I knew fairly early that I wanted to be a biologist, and I managed to find a small liberal arts college, Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, which offered a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. After graduating magna cum laude in 1996, I immediately continued on to graduate school at Vanderbilt University for my Master’s degree in molecular physiology and then to Northwestern University for my PhD in physiology.
Little did I know that someday I would find a way to merge my love of science with my liberal arts education. While I was still in graduate school, I might have been the only one in the lab who actually enjoyed writing and editing the many manuscripts, grants, abstracts, and posters we produced. My colleagues were more than happy to hand over their first drafts for a once over, what soon came to be called giving it “The Tobin Touch.”
In 2003, I decided to take the next step and create The Tobin Touch, Inc. so that I could formally assist academic, foundation, and biotechnology clients with writing and editing of various materials. After graduating from Northwestern, I took the “alternative careers” path into medical writing, first in medical education and then in healthcare communications, all while keeping one foot in the academic world as a freelance writer and editor through The Tobin Touch.
I decided to go full time with the freelance thing in 2010 and though it’s been a bumpy ride, it’s also been incredibly rewarding. I’ve found that my background in bench science and physiology, combined with my liberal arts education and my experience in academic, educational, and promotional writing and editing, puts me in the unique position to understand and communicate the scientific and medical “story” behind my clients’ research efforts and data.