Observations of a Nerd

Every year, CollegeScholarships.Org offers a $10,000 scholarship for a student blogger. Students can nominate themselves or other blogging students by sending in a <300 word essay about why they blog and why blogging is important. This year, I decided why not? and threw my hat into the ring. Well guess what? I made the initial cut, and got chosen as a finalist! But to actually get the scholarship, I need your help. The winner is chosen by popularity, so I need votes, and a lot of them. Please check out the nominees, and if you feel like I’m the best, click the button to go to the voting page and vote for me, Christie Wilcox!

Here’s the essay I submitted to get to this stage:

While I appreciate biology from a purely scientific standpoint, I strongly believe research is useless if you can’t communicate it. There’s a great quote by Jules Poincaré that says: “Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.” In my mind, what turns facts into science is the integration of research into society, whether for purely educational purposes or society’s benefit, and that the key to that is communication. That’s why I decided to start a science blog in 2008. As a scientist, I really believe that it is my responsibility to engage non-scientists and the public in general in my endeavors to give my work meaning.

Scientists already share what we do with each other. That’s what journals are for. I wanted to share what I loved with everyone, not just my like-minded peers. I feel it is important to take jargon-filled scientific publications and break them down in such a way that everyone can understand what is being studied and why it is important. In modern media, science is only talked about if it can be sensationalized. So-called “real” journalists seem to think experiments are only worth mentioning if they can be summed up in a catchy but untrue headline or are controversial. But every day I read papers no one hears about that are just so…. *cool*. Science is unbelievably cool, and I blog because I think that maybe if the rest of the world saw science how I do, they would think it was pretty cool, too. And maybe if they did, there would be more scientists doing unbelievably cool stuff for me to blog about!

PS: For those of you who arrived at this page and *haven’t* read my blog before, here’s some supporting info: I’ve been published in the Open Laboratory (anthology of the best science blogging of the year) in both the 2008 & 2009 editions, and am in the running for 2010. My posts have been finalists in the 3 Quarks Daily Science blogging prize for two years straight. I’ve had a number of posts chosen by the Research Blogging Editors for their Editor’s Selections, and was a finalist in the first annual Research Blogging Awards for three categories, including blog post of the year. Recently, my post on the gulf oil spill won The Post With The Most. Snoop around, read a few posts (lots of good choices in the Editor’s Selections list) and see what I do – and if you like it, I would really appreciate your vote in this scholarship competition!


  1. #1 rni.boh
    October 27, 2010

    Good luck!

    How many times are people allowed to vote? And do they have checks in place to stop automated votes?

  2. #2 Prof.Pedant
    October 27, 2010

    It seems that they are rationing it to one vote per ip-address.

  3. #3 Leslie
    October 27, 2010

    Hope you win … tough competition and they started east coast time too …

  4. #4 Leslie
    October 27, 2010

    Contact CA and see if they will post it anywhere they can … CA has a FACEBOOK page … 😉

  5. #5 Leslie
    October 27, 2010

    add links to your best / favorite / award-winning / etc … blogs

  6. #6 Adrian Morgan
    October 27, 2010

    Done. But the current results are astonishing to all but the most hardened cynic: 59% of voters, with ten blogs to choose from, have voted for a blogger who reviews and recommends cosmetics products. How can that be more interesting than science?

  7. #7 Aunt Benjy
    October 27, 2010

    Voted, and good luck.

  8. #9 Rob
    October 27, 2010

    1 vote for the cute science nerd!

  9. #10 Intrachresodist
    October 27, 2010

    Choosing a winner by popularity is a very unscientific way to run a competition about anything more important than American Idol.

  10. #11 Pieter B
    October 27, 2010

    Voted, and FaceBooked.

  11. #12 Your Mighty Overload
    October 27, 2010


  12. #13 Jeanette Garcia
    October 27, 2010

    You are by far the best blog of the lot. BTW, I’m glad I found my way here. I have you bookmarked.

  13. #14 Vernon
    October 27, 2010

    I really enjoyed the essay – it is so true. I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and think your really accomplish what your essay is all about. Your’s is the only science blog I read.

    Good luck.

  14. #15 Rewarp
    October 28, 2010

    I was sent by the horde. But I will stick around because your writings seem relevant to my interests.

  15. #16 marcushill
    October 28, 2010

    PZ has unleashed his minions, and you seem to be gaining 10 to 20 votes a minute. I foresee victory.

  16. #17 Chuck
    October 28, 2010

    Voted. I’ll see what troops I can rally.

  17. #18 sc0tt
    October 28, 2010

    Wow, I hope no one challenges your huge margin of victory.

  18. #19 Jeffrey Toney
    October 28, 2010

    You got my vote! Wish you the best of luck.

  19. #20 Southern Fried Scientist
    October 28, 2010

    The Gam’s got your back.

  20. #21 chimango
    October 28, 2010

    i took a look at your blog, liked it, voted it. Hope you can get the Scholarship (i came here trough PZ Myer’s blog). Good luck! and greetings from Argentina :)

  21. #22 Lori
    October 28, 2010

    I do read your blog occasionally (and I enjoy it!), but I’ll admit that it was on Pharyngula that I first read of the scholarship. :) Good luck!

  22. #23 Greg
    October 28, 2010

    I do read and enjoy your blog. Looks like you are well in front of the voting – good luck!

  23. #24 BillC
    October 28, 2010

    I voted for you and was happy to do it. I took to task, in my comment there, Daniel and the several “annoyds” for their postings, one of which questioned whether your voters were “actual humans”, I identified myself as an “actual human”. Later, commenting about my vote at pharyngula, I admitted that I had been tempted, in that post, to identify myself as a “malign, hyper-evolved, cephalopod directed there by the wrathful PZ Myers”.

    Your blog now occupies a place on my Favorites bar.

  24. #25 rosa
    October 29, 2010

    Scientists truly stand on the shoulders of giants! =)

  25. #26 Christie Wilcox
    October 29, 2010

    Thank you to all of you who voted! The sudden and strong outpouring of support over the past couple days truly took me by surprise. I have to say, when I saw my where my numbers were by the end of the first evening, I actually started to cry a little. This means so much to me, and I don’t think I can ever properly express my gratitude to all of you who took the time to vote for me, especially those of you who posted this link on your blogs or persuaded your facebook friends or tweeps to join in the crusade.

    So, at the lack of a better way of expressing it: THANK YOU.

    (PS, if I do win, PZ is getting some really nice gift sent from Hawaii. I haven’t figured out what yet, but it will be completely awesome.)

  26. #27 book of ra
    October 29, 2010

    Very good essay! I just sent out a Twitter message to my followers to help you a bit :-)

  27. #28 Douglas (Watkins)
    October 30, 2010

    Good luck, i hope you win

  28. #29 Lyra
    October 30, 2010

    So I’m a regular reader of PZ Myers, and I first came across your blog when he advertised your entry in the contest. I’m very impressed by your blog and will be coming back to read more! Yay for science! 😀

  29. #30 tarih
    October 31, 2010

    very good essay.. :) i hope you win :)

  30. #31 Christy
    October 31, 2010

    I am also looking for some scholarship, but didn’t get any. I hope soon I will find.

  31. #32 istanbul tourkh
    November 1, 2010

    I do read your blog occasionally (and I enjoy it!), but I’ll admit that it was on Pharyngula that I first read of the scholarship. 😉

  32. #33 Poppy
    November 1, 2010

    Well, I voted for you.

  33. #34 levitooker
    November 2, 2010

    A friend of PZ is a friend of mine. +1 vote

  34. #35 Ildy Flores
    November 2, 2010

    +1 more vote. Looks like you don’t need any more help but I still don’t want the guy with the blog about bathrooms to win

  35. #36 Isis the Scientist
    November 4, 2010

    Good luck Christie!

  36. #37 John Hunter
    November 4, 2010

    Good luck, for now you are in good shape. Great job with the blog. Keep up the good work.

  37. #38 Kuba
    November 4, 2010

    I took a look at the other candidates, but you looked to be the best in my book. The world needs more great scientists. Hopefully, this scholarship will help you on your way.

    (P.S.: Adorable creatures are my thing…check out my site /shamelessplug)

  38. #39 Kuba
    November 4, 2010

    ^Fixed my site-link and will tell my other nerd friends!

  39. #40 Ali Jesus
    November 4, 2010

    Greetings from Norway! Dear Leader/Hivemind/Reddit told me to vote for you. After looking around your blog, I see you totally deserve it. Good luck!

    Ps. You better do an AMA or something if you win, or else… Erh… Well… Something will happen, I guess… Involving Koalas?

  40. #41 joseph
    November 30, 2010

    Here is another great blog to use. my son has got 2 grants already. a lot of great info and ways to save money http://freescholarships4me.blogspot.com

  41. #42 tütüneson
    February 16, 2011

    Voted. I’ll see what troops I can rally.

  42. #43 Paul Jun
    November 15, 2011

    Hey congrats on winning this last year.

    I actually submitted my article for this year as well.

    What I’m sad to find out about is that it turns out to be a popularity contest. That’s pretty sad. It should be based on quality essay, recommendations, and overview of the blog.

    I can understand why you won just based off your writing and blogging — not the amount of votes you received.

    Any tips on how you won? I’d appreciate it. If you have the time, check out my website =]

    Again, congrats on winning. It must have felt amazing.

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