Meet Dan Ray! Senior Curriculum Writer located at our Texas office.
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin after graduating from high school. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a full academic scholarship to the UW, and I used this opportunity to double major in physics and astronomy-physics. By the time I graduated, I had decided that I wanted a career as a science writer. After working as a freelance writer for 2 years, I attended graduate school at the University of Colorado, enrolling in their science writing program, which was in the school of journalism. I graduated in 2009 and worked briefly for Canadian Geographic magazine.
How did you hear about Edmentum?
I started as a Jr. Writer/Editor for Science in August of 2009. I found the job posting on Monster.com. I had never heard of the company before I applied, but a little research indicated that this was potentially a very rewarding place to work. The future of the company seemed very bright, and Archipelago had been repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to work in Dallas/Fort Worth area. Furthermore, the position of Jr. Writer/Editor - Science would allow me to write and research across all branches of science; a prospect that very much appealed to me.
What are you and your department responsible for?
We design, write, and develop the educational content that goes into Edmentum’s products. Historically, this department’s primary focus has been on the Study Island products. But since the merger, our role in the development of nearly all of Edmentum’s products has greatly expanded. The department now routinely coordinates with the Praxis team to satisfy the needs of particular products or projects and also works directly with PLATO Courseware.
What interests you about the field that you are in?
Perhaps the most valuable part of this position is the opportunity to learn and write daily. In some ways, I consider myself a lifelong student, and science has always been my top area of interest. This is one of the few careers that I know of in which you can actually earn a living researching fascinating new topics with half of your time and crafting the knowledge you’ve gained into first-rate pieces of writing with the other half of your time. Honestly, if I was independently wealthy and had no need for a job, I would probably spend my days doing something very similar to what a science writer at Edmentum gets to do.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
Probably the most enjoyable aspect of any curriculum developer’s job is finishing a product or a piece of writing and feeling confident in its quality. Knowing that a piece of content that I wrote or designed can actually be used as an effective and engaging educational tool is a very rewarding thought.
What activities are you interested in outside of work?
I’ve been a distance runner since high school, and I’ve tried to keep myself in peak running condition over the years. I regularly run in road races and am decent enough to be somewhat competitive in some races. I recently ran the Spartan Sprint—a very challenging obstacle course race—which is something I had never tried before. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I plan to try other races like it in the future.
I also read voraciously. I try to read every great work of literature or groundbreaking work of nonfiction I can get my hands on.
What are your professional goals?
I hope to continue sharpening my craft as a science writer. I am also very interested in the overall processes that go into the development of educational products, including the cooperation and coordination that must occur between different teams and departments. I hope to continue growing my experience in these areas.