30 Grads in 30 Days: Lizzie Buchen

Lizzie Buchen (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Lizzie Buchen

Age: 26

Degree: Graduate Certificate

Field of study: Science communication

Faculty adviser: Robert Irion

Undergraduate education: Tufts University

Graduate education: UCSF, M.S. in neuroscience

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

Too many experiences to pick just one, but they all involve my classmates. There are only 10 people in our program, and it's an incredibly diverse, talented, and fun-loving group. We've all shared many laughs in our little SciCom building and at our favorite downtown restaurants and bars.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

The track by the gym. The view is stunning--forested mountains, endless blue ocean, the little towns in between. And the running surface is wonderfully forgiving for my haggard old joints.

How has your UCSC graduate education shaped you professionally?

My mind-numbingly short time here has given me the skills and confidence to write long, in-depth science features, produce radio shows, investigate scientific fraud, and interview anyone from philosophers and mathematicians to protesters and reticent government officials. Through the UCSC network, I've met writers from every top science magazine and news organization, and countless award-winning journalists.

What are your plans after graduation?

From July through December, I will be working in Washington, D.C., as a news reporter for the journal Nature. After Nature, I plan to return to the Bay area to work as a freelance science writer, creating stories about science and the people who make the science possible, from policymakers to the scientists themselves.


I think it's safe to say the past nine months have been the most rigorous of my life. I've written a profile of an astrophysicist, features on cloud science, thermoelectricity, and cognitive science, investigative reports on the military and U.S. government, a personal essay, and at least a few gigabytes of shorter science news stories. I've also produced radio documentaries for KUSP and reported on science news for Wired.com.