Alumni Profile: Elizabeth Quill '06
Recent Park Scholar grad Maura Gladys (a class of 2011 journalism major from Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania) caught up with Park Scholar alumna Elizabeth Quill '06, a features editor for Science News.
Elizabeth Quill knew coming into college that she had a passion for science and journalism. Her time at Ithaca College in the Park Scholar Program allowed her to explore and combine those interests and led to her current job as a features editor at Science News.
As soon as she got on campus, Quill immediately became involved in The Ithacan, Ithaca’s student-run newspaper, and by her senior year she had worked her way up to editor-in-chief.
“There were a lot of late nights in The Ithacan office, but it was a great experience professionally and personally,” she said. “It really prepared me for a career in journalism.”
By the time Quill was a junior, she knew she wanted to take a break from journalism, so she spent the fall semester in Australia. She attended the school for International Training where she studied natural and cultural ecology
“I knew I wanted to write about science on a regular basis, so I wanted to go somewhere where I could immerse myself in science,” Quill says. “I did a lot of snorkeling and rain sourcing. For one part of my experience I lived alone in a cabin in the rain forest in Northeastern Queensland and tracked different characteristics of certain flowers. Overall it was just a really, really great experience to get out in the world and do something not journalism.”
Quill also did several internships while at Ithaca that affirmed her love of science journalism, including stints at The Ithaca Journal, the Department of Energy outside of Chicago, National Geographic Magazine and the Cornell Lab of Orinthology.
“My internships got me more into the idea of science writing being a career more than just something I enjoy,” she said.
After graduating from Ithaca in 2006, Quill attended MIT’s science writing program. “MIT really got me into the science writing community,” she said. “It gave me a chance to stay up late talking to physicists about things I didn’t really know about.”
After completing MIT she interned for Science Magazine in their Cambridge, England office.
“That was my first mainstream straight journalism experience. I was doing real science stories every few days,” Quill said.
While living in Cambridge, Quill was offered a job at her current employer, Science News. She started as an associate editor, then moved to news editor and is currently in charge of features and packages.
“I felt like I had a really tight-knit community and support network through the Park Scholar Program,” she said. “In the Park Scholar Program, everyone has a different story, and is so motivated in their own way. Being part of that group helped keep me motivated and really pushed me to be passionate and curious and explore things.”
Quill also says the Park Scholar Program prepared her to excel at her current job.
“Being in a small, tight-knit community allows you to have more experiences, so you can carve out opportunities for yourself in those situations. I’ve found that I’m able to apply this at Science News. We’re a little smaller than other publications so it means that I’m trying out a bunch of different things, proposing my own ideas, being passionate about them and trying to get things off the ground in my own way.”