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Interdisciplinary is intuitive for her

Profile photo of Amy Whitcomb
As a web editor at UC Davis, Amy Whitcomb engages in science and writing every day. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

My dream job has always been to sit in the woods and write. At my current job, I sit in Mrak Hall overlooking the UC Davis Arboretum and collaborate with writers from across campus. In other words, with both creative and natural elements around, I'm on cloud nine.

I've been celebrating the alchemy of science and art for a long time. I began blending my interest in writing and research as a translation intern at the Centro de Investigación y Planificación del Medio Ambiente in Santiago, Chile, and an editorial assistant at the interdisciplinary journals PLoS ONE and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I earned Master degrees in Creative Writing and Environmental Science, both from the University of Idaho.

As a graduate student, I worked across departments to create the Writers in the Wild fellowship, which places student writers at the university's science field stations for week-long immersions. I consider this partnership, to spark and sustain interdisciplinary communication, as one of my greatest recent accomplishments. I had realized that pursuing science and art concurrently is interesting, but integrating them to cross-pollinate is what really exhilarates me. 

I am fortunate to be called upon to be inquisitive, analytical and creative as a One Health contributor. I could never have dreamt as a child that I'd get to help tell the stories of science every day.

Most memorable vacation

Backpacking the John Muir Trail in 2014 with my best friend of 11 years. It rained for a week straight and we ended up decamping early because of my knee injury, but there was so much to marvel at the whole time: giant sequoia, tiny pika, waterfalls, wildfire, horizons of granite and endless stores of laughter.

Favorite book

I can't choose just one. In my top ten are Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and a new poetry collection entitled O'Nights by Cecily Parks.

Best advice

Don't hurry, don't rest.

Contact me at 530-752-4601 or aawhitcomb@ucdavis.edu.

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