Anna's Journey to Publish her Research

July 15, 2021

Hi! My name is Anna and I am a rising junior and former member of the SHM cohort of WLP. Back in freshman year, I began a lit review writing project as part of the WLP Intro Bio class. I decided to write about the donation of umbilical cord blood because I used to work with a lot of new parents in a human resources office in high school and found that very few parents knew that i) umbilical cord blood is a valuable resource, and ii) it is possible to donate or store umbilical cord blood for later use. I don't come from a family of STEM people, so I wanted to take on the challenge of writing a scientific paper in a way that non-STEM people (like my family members) would find accessible and relevant. There were numerous benchmarks along the way, from collecting and summarizing sources to creating a references page and writing out drafts of each section of the paper. I am so grateful to have worked with Dr. Jordan, Dr. Jaumann, our TA Amira Bakir, and my SHM peers on research skills, proofreading, and editing. Their insight was incredibly helpful when it came to restructuring and rewriting my paper, looking for additional sources, and streamlining my writing. 


Once the paper was finished at the end of freshman year, I began the process of researching undergraduate journals with Dr. Jordan and reformatting my paper to fit journal requirements (e.g., adjusting citation style, headers, title page, etc.). After a few months of research and editing, I submitted my paper to my first-choice journal, "Intersect: The Stanford Journal of Science, Technology, and Society" in December. It took about 5 months for the editing team at Stanford to review my paper, check sources and information, and make a recommendation for the paper. I was so happy to hear back in May that the team would publish my article in their spring edition following the addition of another section, per the recommendation of the editor. The team asked that I research and expand upon the comment I made about the underwhelming number of cord blood banks in the US and the workarounds for cell dose limitations in a single unit of cord blood. For another 2-3 weeks, I researched and wrote in the new content before sending it back to the editors at Stanford as the final draft. It took about another month for formatting, copy editing, and assembly on the journal's end, and then in July, my paper was published as part of Intersect's spring 2021 edition! 


It was so rewarding to see my hard work recognized, and exciting as this is my first publication. I couldn't have done it without the help of my peers, GA, professors in WLP, and the editing team at Stanford. I am so beyond grateful for the opportunity to publish and I would encourage anybody who's written a paper to strongly consider taking the extra step to send it out for publication. It's an incredibly gratifying and empowering experience!


Anna McDonald-Martin, SHM 2019-2020