Meet Mia Rochford

Mia profile picture

Managing Editor, Sciences, 2019

What topics do you enjoy writing about?

Biology and pop culture! I also really like writing letters to my family and friends. Even if I’m just telling someone how my week’s been, writing a letter makes the experience feel a little more special.

Are you working on a current writing project? If yes, what is it?

I am working on writing a paper with my lab and another about rare plants with other collaborators. I’m writing an essay for a couple of my dear friends from high school about Kylo Ren as a Byronic hero just for fun.

What is your writing process?

I start by writing a general outline, where I list the topics I want to cover. I will then fill the outline with the major points I want to make for teach topic. I find writing outline is a little less intimidating than trying to start writing a paragraph with complete sentences and smooth transitions. Outlines also help me visualize the structure of my paper, so I can think about the most logical order to present my ideas and easily rearrange them if necessary. This works well for me electronically or in a notebook.

In your opinion, what is the value of writing? Why do you write?

Sometimes writing is the most effective and appropriate way to communicate. I also find that practicing writing gives me the chance to think about how I can improve my communication skills, in general. Writing is also a great way to preserve ideas.

Describe your experience working with undergraduate students. What does that relationship look like to you? What have you learned? What have you taught?

Both teaching assistants and students should be patient with each other; all of us are learning. Both TA’s and students respond really well to enthusiasm from the other party. In my introductory biology lab, I focused on the value of observation in research.

What would you like for undergraduate students to know about the publishing process?

Quality writing is the results of multiple rounds of revision.

What is your biggest writing pet peeve?

I personally struggle with overusing words that convey uncertainty, causing my words to undercut my own messages. I could strengthen my writing by limiting my use of maybe, possibly, and similar words.

Name one writing tip you believe more people need to employ.

One of my high school English teachers had the Matthew Arnold quote, “Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can[,] that is the only secret of style” posted on the wall of her classroom. More people should heed this advice.