Grey Matters is a neuroscience outreach organization founded by undergraduate students at the University of Washington. Our mission is to encourage public interest in neuroscience and develop accomplished science communicators. To that end, we publish a quarterly journal that is written, edited, illustrated, and produced entirely by undergraduate students. Grey Matters also hosts events such as our annual Evening with Neuroscience, an event dedicated to helping the public learn more about neuroscience from some of the most accomplished individuals in the field.
Grey Matters’ mission is to not only enhance public understanding through our journal, online publications, and events, but also to help undergraduate students develop their skills as effective communicators in the scientific community. We strive to bring the public closer to the field of neuroscience while also teaching undergraduates how to communicate complex ideas in a way that is accessible for just about anyone.
Producing the journal is certainly our largest effort, and we take a very different approach from most other undergraduate journals around the country. Instead of accepting article submissions from undergraduates interested in getting published, we ask interested writers to submit an article proposal, which summarizes a topic of interest. The leadership team then reviews proposals and accepts those that we think will be successful articles. From there, our writers are paired with undergraduate editors to help them develop and refine their writing, as well as undergraduate artists who work with them to design illustrations that compliment their article. This model allows us to mentor every student who contributes to the journal, helping them develop their skills and become better writers, editors, artists, and members of the scientific community.
An Interdisciplinary Model
Another important aspect of Grey Matters is our interdisciplinary approach to science outreach. By incorporating disciplines such as English and art, we are not only able to reach a wider audience by making the journal visually appealing and pleasant to read, but also have the opportunity to work with and mentor students in these fields, helping them develop professional skills that will serve them both within the scientific community as well as in their own disciplines.