Student Spotlight: Zain Pasha, Cornell University, Executive Editor in Chief of The Triple Helix Online

Zain Pasha is an interesting mix.  He is Chinese and Pakistani.  He has an incredibly kind, corporate demeanor- and woolly hair worthy of an eighties rock band.  He enjoys tennis- and researching nuclear weapons proliferation.  At Cornell University, the rising senior touts three academic majors- economics, government, and information science.  He is a veteran Web programmer, *prolific* writer, and successful college debater.

This mix of interests, outlooks, and identities has melded together immaculately to help Pasha undertake what is arguably his highest profile position: founder and executive editor in chief of The Triple Helix Online.

The Triple Helix is an international student-run non-profit building undergrads’ interest and expertise in “the dynamic relationship between science, society, business, ethics, and law.”  Last spring, the Liberty, Mo., native started what is now TTH Online through his involvement with the organization’s Cornell chapter. It first went live online as a Cornell-specific e-pub.

In the past year, Pasha’s web work has gone global.  TTH Online currently exists as the virtual voice and face of an organization noted for its original research and commentary on a range of weighty world issues.  Literally, the site’s featured content at the moment ranges from pieces on health care reform, the creation museum, and earthquake preparedness policies in the wake of the China and Haiti traumas to treatises on prisoner torture, vertical farming, and something called lifeomics. It’s an interesting mix.

Zain Pasha, executive editor in chief, The Triple Helix Online

For his influential webtastic exploits and spirit of innovation behind TTH Online’s initial launch, Pasha deservedly joins the ranks of those previously honored in the CMM Student Journalist Spotlight.  Below, he explains a bit about TTH and reflects on his experience managing the org’s new media leap.

Write a six-word memoir of your experience with TTH Online so far.

There’s always something new to learn.

What is TTH?

The Triple Helix is a non-profit organization devoted to the study of the intersection of science, society and law. In today’s increasingly globalized world, these seemingly disparate disciplines have a lot of interplay and as such it is important that undergraduates and high school students learn how to appreciate them.  The Triple Helix is the vehicle through which students acquire that appreciation- be it through science policy studies, print publication, online publication, community service, etc.  TTH is also a unique organization in that it is a corporation run entirely by undergraduates from the top universities in the world.

Students should care about TTH because it provides a medium through which they can express their ideas. If students have original research, they can submit it to the TTH.   If they are interested in science policy, they have the opportunity to work within our science policy division.  The opportunities are endless in virtually all disciplines.  Most importantly, however, students should care because they will be able to build relationships with undergraduates who will inevitably go on to become leaders in their fields and with our faculty advisors who hail from some of the top universities and professional organizations in the U.S. and the world.

What does the online edition offer that the print pub does not?

The online publication offers a more structurally and substantively diverse set of articles. Students have the options to structure their articles as debates, opinions, commentaries, etc..  Readers get something different upon every release.  In particular, TTH Online’s use of live blogging to track conference presentations and events at TTH chapters is something unique that the online publication offers that is not found in print publications or other similar online publications.

A standout memory from your time as executive editor in chief.

The most memorable experience so far was at the Triple Helix Annual Conference in San Diego in February 2010. All of the organization’s leaders- the executive management team as well as chapter leaders- were assembled in a room discussing the future of The Triple Helix Inc.  I was amazed at the amount of knowledge and experience the undergraduates in that room had about management, publication, science policy and PR.  It hit me then that I was involved in an organization with some of the smartest students in the world.

Advice for students looking to make an online impact.

The most important advice is to have a niche (preferably something that is unfilled) and a message. Once you’ve established those two things, you need to market like crazy to attract writers and readers.

You each wake up in ten years.  Where are you and what are you doing?

I hope to be in New York City working as an attorney or a consultant, having written several books.

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