I Dared a Mighty Thing: A Change in Career

On the one hand, I’m a little sad: I’ve stepped down as editor for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific‘s Mercury magazine and Mercury Online.

After nine issues of editing and producing Mercury, and over two-and-a-half fantastic years of working with the wonderful staff of the ASP, I was in my element doing something I loved. This was in addition to my freelance work with HowStuffWorks, Space.com, LiveScience.com, HISTORY.com, Scientific American and others, plus the science PR gigs I picked up along the way with TRIUMF and the University of Waterloo.

After the infamous Seeker.com layoffs of 2017 that gutted our original (and, frankly, awesome) Discovery News team, choosing to be a freelance science communicator was one heck of a reality check after nearly nine years of relative job security at Discovery. That said, the past three years have also been immensely rewarding, exposing me to a brilliant community of science writers from a myriad of fields, from high-energy physics to astrobiology to Earth sciences.

But when a job opportunity emerged at one of my favorite institutions last year, I couldn’t help but pay attention and apply. After convincing myself there was “no chance” that I’d land it… land it I did.

So I’ve now traded in my freelancing for a scicomm career at…

Having worked as a journalist and blogger, reporting on the incredible space robot adventures managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the past 15 years, I’ve always pondered whether my career would wind up in an institution like NASA. And I’m overjoyed that it has.

It will be a new challenge working as a media relations specialist and writer at JPL’s communications team, but I think the time had come to evolve my career to a new level while still doing the thing I love at an institution I hold in high regard. Intimately knowing the pressures, challenges, and shortfalls facing writers in science media, I hope to use everything I’ve learned over the past 15 years to effectively communicate JPL’s work to the world.

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years; I am truly grateful and I hope to make you proud as I embark on this new journey.

5 thoughts on “I Dared a Mighty Thing: A Change in Career”

  1. Hi Ian,

    Your article caught my eye because I dream of a career at JPL, but am still developing my skills in SciComm. I am currently hosting an educational YouTube Channel and Podcast all about space, but am wondering what else I can do to develop the skills necessary for a job on the Communications team at NASA. Any advice? Thanks!

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