Week Three: First Full-Length Bulletin

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Saturday, June 17, 2017


Lisa McDonald

While this week’s post is arriving a little later than my first two, I am confident it was worth the wait: my first full-length article published on Friday!

The journey to this accomplishment began on Monday when my mentor Mitch told me I’d be attending the National Academies release event for a new report assessing the Department of Energy’s sub-agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA–E).

Congress originally authorized ARPA–E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act and the agency received its first funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Congress created ARPA–E with the goal to establish a space in government dedicated to taking on high-risk, high-reward projects that other federal agencies and private corporations would not fund. Specifically, ARPA–E focuses on funding energy technologies that hold the potential to transform the energy technology landscape.

The release event I attended Tuesday was for an independent assessment Congress required take place after the agency’s first six years of operation. Not only did I learn a lot about ARPA–E that day, but I also learned there is not one, but TWO National Academy of Science buildings in D.C. For those who want to visit the Keck Center, go to the National Academy on 500 5th St NW. Otherwise, you will very quickly learn how to hail a taxi in order to cross two miles of busy D.C. traffic in only 15 minutes.

After receiving recommendations from Mitch and incorporating them into my draft, we sent the article to the rest of the FYI team so they could offer suggestions. Unfortunately, since there were so many things that needed done this week, all the suggestions for my article did not reach me until 3 p.m. on Friday. One of the suggestions required a major overhaul of the structure of the piece, and thus I stayed in the office until 6:30 p.m. that night before hitting the final “Send.”

Even though the reorganization of the piece required a lot of work, I am proud because none of the writing itself required extensive overhaul. The structure of an article takes place on many different levels: sentence, paragraph, overall work. My sentence and paragraph structures did not need much editing, it was the overall work that needed some moving around. This reaffirms for me the improvement in my writing from my internship last summer for the West Branch Times newspaper in West Branch, Iowa. Back then my editor caught many instances of my using a passive voice instead of an active one, and so much of the editing took place on the sentence structure level. To instead spend this summer working on the overall work structure level demonstrates to me that my goal of becoming a great writer grows closer every day.

Lisa McDonald