I began my writing career by studying poetry as both an undergraduate and graduate student. As a kid, however, I was interested in both creative writing and science. I whiled away many hours during school drawing and designing underwater research stations for my future marine biology career. I was an active participant in Pennsylvania's Junior Academy of Science throughout my late middle school and high school career, presenting at both the local and state levels on the results of my experiments such as the effects of alcohol and caffeine on rats (psychology) and the best design for lightning rods (physics). But I was also tempted by a career path in creative writing. Creative writing won out exclusively, at least for a little while. (Sometime, ask me about my tragic attitude towards Biology as an undergraduate).
At Binghamton University, where I studied for my M.A. and Ph.D., I found a way to merge my interests in creative writing and science by writing a dissertation and collection of original poetry on the subject of HIV/AIDS. Both my critical and creative work on HIV/AIDS merged a lifelong interest in science, technology, and writing through the study of one of the most defining medical crises of our times.
Once I joined the faculty at LaGuardia Community College, I discovered a new passion: thinking about how writing and teaching are being shaped by technology. For the past several years, this has been my main area of research, writing, and presenting. You can see a full list of my creative and critical publications on my curriculum vitae.
Today, I am thinking and writing about the confluence of technology, pedagogy, and writing. I am currently focused on two projects: one about the changing shape of writing programs as writing programs grapple with emerging technologies and a second about the role of hacking as a critical competency for student learning.
I am also focused on a direction that is both new and old: telling stories about science for kids.
I have spent the last several years honing my craft as a fiction writer, studying children's literature and the field of children's publishing. While my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in creative writing, writing for children has opened up a whole new world to me. I wanted to learn how to best tell the stories I'm excited about for a new audience. I'm a member of SCBWI and participate in NY Metro area events as well as a writing group for middle grade fiction writers.
My first non-fiction piece for kids, "Diving in to Save our Underwater Cities" appeared in Appleseeds Magazine in the summer of 2013. Since then, I have published several pieces for Spigot Science. Two of my recent favorite pieces are "Oyster Gardens: Good for You, Good for our Water, Good for the Planet" about the work to reestablish oyster reefs in New York Harbor and a piece about geographer Marie Tharp who created the first comprehensive map of the ocean floor.
I am currently revising my first full-length fiction project, a middle grade novel that merges my love of the ocean and technology. I'm very excited about this project and I can't wait to tell you more when the time is right.
Because this work is so markedly different from my scholarly writing about HIV/AIDS, ePortfolios, and writing and technology, I decided to write for kids under the pen name Liz Summit.
I invite you to follow my adventures in writing for kids at Lizsummit.com where I am blogging and sharing my kid lit work for kids of all ages.