Newsletter for Psychology Majors

New Yale Course Opporunities

Writing about Science, Medicine, and the Environment 

Course description and application guidelines

MBB 459

English 459

EVST 215

Spring 2022

Monday 1:30-3:20

Instructor: Carl Zimmer, Professor Adjunct MBB


Application required (see below for details)

Class location: TBD


This course is an advanced nonfiction workshop on writing about science, medicine, and the environment for a broad public audience. It is intended not only for students interested in pursuing a career in writing, but also for students planning to become scientists, doctors, and policymakers—for anyone who wants to learn how to tell stories about the natural world and about pressing social issues.

Each year’s class is a mix of students from different backgrounds, all of whom demonstrate readiness for class. Some students are science majors, some are not. Some have a background in student journalism at Yale; others have written mainly for themselves in the past. There are no prerequisites for the course.

This course is comparable in its demands to the other 400-level advanced writing courses offered by the Yale English Department. Students who are seeking an introductory college-level writing class should consider English 120 and similar courses. Upon entering my course, students should feel ready to dive into a rigorous but rewarding semester of research and writing.

There are four writing assignments over the course of the semester. Students will be responsible for finding ideas for three of their assignments. In class, we will conduct workshops and discuss exemplary published works such as Atlantic magazine articles by Ed Yong and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.


I’m a columnist at the New York Times and the author of 14 books about biology and medicine. You can find more information about me and my work at  

For a sense of how I teach writing, see this guidance I’ve posted on my web site:



Below is a brief description of what students do in my class. More detailed information on due dates, formats, etc., will be available on the syllabus.


Students will complete four writing assignments: an explanation, an article about a class visit to a Yale lab, a longer profile, and a feature. For the two long assignments, students will also write proposals, carry out research, interview sources, revise their drafts, and produce pieces that are suitable for submitting to publications at Yale or beyond. Students will base their work mainly on in-person reporting—not phone calls or email interviews.


Along with writing assignments, students will read newspaper articles, magazine features and book chapters. The class will discuss some of these readings to identify important elements of structure and style, led by students who will present short oral reports.


We will spend much of our time in class discussing students’ pieces. Students will send 200-word comments to the author of each week’s works, and be expected to participate in class discussions.

Office meetings:

Students are required to meet with me during office hours twice during the course to discuss plans for assignments and goals for improving their work.



Admission to the course is by application only. Applications for Spring 2021 are due by noon on November 11, 2021. I will send out an email to all applicants with my decision by November 16.

Enrollment is limited to undergraduates, but graduate students can request to audit the course. Freshmen should wait to apply after taking other writing courses or writing for student publications. While most accepted students are juniors and seniors, I sometimes accept sophomores.

Please email applications directly to me at

Your application should include the following:

–Your name, year, major, and email address.

–A note in which you briefly describe

(1) Your background (include writing classes you’ve already taken and publications you’ve written for)

(2) Why you want to take this class

(3) Which other writing courses (if any) you’re applying to in the same semester.

–One or two pieces of nonacademic, nonfiction writing. (No fiction. No scientific papers.) Indicate the course or publication (including url) for which you wrote each sample. An unpublished work that you didn’t write for a class is also acceptable; please note if this is the case on your piece. Your writing samples should total 5-15 pages, double-spaced. It’s fine if they’re longer than that, but add a note to explain why you want to include them in your application.

I will use these samples to decide whether to admit students to the class, so pick pieces that demonstrate at least some of the skills we’ll be building in the class, such as an engaging style, a strong narrative, and reporting skills.

Accepted students should be prepared to respond promptly to an offer for a spot in the class, so that I can fill any open spaces with students on the waitlist.

Please also note that the English Department does not typically allow students to enroll in more than one writing seminar in a semester. If you are admitted to more than one writing seminar, including college seminars, you must notify both instructors and choose only one.

Attendance at the first class is MANDATORY for all accepted students, as well as for waitlisted students who want to take the course. Only students present at the first class will be able to get a spot. If an accepted student later drops out during shopping period, I will offer their spot to the next eligible student on the waiting list.


Jobs, Fellowships, Internships & Ph.D. Programs


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is recruiting this fall for the Director’s Financial Analyst (DFA) position, and we want to encourage graduating seniors to apply.

There will be several webinars explaining the program and application process. The first of these, linked below, is Tuesday, October 26, 2021.


This unique, two-year rotational fellowship sits at the intersection of the federal government and the financial services industry. Director’s Financial Analysts are given the opportunity to hone analytical and problem-solving skills while helping to make consumer financial markets work for Americans. 

All analysts will complete developmental rotations in offices throughout the CFPB. These rotations are designed to provide exposure to the analysis, strategy, research, education, policy development, supervision, enforcement, and rulemaking activities throughout the Bureau. In a short period of time, analysts will play an integral role in everything the Bureau does, from rigorous data-driven policy creation and market monitoring to supervision of market participants.


The DFA program is recruiting for full-time positions that begin in June 2022.  

Recent graduates who will have received an undergraduate degree on or after April 2019 and before June 2022 are eligible to apply. Those interested should apply at during our live application window on USAJobs.  

The application will be open from December 6th through January 3rd.  

To be notified when the application becomes available, students and alumni can send an email expressing interest to

We do require that all candidates have completed at least 5 quantitative courses, which can include courses in econometrics, mathematics, statistics, and a variety of other subjects. If an applicant has taken other courses that do not seem quantitative on their faces but did teach or apply quantitative skills, we encourage them to include this information in an optional cover letter when applying.


Please encourage interested students and alumni to email Additionally, they can also reach out to me directly with questions about the position or application process at

The Bureau will be hosting hour-long information sessions about the DFA Program and the application process, including a question-and-answer period, conducted over WebEx. These sessions will take place on the following dates:  

Session 1:  Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (6PM Eastern)

Session 2:  Thursday, November 18, 2021 (5PM Eastern)

Session 3:  Friday, December 10, 2021 (3PM Eastern)

Operation Twelve

operation twelve, a research cooperation between students from various universities around the world is looking to build up a team of around 10 International Undergraduate Researchers to work on the project through this current academic year. Our main mission is to study the cognition of individuals in unstable conditions and who are prone to trauma (explosions, war, political instability) and how they are able to cope with the hideous circumstances they are facing. This year, students from Beirut and Lebanon, have teamed up to work on research focusing on the increasing instability in the Middle Eastern country and its effect on the population’s cognition. 

We are extending a recruitment application to any undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related major.

The application and information about the program is available through the website: and is due by November 14 2021 at 11:59 PST. 

More information can be found on

A direct link to the application

Please note that we are not backed up by a specific institution but are only representing the collective views of our members and their efforts to contribute to the community. Our goal is to offer an experience for undergraduates beyond the setting of universities and institutions.

We are also looking for mentors if you would like to assist us in our research. We would really appreciate it!

All of the work is on a volunteer basis, no profit will be made from the research or any contribution to its holding

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us via email at or at


The Baby’s First Years Project

The Baby’s First Years study is the first randomized controlled trial of poverty reduction in early childhood in the US, and we are hiring! We’re seeking research assistants to pilot and run lab- and home-based data collection with 4-year-olds in the New Orleans and Omaha, Nebraska sites, beginning as early as January 2022.

Must have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, Child Development, or a related field. Primary responsibilities include assisting with the development and pilot testing of study procedures, successfully scheduling study participants for university-based data collection, administering study visits, uploading data, and engaging in quality control procedures. Individuals in this role may also train and manage research assistants. Duties may include light travel to participant homes.

New Orleans / Omaha locals particularly encouraged to apply. Must have experience working with children, and be willing to work weekends and flexible hours.
Preferred qualifications include experience administering standardized cognitive assessments; experience with EEG; experience working with families from low-income communities; experience working with REDCap.
For the Omaha position, being bilingual in English and Spanish is preferred.
Please circulate widely, and please have interested candidates send a cover letter and CV to


Conferences & Lectures