29, 2001, Gazette)
by Chris Hammond
(L-R) Deborah Inkpen, Office of Research;
Wendy Monk and Alex Dalziel, SPARK students; and Ivan Muzychka, manager
of Memorials News Service.
Thanks to cooperation with the Telegram,
Memorials SPARK program has hit the big time. The Students Promoting
Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK) program has existed at Memorial
since 1999. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
provided seed-money for the program, through which students gain experience
in writing about the leading research at their home university, while
giving the university an invaluable tool to promote the often underappreciated
endeavours of its faculty and students.
We have found the SPARK program to be a real asset to our news
and promotional activities, said Ivan Muzychka, manager of Memorials
News Service and the person who brought the program to Memorial. The
Gazette in particular benefits greatly from having a team of
student writers dedicated to generating content that highlights the
research excellence of Memorial.
While the Gazette was traditionally the main medium for SPARK
student writers, starting in November, their articles started to hit
the pages of the Sunday Telegrams Science page. SPARK
gives us the opportunity to have local content on our Science page,
which is wonderful for us, and it lets our readers get a glimpse of
the research being carried out locally, at Memorial University,
said Pam Frampton, editor of the Sunday Telegram.
Deborah Inkpen, information officer (research), who manages the SPARK
program, is equally enthusiastic. The SPARK program give students
who are interested in journalism, communications and public relations
the opportunity to build up experience and develop a portfolio through
working with Memorials communications team, she said.
To get into the journalism and PR business, experience is the
key, and SPARK gives students that experience.
Memorial has had a number of students write under the program since
its inception. Currently, there are two SPARK correspondents at Memorial:
Alex Dalziel, a graduate student in history; and Wendy Monk, an undergraduate
in physics. Both have had articles in the Telegram. It was very
exciting for me to get published in the Gazette, let alone the Telegram,
Ms. Monk enthused. Its great to see that your hard work
academically can pay off, especially since I am getting to merge two
things I love: writing and science.
I have always thought that making the knowledge created at universities
accessible to the public central to the whole purpose of the university
thats why I jumped at the chance to write for the SPARK
program, Mr. Dalziel explained. Developing an idiom that
is intellectually thorough but also easy to understand and enjoyable
for the reader is something that takes time, and the SPARK program
has helped me a lot in that direction.
The hard work and enthusiasm of the students who have participated
in SPARK is why the idea has been such a success, Ms. Inkpen
As someone who has been in the communications business for some
years, it is a lot of fun to share my expertise with students. Im
really glad they are getting the chance to show their stuff in the
Students wanting more information on the SPARK program are encouraged
to contact Deborah Inkpen at 737-4073 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.