuable skills in interviewing and writing and also serve as ambassadors for science. This emphasis on science communication is a top priority for CGS Dean Paula Traktman.

Assignments are given to the interns on a project-by-project basis as their schedules permit.  The program holds regular meetings and invites professional science writers to discuss their careers so that students gain new perspectives. Dr. McGhee has also forged collaborations across campus that allow SWIFT interns to write articles for the MUSC Research and Innovation web pages. The CGS Speaks blog, directed by Dr. Matthew Greseth, provides a forum for students and fellows to write more personal articles on topics of interest. 

Recently, a peer-reviewed article describing the SC-SWIFT program was published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, authored by Kimberly McGhee, Tammy Loucks, Sheila Champlin, Matthew Greseth, and Paula Traktman. The paper highlights how the program started and where it is today. Since 2016, 25 interns have written more than 100 EurekAlert! press releases that have received more than a half-million views!

If you would like to be highlighted in our alumni e-newsletter for your work in science or other areas, please email Grace Milauskas at cgsmarcom@musc.edu.