In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring short interviews with each of our editors, so that you can get to know those folks who are responsible for highlighting your posts each week as editors’ selections. First, meet Jordan Gaines Lewis.
Hello! Let’s start with first things first. Where are you from, what do you do how did you get into science?
Hi all! I’m originally from Maryland and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2011 with my bachelor’s degree in biology. I’m now in my third year of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Yes, living in the chocolate capital of the U.S. is as great as it sounds.) You can connect with me on Twitter, Google+, and my website is here.
I used to want to be some sort of counselor; this was back in 8th grade, when my friends would tell me their deep, dark secrets over AOL Instant Messenger after school. Somehow this all transitioned into a fascination of the brain and, in college, the study of neuroscience as a whole. I work in a sleep research lab, which captivated me after a lecture in my introductory neuroscience class two years ago. On the side, I write neuroscience/psychology blogs for Scitable by Nature Education, Psychology Today magazine, and NBC News Health. I also started up a blog written by the graduate students at Penn State College of Medicine called ”Lions Talk Science” (‘cause we’re Nittany lions, and I like assonance!). And, of course, I’m your Social Media Editor here with ScienceSeeker!
What is the name of your blog and why did you choose that name – what does it mean?
My blog is called “Gaines, on Brains,” and I thought of it while…well, taking a shower one day. It is what it is: me, Jordan Gaines, discussing brains. It just seemed fitting that my last name would rhyme with the organ of interest. (I’ve since gotten married, so my last name is now actually Lewis, but nothing in neuroscience rhymes with Lewis. Trust me, I’ve racked my brains). You can check out “Gaines, on Brains” here.
How did you get into science blogging and science writing? What were the early influences on you regarding your blogging style and topics?
I’d had the Scientific American gadget on my iGoogle homepage for years (RIP iGoogle) and always enjoyed reading the articles on there. It took me awhile to realize that half of the pieces I was enjoying were actually blog posts by writers in the SciAm blog network. SUPER cool. That, combined with my lifelong love of writing (and the impending fear of beginning my doctoral program and being out of work after attaining my degree), inspired me to start up my own blog. I can’t believe how much my blog has evolved and how many different types of people I’ve reached since starting it up.
What is your blog about? Who is your target audience, and why do you think people should read your blog?
“Gaines, on Brains” is pretty much about anything remotely brain-related that I think will be interesting. Ah, I just had a deja vu episode…hey, I bet people are curious about what’s going on there. Better blog about it! I also take suggestions from readers and am constantly jotting ideas down in my planner. I also write about current research and hot topics in the news in an effort to “set the record straight,” so to speak. My target audience is the general lay community. Neuroscience is a ubiquitous and highly-misconstrued field, and dopamine is more than just the “happiness chemical” that “makes your brain light up,” as the TV doctors would say.
How do you spend your time when you’re not doing science or science blogging? Any interesting hobbies?
I dabble in all sorts of things. (I get bored easily.) I like working out (just ran my first half-marathon two weeks ago), reading, knitting, painting, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and eating delicious food (not hard when I live in Hershey). I’m a huge trivia nerd when it comes to The Beatles, Harry Potter, and Titanic (the actual ship, not the movie). I also like to volunteer my time walking and socializing dogs at the local shelter.
Why did you decide to become an editor at ScienceSeeker?
I’d actually applied to be ScienceSeeker’s Photo Editor last year. When Dave Munger saw my application, he thought I’d be well-suited to being some sort of Social Media Editor; and thus the position was created. So when you see a Facebook post (“Like” our page here!) or Tweet link to our Twitter), that’s me!