We are excited to share the inspiring journey of Laura Tenenbaum, a distinguished alumna of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Laura’s recent accomplishment involves her publication in the Huffington Post Personals section, marking a significant milestone in her journey as a science communicator and memoirist.

Laura’s path in science communication began as the senior science editor for NASA’s Global Climate Change website, dedicating a decade to engaging the public with science. Unfortunately, her journey faced a challenge when she was censored and forced out after Trump took office. Undeterred by this setback, Laura turned adversity into inspiration, using her experiences to fuel a memoir about finding her authentic voice.

Initiating her piece during Liz Stephens’ Memoir II class at UCLA Extension, Laura initially resisted writing in the second person. However, she discovered that this perspective offered unique emotional depth. In Shawna Kenny’s Creative Nonfiction III, classmates suggested a shift to the first person, and the piece evolved further. The use of present tense, a departure from Laura’s usual past tense style, brought a fresh dynamic to her storytelling.

The class feedback became instrumental, especially when faced with the challenge of crafting an ending. Comments from fellow students, expressing a desire to know the aftermath beyond the initial rush, guided Laura in finding a compelling conclusion.

Laura’s initial draft exceeded the word limit, prompting her to make strategic decisions. She divided the material into two essays, focusing on body image and science communication. For the Huffington Post, Laura meticulously edited, preserving the most potent elements to meet the outlet’s requirements. Her dedication paid off as she successfully navigated the competitive world of online publishing.

Currently, Laura is actively working on the structure of her original memoir. With the Huffington Post essay gaining traction, she plans to refine a science opinion piece for the New York Times guest essays

Laura Tenenbaum’s success story exemplifies resilience, creativity, and the transformative power of storytelling. Her journey from NASA to Huffington Post is an inspiration to aspiring writers and a testament to the impact of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. We look forward to witnessing her continued success and the impact of her voice on the world of memoir and science communication.

Laura’s Huff Post story, which came out just a week ago, can be found here.

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