Category Archives: General Announcements

Science Refinery: Now with more Rhodes Scholar endorsements!

I am so proud to announce that Science Refinery is now officially endorsed by a Rhodes Scholar! Each year only 32 students from across the country get selected for this honor, so it’s kind of a Big Deal. I worked with Drew Birrenkott, currently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but soon to be headed to the University of Oxford, last fall to help him prepare for the rigorous in-person interview process. (Remember, Science Refinery can help you improve more than just your written articles! Check out the range of projects I work on here.)

Drew sent me his application essay and CV as well as documentation about common questions that previous applicants experienced so I could be the best mock interviewer possible. After reading through all the materials and jointly planning how we could use our sessions most effectively, we met via Skype to practice several times. Together we worked on everything from content to style to body language. I could tell Drew’s confidence improved greatly throughout the process, and when it was time for the real thing, I knew he would shine.

And shine he did! A few weeks later I got an excited call from Drew that he had been selected as the Rhodes Scholar from his region. Though of course all of the credit goes to Drew for his impressive work over the years, I am thrilled that I got to play some small part in his victory by working with him on interview practice through Science Refinery.

Without further ado, you can watch Drew discuss his experience with Science Refinery in this video. The transcript follows in case you’re unable to watch the video.

Hi, my name is Drew Birrenkott, I am a 2014 Rhodes Scholar, and I had the opportunity to work with Science Refinery on my Rhodes interview prep. What I appreciated most about Science Refinery was their flexibility. I have a very busy weekday schedule, and Science Refinery was able to work around that and we were able to find time on nights and weekends to meet and prepare.

Additionally, I had a lot of flexibility in the interview sessions themselves. At first, we were taking it question by question and discussing the answers afterwards. But as the interview day got closer, we sort of shifted gears and were doing full interview prep and discussing it all at the end, which was really helpful.

And the last thing I really appreciated about Science Refinery was their preparation. Before we even met, it was clear they had done a lot of work reading through my application materials and preparing hard, thought-provoking questions, which is a big thing for the Rhodes interview, as that’s what they try to do with all of their questions. So I really appreciated that level of preparation and it really made my Rhodes interview itself much better.

I would strongly recommend Science Refinery for all of your interview needs.

Happy National Grammar Day!

Happy National Grammar Day, dear readers! For an interesting discussion of the difference between what laypeople mean when they say grammar and what specialists mean by grammar, see this post on the Copyediting blog.

If you’re in the mood to celebrate language–or if you’re just in the mood to save some money!–don’t forget that you can buy a $100 Science Refinery gift certificate for only $85 through tomorrow.

A perfect holiday gift for that special academic in your life

Still wondering what to get that special academic in your life for the holidays? How about the gift of time: save them the hassle of designing that poster, putting together that PowerPoint, or reading through that thesis again by giving them a gift certificate for Science Refinery!

Contact me through the General Inquiry form, email me at, or call me at 406.880.0224 to discuss the options today. I can send a certificate of any denomination digitally or by mail.

As a random holiday bonus, here’s a picture of my cat Mateo in his ill-fitting elf costume from last Christmas. I promise that anyone who receives a Science Refinery gift certificate will be significantly less grumpy than this:


Happy National Fossil Day!

It’s the fourth annual National Fossil Day!

To celebrate, I’m offering 10% off any services booked today or tomorrow (even if your subject area isn’t fossil-related!). Just contact me to get started.

If you’re in the Missoula area, check out the events offered by the University of Montana Paleontology Center tonight. I’ll see you there!

A few general announcements (with pretty pictures!)

-I’m back! I’ve been quiet recently because my family was visiting from Wisconsin for the first time. We had a great time exploring the Missoula area and taking day trips to Flathead Lake, Idaho, and such. The running joke of the trip was to take pictures of everyone “contemplating.” Here’s one of Kristofer and me* contemplating Lolo Creek at Fort Fizzle:

-More generally, I’ve decided not to stick to my original plan of posting every weekday. It was taking too much of my time and mental energy. For now I’m planning to post about three days a week instead (when I’m not on vacation).

-My ad is still running on the Montana Kaimin website. Due to a few errors on their part, you can also still pick up a Missoulian with my ad in it on Sunday 10/20 and 10/27. [EDIT: To help make up for it, I’ll now also be included in the special InBusiness Quarterly section on Thursday, 11/21.]

-Here’s a bonus picture of some snow-capped mountains, trees with fall colors, and cattle. Because it’s gorgeous.

*Ah! I originally had “Kristofer and I.” Classic over correction. Oops!

Science Refinery newspaper ads

Science Refinery is currently advertising in two local papers.

The Montana Kaimin (the University of Montana paper) has an online ad all month and I’m in the print editions on Thursday 9/26, Friday 10/4, and Thursday 10/10.

As a benefit of Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce membership, I’m also in the Sunday print editions of the Missoulian on 9/22, 9/29, and 10/6. [EDIT: due to a printing error in the original runs, they’ve graciously offered to run the corrected ad on 10/13 too.] [EDIT 2: due to an accounting error, I somehow didn’t run on 10/6 or 10/13. It’s now supposed to be in on 10/20 and 10/27. Needless to say, I’m frustrated with them.] [EDIT 3: To help make up for it, I’ll now also be included in the special InBusiness Quarterly section on Thursday, 11/21.]

If you’re in Missoula, be sure to pick up copies on those days!

I’ve updated my contact page forms so I can begin tracking where people are finding me. That will help me decide whether to invest in these paper ads again, for example.

Ad in the Kaimin

Ad in the Kaimin

Ad in the Missoulian

Ad in the Missoulian

Where did I get my snazzy new logo?

(Don’t forget that there’s a Constitution Day contest going on! Pop over to yesterday’s post to learn how you could win $17.87 off your next edit.)

If you normally read these posts via email, you should click through to the site today to see the redesign. Yesterday I updated and the Facebook and Twitter pages with my new logo and colors.

The logo was designed by freelance graphic designer Gavin Folgert. I found him through LinkedIn (what a wonderful networking tool!). Gavin transformed my (lack of) ideas into a creative logo. He worked with my requirements and requests to make a beautiful final product that came in on budget. I would hire Gavin for logo design again and recommend his work to my friends. You can see more of his work on his website, follow him on Twitter, or email him at

I’m (back) on the radio!

In middle school I recorded an anti-smoking radio ad. I was so gosh darn proud of that thing and the $50 I earned!

As of this week, I’m back on the radio. As one of the perks of Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce membership, Science Refinery got a gratis ad with Town Square Media. If you go to their site, navigate to Montana, and scroll to Missoula, you’ll see the stations on which it’s airing this week. You can even click to listen to them live online from anywhere in the world. Country, oldies, pop, hard rock, talk–pick your poison.

Let’s have them scratching their heads at why so many distant people are tuning in online this week. If you hear me, let me know!