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NASW workshop
CASW New Horizons in Science
Lunch with a scientist

  • WK
    Katherine Mast

    Freelance writer, fact checker, and editor, Santa Fe Institute Press, Santa Fe, N.M.

    Katherine Mast is a science writer based in the Southwest. She freelances as a writer and fact-checker, and edits books for the Santa Fe Institute Press. Mast focuses on environmental and earth science — covering stories ranging from trees, the beetles that eat them, wild edibles for people, and the fragile soil microbiomes of the desert. She discovered InterPlay, a body-based creative arts practice developed in the Bay Area, nearly a decade ago and the practice expanded Mast's interviewing and writing skills.

    Twitter: @katiemast
    Email: katiemast@gmail.com


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    Anne McGovern

    Science writer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass.

    Anne is a science writer at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory where she covers topics such as quantum computing, nanotechnology, cyber security, and more. Before joining the lab, she was a science communications fellow at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and an intern at Sky & Telescope magazine. She has also published work in the Atlantic, Men's Health, and the T.J. Eckleburg Review.

    Twitter: @anniemcg13
    Email: amcgovern13@gmail.com


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    Vanessa McMains

    Senior media relations representative, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

    Vanessa McMains joined the Johns Hopkins media relations staff in June 2010 as a media relations representative and communications coordinator covering the basic sciences. She is now a senior media relations representative covering several clinical beats. Previously, she performed freelance writing and editing for the National Institutes of Health and the American Physiological Society. She holds a Ph.D. in biology from a joint program between the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University.

    Twitter: @NessaMcmains
    Email: vmcmain1@jhmi.edu


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    Monica Medina

    Professor of biology, Penn State University

    Mónica Medina is an integrative biologist interested in the ecology and evolution of marine organisms. Her current research focuses on different aspects of cnidarian-algal symbiosis and cnidarian-microbe interactions. Her lab uses a combination of experimental field based approaches with molecular and genomic tools in the lab. Medina earned her Ph.D. in marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami and taught at the University of California, Merced, before joining Penn State.

    Twitter: @MedinaLabPSU
    Web: http://medinalab.org/new/


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    Allison Mills

    Associate director of research news, Michigan Tech, Houghton, Mich.

    Allison Mills is the associate director of research news at Michigan Technological University where she writes news releases, research-focused blog posts and social media, and helps faculty learn to communicate their work to non-technical audiences. Mills developed the website Unscripted — a creative, behind-the-scenes exploration of Michigan Tech research. She studied geoscience as an undergrad at Northland College before getting a master's in environmental science and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana; she has also studied dance most of her life and has been a modern, ballet, and fusion dance instructor for 14 years.

    Twitter: @mturesearch
    Email: awmills@mtu.edu


  • NH
    Kiran Musunuru

    Associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

    An actively practicing cardiologist and a committed teacher, Kiran Musunuru holds an MD and PhD and master's degrees in law and public health. He trained at Harvard University, Cornell University Medical College, The Rockefeller University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the genetics of heart disease, seeking to identify genetic factors that protect against disease and use them to develop therapies to protect the entire population. In his recent work he has been using gene editing to create a one-shot “vaccination” against heart attacks, the leading cause of death worldwide. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House and the American Heart Association's Award of Meritorious Achievement. He is the author of The CRISPR Generation: The Story of the World's First Gene-Edited Babies, which is being published in October 2019.


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    Bryn Nelson

    Freelance writer, Seattle, Wash.

    Bryn Nelson is an award-winning freelance science and medical writer with nearly 20 years of experience. He has written for Newsday, the New York Times, NBCNews.com, CNN, Nature, Mosaic, ENSIA, bioGraphic, Science News for Students, the Guardian and other print and online publications.

    Bryn specializes in writing about life sciences, biomedicine, the environment, the green building industry and travel. Among his other writing projects, he helped launched the news section of the journal Cancer Cytopathology and has written often for NYU Langone Medical Center and trade publications including The Rheumatologist and The Hospitalist. In addition, he contributed a chapter to "The Science Writers' Handbook" and edited chapters on microbiology and food safety for the six-volume "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking."

    Bryn received a B.A. in biology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Washington in Seattle and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A resident of Seattle, he has a strong affinity for unconventional travel destinations and double tall lattes.

    Twitter: @seattlebryn
    Email: bdnelson@nasw.org



  • WK
    Michael E. Newman

    Senior media relations representative, Johns Hopkins Medicine

    A seasoned science and medical communicator with expertise in public affairs, journalism and broadcast media, Michael joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine media team as senior media relations representative in March 2019. In this role, he communicates and promotes the research, clinical advances, service lines and related initiatives for a diverse group of the institute’s divisions.

    Michael came to Hopkins after 27 years at the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At NIST, he served from 1991 to 2007 as director of media relations and then for the next 11 years as senior communications officer.

    Prior to NIST, Michael worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, a medical TV writer/producer for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, a features reporter at an NPR affiliate, an ABC-TV news producer, an audiovisual production manager and media officer for a Fortune 500 oil and gas company, and a press officer/science writer for the National Cancer Institute. He also has been a successful, award-winning freelance writer and editor for more than 35 years, primarily on medical and science topics. From 1990 until 2006, he penned the popular “Answer Line” question-and-answer column for the Journal Newspapers in the Greater Washington, D.C., area.

    Michael holds bachelor’s degrees in microbiology from Clemson University and communications from the University of Houston, and he completed one year toward a Ph.D. in virology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a member of the D.C. Science Writers Association and the National Association of Science Writers, for which he is co-chair of the Public Information Officers Committee and has helped plan eight annual meetings as a member of the Programs Committee. In 2013, NASW honored Michael with the Diane McGurgan Service Award.

    Twitter: @MENewman17
    Email: mnewma25@jhmi.edu


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    Amy Nordrum

    News editor, IEEE Spectrum, New York, N.Y

    Amy Nordrum is news manager for the technology and engineering magazine IEEE Spectrum. She assigns and edits news stories for the publication's website and monthly magazine. And on Saturdays, she sends a newsletter to staff and contributors to highlight a "lede of the week," share style tips, and recognize stories that Spectrum's readers really loved. Amy is a graduate of New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) and is working on her MBA at NYU's Stern School of Business with a focus on the media industry.

    Pitching guidelines:

    IEEE Spectrum provides in-depth coverage of technology developments in fields such as computing, biomedical technology, power/energy, transportation, telecommunications, and robotics. Our audience includes many professional engineers, so it's important that we provide clear-eyed analysis and technical details without resorting to jargon or acronym-laden descriptions. We focus on emerging technology that's still in the research phase or pretty early in the commercialization pipeline and do very little gadget coverage.

    Freelancers are welcome to pitch story ideas for news stories on any of the areas we cover. I'm especially interested in pitches about major milestones in a specific technology's development, illuminating examples of engineering setbacks or failures, and coverage of developments outside of Europe and the United States. I'd also very much like to hear pitches about controversies related to standards and roadmaps, or disagreements that could shape the direction or deployment of a technology in any of the fields we follow. News stories typically run 500 to 800 words. I don't often assign coverage of breaking news or embargoed studies that other outlets are likely to cover.

    To pitch a story before or after PowerPitch, send an email to a.nordrum@ieee.org. It's helpful if freelancers have some prior experience covering technology and can provide a few clips on topics that we've covered, but that's not mandatory.

    Email: a.nordrum@ieee.org


  • WK
    Shannon Odell

    Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medicine + “Your Brain On Blank” + “Drunk Science” + The Science Channel, New York, N.Y.

    Shannon Odell is a Brooklyn-based writer, comedian and scientist. She co-hosts and produces "Drunk Science," an experimental comedy show deemed "a stroke of genius" by Gothamist and a finalist in TruTV's comedy break out initiative. She co-created, writes and stars in the Inverse original series "Your Brain on Blank," where she explains the science behind how everything — from alcohol to caffeine to puppies — affects the brain. She can be seen on The Science Channel where she acts as a regular science correspondent for the show "What on Earth!" She performs monthly with her improv group MOOF at the UCB theater. She can also be seen at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she is a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate studying epigenetics and memory.

    Twitter: @shodell
    Email: odellshan@gmail.com


  • NH
    C. Brandon Ogbunu

    Assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Brown University

    C. Brandon Ogbunu is a geneticist whose research interest focuses on complex interactions between genes and the environment. In addition, Brandon writes for various venues at the intersection between science, data and culture. His writing has appeared in Wired magazine, Deadspin, The Conversation, Greater Good magazine and Boxing.com.

    Twitter: @big_data_kane
    Web: https://medium.com/ogplexus


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    Kristin Ozelli

    Features editor, Spectrum, New York, N.Y.

    Kristin Ozelli commissions and edits "Deep Dives," Spectrum's long-form stories on important topics in autism research. She joined the team in 2017. Previously, she was a senior editor at Scientific American and Scientific American MIND magazines, and worked at the Natural History Museum in London.

    Pitching guidelines:

    Spectrum is always looking for new writers and feature stories that delve deep into scientific and social trends within the autism community: How are autism and schizophrenia related? What are scientists learning from 'baby siblings'? What is parenting like on the spectrum? (For more examples, see: https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/). The best Spectrum features present a clear argument, supported by recent studies and interviews with multiple scientists and families. Ideally, they blend emerging research and human experience on the spectrum. To pitch, send a few paragraphs outlining your idea — along with who you think the main characters in your story might be (both scientists and other subjects, if you've figured that out) — to kristin@spectrumnews.org. Our features run between 2,500 and 4,000 words in length. Scientists are our primary audience but because our features are often syndicated, these stories need to be written in language that is accessible to everyone.

    Email: kristin@spectrumnews.org


  • WK
    Clinton Parks

    Freelance writer, Washington, D.C.

    Clinton Parks is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance science writer whose work has appeared in Slate and Science. He has a B.S. in psychology with a minor in biology from Morehouse College. He has published in AAAS, the Society for Neuroscience, Undark and the American Physical Society, to name a few. From November 2003 through April 2006, Parks served as staff writer of AAAS' Minority Scientists Network, the online network for current and prospective minority scientists. From October 2006 through May 2015, he served as a staff writer and web producer for the trade publication SpaceNews. He is a 2016 DiverseScholar SciComm Diversity Travel Fellow and a 2017 Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources Fellow.

    Twitter: @crparks3
    Email: crparks3@gmail.com



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    Kasha Patel

    Science writer and video producer, NASA Earth Observatory, Washington D.C.

    Kasha Patel is a science writer and video producer at NASA Earth Observatory. She previously worked in the Office of Communications at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where she hosted an award-winning NASA TV miniseries highlighting Earth science fieldwork. While Kasha enjoys uncovering interesting story angles in any satellite image or data set, she gravitates towards citizen science projects, auroras, and tracking diseases and natural hazards from space. Kasha studied chemistry at Wake Forest University, science journalism at Boston University, and introductory data journalism at the ProPublica Data Institute. Outside of work, she regularly performs stand-up comedy and runs science-themed comedy shows, which have been featured in the Washington Post and BBC World News. In 2018, she was named one of the "Best Undiscovered Comedians in the U.S." by Thrillist magazine.

    Twitter: @KashaPatel
    Email: kashagpatel@gmail.com