Sarah Scoles is an Associate Editor at Astronomy magazine. She earned an M.F.A. from Cornell University.
Why did you decide to pursue an MFA?
I took a Creative Writing course as an elective at the end of my junior year of college. In the Fall, I expected to be applying to Ph.D. programs in Astronomy, as that’s what I was actually studying. But when I took a second Writing class during the first semester of my senior year, I thought that perhaps I loved writing too much to spend six years in graduate school for something else right away. I didn’t know anything about MFA programs (I didn’t even know what the letters stood for, so immersed was I in the science world, until that year), but I knew I wanted to do more writing, I knew I wanted to become a better writer, and I was fairly certain I wasn’t qualified for any jobs.
When you started the degree, what were you leaving behind?
Well, I had wanted to be a research astronomer since I was about four years old, and all of my plans for my future centered on that goal. So I was essentially leaving behind the whole life-path I’d planned to trek down.