College junior shares her writing ambitions

The Daily Pennsylvanian
March 21, 2008

Media Credit: Michael Chien
Alicia Puglionesi, winner of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Literary Journalism Fellowship, speaks about her composition at the Kelly Writers House. Puglionesi wrote a nonfiction essay about neurotheology, a new field of research that uses science to investigate the neurological and physiological basis of faith. Penn alum Lee Eisenberg hosted the discussion.

Pennsylvanian opinion artist and this year's recipient of the Eisenberg Literary Journalism Fellowship.

Puglionesi wrote a piece of long-form journalism under the direction of Lee Eisenberg, a former editor of Esquire and Time Magazine and a 1968 College graduate and 1970 Annenberg School for Communication graduate.

Puglionesi, a College junior, chose to write about neurotheology, the study of the relationship between brain activity and spirituality.

She said that in light of public interest in neuroscience, sometimes called neurosensationalism, she had wanted to do a "more rigorous investigation of neuroeverything" through this project.

Eisenberg and History of Sociology and Science professor John Tresch joined her for the discussion at the Writers House.

Puglionesi read excerpts from her work, titled, "God on the Brain." In it, she explains some of the issues at work in the somewhat-controversial intersection between religion and science.

Afterward, Eisenberg, Treshe and Puglionesi discussed various issues pertaining to the content as well as the writing of the piece. They primarily focused on the problem of maintaining an intelligent writing style in a world that may be interested in less academic things.