Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWA Workshop — Career Planning for Science Writers: How to get from where you are to where you want to be

  • Saturday, March 17, 2018
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • U.C. Berkeley MLK Student Union - Tilden Room, 2495 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94704
  • 0


  • (Registration by application only. Please refer to instructions in workshop description.)
Unlike some professions, science writing doesn’t have an obvious, established career path. Whether you’re a freelancer, staffer or something in between this workshop will help you find a fulfilling path forward. You'll learn how to identify what you want professionally, and how to develop a plan for managing your career.

Before the workshop, you’ll receive materials for assessing where you are now and where you want to go from here.

During the morning part of the workshop, you’ll learn the “tasty buckets” method of career planning, which will help you zero in on what you want, assess where you are now, and decide how to get to where you want to be. You’ll also learn how to make a business plan for your career, set achievable goals, and do periodic self-evaluations to keep yourself on track.

In the afternoon part of the workshop, you’ll do hands-on work in a small group to apply these principles to your own unique situation.

By the end of the day, you’ll have a vision and a plan for your future. You'll come away with a new way of thinking about your career, strategies for deciding what you want, and specific steps you can take to realize your dreams.

INSTRUCTOR: Christie Aschwanden is the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight. She has spent most of her career as a full-time freelancer, and she is the creator of the Courage Camp workshops for freelancers. Christie has written for more than 50 publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Discover, Popular Science, Smithsonian, Mother Jones,, Runner’s World, Outside Online and O, the Oprah magazine. She has received journalism fellowships from the Santa Fe Institute, the Carter Center, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. She was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2011, and her work has been honored by AAAS/Kavli, the Society of Professional Journalists, National Institute for Health Care Management, NASW, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She tweets @CragCrest.

PREPARATION: We will send participants a career planning worksheet to do before the workshop.

LOCATION: The workshop will be in the UC Berkeley School MLK Student Union at 2495 Bancroft Way, which is at the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. We will meet in the Tilden Room, which is on the 5th floor. Parking is tight so we encourage you to arrive via BART — it's only a half-mile walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station to the MLK Student Union. If you drive, we recommend parking at the North Berkeley BART station (which is free on Saturdays), taking BART to the Downtown Berkeley BART Station, and walking to the MLK Student Union. If you would like to park closer to the MLK Student Union, we recommend the City of Berkeley's Telegraph Channing Garage at 2450 Durant Ave.


8:30 am - 9:00 am: Registration 

9:00 am - 4 pm: Workshop


Light breakfast (coffee & bagels) during registration. 

Lunch will be catered on-site.

COST: $50 (This workshop is made affordable by a generous NCSWA subsidy and an even more generous NASW Idea Grant.)

REGISTRATION: Spots are limited to 25 and will be by application to provide a representative balance of NCSWA members as well as a diversity of experience and viewpoints. Under the terms of our NASW grant, preference will be given to members who are professional science writers and have not previously attended Christie's Courage Camp.

To apply, please submit the following to the contacts listed below:

1. a paragraph saying why you want to come and what you'd like to get out of the workshop (300 words or less),

2. your resume, and

3. your lunch preference: meat or vegetarian (if you are vegan, please let us know — we can't make any promises because campus catering does not formally offer a vegan option but we will try!).

Please submit your application by Monday January 22, 2018. We will notify you by Monday February 5, 2018 and participants must pay for the workshop by Monday February 12, 2018 to keep their spots. We will also have a waiting list.

CONTACTS: Please send your application to all three of us:

REFUND POLICY: If you cancel your workshop registration and NCSWA can fill your spot, you will be credited toward future NCSWA events. Otherwise this workshop is not refundable.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software