Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for UC San Diego Health patients and visitors. Learn More


Bruce V. Bigelow Memorial Science Communication Fellowship at UC San Diego

Bruce BigelowOverview

The Bruce V. Bigelow Memorial Science Communications Fellowship is a full-time, paid, nine-month interdisciplinary science communications fellowship based in UC San Diego Health Sciences. 2019 was the inaugural year.

About Bruce V. Bigelow

The fellowship is named in memory of Bruce V. Bigelow, an award-winning science and technology journalist. Bruce was part of the San Diego Union-Tribune team that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and served as San Diego editor for Xconomy, a national life science and innovation news site. Bruce died in June 2018 after a brief illness contracted while hiking in Utah.


In the spirit of Bruce's interests and legacy, the fellowship offers early career science writers and communicators a diverse experience covering the fields of health sciences, oceanography and engineering, particularly where they intersect. Fellows will have opportunities to write for UC San Diego websites, press releases, blogs, magazines and newsletters, produce multimedia pieces (e.g., video, podcast) and contribute to UC San Diego’s social media presence. In addition to regular short-term assignments, fellows will complete an in-depth, interdisciplinary capstone project, to be determined with fellowship mentors.

+ Expand All

2020 Timeline

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bigelow Fellowship will not be offered for the 2020-21 cycle. Please check back for 2021-22.

Applicant requirements

  • Actively pursuing a career in science writing/communication
  • Bachelor's degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training
  • Two (2) or more years of relevant experience
  • Experience and proven success in concepts and principles of news, media communications and media relations
  • Must have an established ability to work in the U.S.
  • Must have reliable transportation available in San Diego

Preferred qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (e.g., MA, MS, PhD) in a STEM field, communications, journalism or related area
  • Ability to work with multiple groups on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Self-motivated to seek out new projects
  • Professional conduct in interactions with internal and external stakeholders


Fellows will receive a $60,000 stipend and benefits for the nine months of their tenure. Relocation expenses are not covered.


Mentors will provide feedback to fellows on the following criteria:

  • Cleanliness of copy or product. We'll be looking for improvement over time, but by end of the fellowship, the fellow's pieces should require only minor edits
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Punctuality/email responsiveness
  • Professionalism — e.g., meeting conduct, emailing clients
  • Ability to proactively seek out news, pitch own ideas


UC San Diego Health

Scott LaFee
Director of Media Relations

Heather Buschman, PhD
Senior Manager of Communications

Jacobs School of Engineering

Daniel Kane
Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Lauren Wood
Director of Strategic Communications


Past Fellow (2019-2020).

Alison (Alie) Caldwell

Alison (Alie) Caldwell received her BS from MIT in 2011 and her PhD in Neurosciences from UC San Diego in 2019, where she worked with Nicola Allen, PhD, at the Salk Institute to study the roles of brain cells called astrocytes in the growth and development of the brain.

When she wasn’t in the lab, Alie worked to develop new educational resources, creating science videos and supporting efforts to provide science communication training to early career researchers. She is the co-creator, writer and co-host of Neuro Transmissions, an award-winning YouTube channel all about the brain, and has written 50 scripts for the YouTube channel SciShow, reaching an audience of more than 5 million subscribers with daily videos on topics from “Life Inside a Dead Whale” to “Your Microbiome and Your Brain.” She was the Program Organizing Chair for ComSciCon 2018, responsible for coordinating panels and hands-on exercises at this national workshop aimed at providing STEM graduate students with the tools and resources they need to communicate their science effectively across a wide variety of arenas and platforms.

Alie is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the diverse media departments participating in the Bigelow Science Communication Fellowship, working to develop new interdisciplinary, multimedia approaches for communicating the exciting research being done by UC San Diego scientists.

Alie's featured fellowship work includes: