Science editor finds niche among fellow science enthusiasts

Julianne Hodges

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in the The Daily Texan. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-) to denote the end of a line.

The famous scientist Isaac Newton is quoted as saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” 

As I reflect on all of the cool opportunities I’ve had with the Sci&Tech department and how it has helped me to find my passion for science journalism, I’m humbled to think of those giants who laid this foundation. Less than three years ago, the science department at The Daily Texan was just a small group within Life & Arts, but we’ve grown so much since. I owe a tremendous debt to everyone who came before me, and for the past year I have tried to live up to their legacies.

Thank you to: Ellen Airhart, who founded this department and taught me how to report on science; Eva Frederick, an inspiring science journalist who helped draw me out of my shell of introversion; Zia Lyle, whose infectious enthusiasm helped me step outside of my comfort zone and into a leadership position; and Kate Thackery, who made me feel like I belong and whose talent for finding the perfect science pun for a quirky lead is unmatched.

But now, it’s time to think about the future of the department.

Thank you to Freya Preimesberger, whose calm stability and reliability has been a lifesaver on many occasions, and Sarah Bloodworth, whose tenacity has inspired me to be a better journalist and a better editor. You two have been great friends and an incredible help to me over this past year. I don’t know what I would have done without you, and I know I’m leaving this team in good hands.

And to all of the reporters I’ve been privileged to work with over the past year: I believe in all of you. You all have great potential, and whether you come back to the basement or move on to something else, I know you can all do amazing things.

For the past five semesters, I have had one of the coolest jobs possible: I have gotten to learn about cool science stuff happening here at UT and share what’s so cool about it to The Daily Texan audience. I’ve talked to so many scientists, from astronomers to zoologists, who follow their curiosity and are passionate about how their work can help others. That curiosity and passion, in essence, is what science is all about. 

Less than three years ago, I was just a lost journalism sophomore with no idea of what I wanted to do. If it weren’t for The Daily Texan, I never would have been able to see this far.