What do you do at the CIC?

Claire Duncan
Production Editor

I am the production editor for The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. While guiding articles through the production process and compiling issues, I work closely with our authors and our typesetting team at Wiley. I sometimes copy edit articles, but more typically work on them once they have been typeset and turned into HTML and PDF proofs. I also review the issue proofs to ensure that they are ready to go to print and up online. You can usually find me sitting in front of my dual monitors scanning a whole bunch of text to make sure it is accurately formatted and grammatically correct: after a couple of years of doing this, errors just jump out at me!

In addition to the production side, I also work on marketing for the journal, including tweeting from @CanJChemEng and developing and writing content for the CIC News. With this part of the job, I am also a member of the CIC marketing and communications team. I work remotely from my home office in Windsor, ON, so you might also occasionally see me at events in that area.

How has your background led up to this work?

I was definitely not on the trajectory for this career, but have sort of fallen into it as a happy accident. I finished my PhD at U of T in 2017, but not in anything to do with the chemical sciences: my degrees are all in English literature (feel free to chat me up about Shakespeare and ecofeminism). Throughout my graduate degrees at UBC and U of T, I taught students in all disciplines about effective writing, so have always had a good sense of the way that writing tools from the humanities can be incredibly useful in STEM fields. I also started editing on the side in the last couple of years of my PhD and worked with STEM writing and quickly realized that I enjoyed the challenge of helping authors communicate their cool research as clearly as possible.

I joined the CIC at the end of 2017 as a part-time copy editor and then moved into my current full-time position in June 2018. My background not only built my editing and communications skills, but it positions me to really understand some of the challenges faced by our graduate student members as they may be looking to transition from academia to non-academic fields. My PhD developed a huge range of skills for me beyond simply analyzing how Renaissance authors used plant metaphors to describe women: I honed the super-fast reading, communication, critical thinking, and research skills that I still get to use everyday in my job at the CIC. All grad students build these kinds of non-field specific skills that are extremely useful whether you stay in your area of research or move into something different for your career.

What else should people know about CIC?

Through Can. J. Chem. Eng., we offer a great venue for cutting edge chemical sciences work, which you probably already know. However, what you may not know is that the CIC is actively trying to work with Can. J. Chem. Eng. authors who are also CIC members to provide them an opportunity to communicate their research to a wider audience through the CIC News. Our news editor Tim Lougheed and I want to profile authors and their research, which is a great way to put your work into conversation with all of the fantastic STEM research that is happening in Canada. It is super important that the chemical sciences community continues to show off its innovations to the wider public and the CIC News provides a great way to reach more people. We also love showcasing the diversity of our community: one of my favourite stories from this year was from when I got to attend and write about Canada’s first LGBTQ+ in STEM conference.