Barbara Ehrenreich's college training was in the area of science, specifically lab research that led to a PhD in cell biology. Through this training, she learned to be inquisitive and discovered that she could learn about any topic if she applied herself to the learning process.
As a life-long avid reader, she also gravitated to writing as a means of sharing what she had learned. When she became attracted to and involved with various "activist" movements - women's health issues, health care for the poor, etc. - she found writing about what she had learned and experienced a natural way to inform others about her concerns.
People sometimes ask how one can be an objective journalist as well as an activist, but most of the writing I have done has been of the opinionated variety anyway. Besides, I can’t imagine getting involved in a problem as a journalist and not wanting to do something about it, whether that means marching, picketing, leafleting, or helping build an organization for social change. Besides, a lot of my inspiration as a journalist comes from what I experience as an activist -- the people I meet on union picket lines, for example.