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

Bruce BigelowOverview

The UC San Diego Health Marketing and Communications Department offers an on-site, full-time, paid, 12-month science communication fellowship program.

The program 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 he contracted while hiking in Utah.


The fellow will be exposed to a range of topics and communications platforms, with an emphasis on the scientific contributions of women and other underrepresented faculty and trainees in science and medicine. The fellow will have the opportunity to analyze diversity in past communications, develop recommendations to engage more underrepresented researchers in public communications and media, and source new multimedia stories that feature and improve upon equity, diversity and inclusion at UC San Diego Health, School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.

Fellows produce a variety of written and visual content for our communications channels, including feature articles, press releases, blog posts, social media content, traditional media outreach, videos and podcasts.

At end of term, the fellow will produce a summary of program achievements and a final presentation, which will include highlighting key performance indicators, such as analytics illustrating increase in news releases and media coverage of key populations.

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2021-2022 Timeline

  • January 2021 Open for applications.
  • February 16, 2021: Application window closes
  • March 2021: Interview candidates
  • April 2021: Inform chosen candidate
  • July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022: Fellowship term

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
  • Demonstrated interest in issues of equity, diversity and inclusion


Fellows will receive a $80,000 stipend and benefits for the 12 months of their tenure. Relocation expenses are not covered.


UC San Diego Health

Heather Buschman, PhD
Assistant Director of Communications and Media Relations

Scott LaFee
Director of Communications and Media Relations


Fellowship Alumni

Alison (Alie) Caldwell

Alison (Alie) Caldwell, PhD, 2019-2020 Bigelow Fellow. Alie 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 was 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 included: