Students: My Experience as a Writer for OTT

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I joined Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer in the Fall of 2020. I was a junior in college, and it was my first semester of online classes during the pandemic. Before working with OTT, I did not know anything about the field of technology transfer. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would relate to my personal pursuits, but I was still interested in engaging with Emory OTT regardless. I found the field of technology transfer to be interesting, interdisciplinary, and far reaching. Through my four semesters with OTT, I learned a lot about the field, and I was able to find connections with my interests in public health and film.

I graduated this May with a degree in Human Health on the Epidemiology track, and I soon plan to start a Master of Public Health (MPH) program. My job with OTT allowed me to interview and talk to various researchers that are leading public health innovation. Additionally, through interviewing different inventors and researchers that have worked with OTT, I learned about the importance of communication in science. When I interviewed Dr. Heemstra, a Professor of Chemistry at Emory University, she said that “The impact of our research is only going to be as big as our ability to communicate it to other people.” This idea was reiterated to me through the various features and interviews I conducted with OTT and by the amazing research being done. The researchers were passionate about making their research accessible and impactful to the public, and it influenced me to write about their work in a way that was also easy to understand to someone without a science background. This is a skill that will stick with me for a long time as I begin my public health career and enter my MPH program.

Additionally, the interdisciplinary aspect of OTT allowed me to engage in my creative pursuits too. I have always been interested in writing from a young age, and I am currently passionate about screenwriting and film. However, I always viewed my passion for creative writing separately from my passion for public health and science in general. However, with OTT I was able pitch a film related blog piece and I wrote about the patent history of the film industry. The film industry’s use and history with patents and technology transfer is more like the patent history of science and research than I originally assumed.

Working with OTT has only aided me in my own personal pursuits. From Simple Science blog posts, Featured Innovation pieces, or 10-minute interview Q&As with researchers, I have enjoyed every assignment during my time at OTT.  Having the opportunity to talk with researchers and faculty at Emory about their work was inspiring, and the people I was introduced to were all very kind. The faculty and staff have also been supportive mentors during my time at OTT, and I have great admiration for the work that they do. I encourage anyone interested in OTT to join, and I wish all the best for future student writers and interns!

— India Ciánna Stevenson