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Happy New Year from the Student Blog!

Image via CC BY 3.0 license
Image via CC BY 3.0 license

Happy New Year! As we say hello to 2014, I want to take a chance to look at some of the fantastic work that from the Student Blog in 2013.

We had a look at diverse opinions about science education. There were passionate calls for making research part of the undergraduate experience: see Rachel Cotton’s advocacy for undergraduate research and Sean Lim explanation of what a student seeks from a research mentor. Deepshikha Mishra rounded-up new opportunities for life science in India. Rebecca Marton encouraged students to stay in STEM, and urged other STEM students to do the same. Jeremy Borniger argued that a gap year was the best choice he made before going to graduate school and Anna Goldstein assured us that it is possible to switch research groups – and live to tell the tale!

Several posts highlighted key debates in the science community. Jane Hu looked at the plight of women in science, and why women may not be staying. Michael Selep discussed the difference between translational research and basic science, and found them not to be that different at all. Tyler Shimko entered the climate change debate, discussing how his scientific background made him an effective activist and encouraging others to get involved.

Science communication itself entered the conversation when Jahlela Hasle wrote about the time a poorly written science article made her cry,  and Chris Holdgraf sparked conversation when his observations about being ‘right’ in science included the controversial mantra “Never hesitate to sacrifice truth for understanding.”

The Student Blog also featured some fabulous science writing. Alex Padron gave us insight on the history of science with his post on Alexis St. Martin’s fistula, Katrina Magno looked at the ways scientists are studying black holes, and Prashant Bhat showed how a beautiful bloom could also prove deadly. And Minjung Kim’s review of Brilliant Blunders showed that it’s okay to mess up time and again.

We also had some excellent commentary about the importance of Open Access. David Carroll and Joe McArthur shared progress on the OA Button, an exciting web tool that launched last November. Sara Lindenfeld advocated using Open Access science to educate the public about climate science. Angelica Tavella detailed the Open Access Initiative at UC Berkeley and how she got involved in the Open Access movement, and high school student Jack Andraka gave a passionate argument for tearing down paywalls to help connect young people to science and inspire a new generation of scientists.

Marvin Gee expressed the opinion of many when he resolutely asserted that research is not a job, but a lifestyle.

On a personal note, it’s been an amazing experience working with all these wonderful bloggers over the last few months. There will be more great stuff in 2014, so I encourage you to add “Read the Student Blog regularly” to your list of New Year’s Resolutions.

So stay tuned! The first official Student Blog post of 2014 will launch this week!

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