What\’s it like to be a YSJ Editor?

Ben Schwabe is a member of our Editorial Team, and was our first ‘Editor of the Month’ in recognition of his consistently high work ethic.  Here, Ben shares insights about what it’s like to be part of the team…

Hey! My name is Ben Schwabe, I’m 18 years old and I live in Leicestershire, in the UK. I am currently on a gap year between school and university, and I have just finished studying chemistry, physics, biology and maths at A level. I am trying to get a wide range of research experience on my gap year and have lots planned, including plant sciences, biochemistry, chemistry and species conservation!
I have been editing articles for the Young Scientists Journal (YSJ) for just over a year now and have just been appointed Executive Editor for Chemical and Life Sciences! In particular, I focus on articles about chemistry, biology, and the environment.
What do you do in your role as an Editor at YSJ?
In my role as an editor I get to read and comment on (and hopefully improve!) articles on a wide range of topics. I generally end up doing two or three hours per week. Editing articles is a really nice way to think about a new topic for a while and I always learn loads doing the background research in order to comment on the articles! It has been extremely rewarding to read articles from people across the world with a wealth of different experiences and ideas. Getting to think critically about articles on a wide range of topics is hopefully going to help me understand how good articles are written, and maybe help me write better myself in the future!
What are your areas of interest within STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics)?
I am fascinated by things across the sciences, hence the eclectic mix of experiences in my gap year! I find the environmental problems we face at the moment – such as climate change and pollution – very concerning and I would love to find a career using natural sciences to find solutions to these challenging problems. I am currently trying to learn more about chemistry and biochemistry, as I find them fascinating (and I suspect these may have a role to play in dealing with these problems). My Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) used some chemistry and biochemistry, as I extracted capsaicin from home grown chillies in order to try to quantify how hot they were!
What motivated you to get involved in YSJ?
One of my friends at school actually told me about YSJ and encouraged me to apply for a position as an editor! I really enjoyed studying sciences and maths at school, and it was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and interests beyond A-levels.
What’s the best thing about being a member of the YSJ team?
The best thing about being an editor would have to be the opportunity to interact with some amazing and impressive people (both other team members and authors), who will hopefully become the next generation of science communicators and researchers!
Tell us about an article you enjoyed editing recently!
I particularly enjoyed reading and editing an article about a project to produce a 3D bioprinter. It combined all the sciences and computing to create something really cool, an extremely impressive project! I’m hoping this will be published soon for everyone to read!

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