Four College of Biological Sciences Undergraduates Included in Prized Writing 2017-18

Cover of volume 29 of campus anthology
Cover of volume 29 of campus anthology

Four written works by College of Biological Sciences’ undergraduates were selected for inclusion in Prized Writing 2017-2018. Started in 1989, the annual Prized Writing publication collects exemplary essays written for a UC Davis class by undergraduates. The 20 pieces featured in this year’s edition were selected from a pool of around 400 submissions. College of Biological Sciences students Jackson Anderson, Daniel Erenstein, Noreen Mansuri and Arianna Stokes are included in this year’s edition.

“I was overjoyed when I learned that my piece had been selected for inclusion in Prized Writing,” said Daniel Erenstein, a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. “After putting so much thought into my paper, I greatly appreciated this recognition from the editors of Prized Writing.

Erenstein’s essay, titled “Closer to a Cure,” was written for Brenda Rinard’s Writing in Science (104E) class.

“My piece examines personalized medicine through the lens of cystic fibrosis,” said Erenstein. “Specifically, it chronicles the 1989 discovery of a cystic fibrosis gene and investigates how this gene influences the observable symptoms of cystic fibrosis patients. I then discuss the field more recent progress as I look ahead to an encouraging future of potential treatments for the disease.”  

Arianna Stokes said she was thrilled but also surprised by her piece’s acceptance into the anthology. “When I submitted the piece, I wasn’t sure if others would be interested in reading an essay on such a narrow topic,” she said.  

Stokes’ essay, titled “If Not One, Then All: Is incomplete support for any hypothesis support for all hypotheses?” concerns the array of latitudinal diversity gradient hypotheses. These hypotheses try to explain why biodiversity increases when moving from the Earth’s poles to the equator. Stokes’ essay explores how ecologists should deal with the plethora of hypotheses surrounding the phenomenon. She wrote the essay for Distinguished Professor Arthur Shapiro’s class The Ecology of Tropical Latitudes (EVE 138).   

“I think that humans are drawn to story,” said Stokes. “When science is communicated as a story, it has more power because people are more receptive to it.”

“Scientific papers are frequently clouded with expert-level jargon and complicated figures, making it difficult for the general public to understand the science behind the paper,” added Erenstein. “When science is lost in translation en route to those whose lives it affects, our field has missed its target. This is why effective science communication is so essential to science itself.”

Prized Writing 2017-2018 will be available at the Campus Store.