SciLance is a tight-knit group of 35 award-winning science writers who live in big cities and small towns across the United States and Canada. We have worked as staffers and freelancers for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and web sites; as public information officers; and as corporate, university, and non-profit organization writers. Together, we have over 300 years of experience in professional writing about nearly every science topic.
The group began in 2005, when Kendall Powell and a few other freelance science writers realized they needed to find a way to create their own version of the office “water cooler” — a place to get advice, share joys or frustrations and take a break from the work day. Kendall created a private, online Yahoo! group, named it SciLance and drafted a few simple rules to define the community. Since then, “SciLancers” have shared thousands of online messages and make their virtual water cooler a real one by gathering at different professional conferences during the year.
Jill U Adams writes about health & medicine, nature & environmental issues, and the intersection of research & policy for newspapers, magazines, and the web. Publication credits include Audubon, Discover, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Science, and Nature. A former research scientist, Jill has shed her passive voice but not her disapproval of handwaving theories. A parent of teens, she is loath to give advice, but is full of it anyway. Jill lives in Albany, NY, with her husband, three kids, and a dog.
Adam Aston is a Brooklyn-based journalist, editor and ghostwriter who focuses on energy, environment and urban issues. As a freelancer, his work has appeared at GreenBiz.com, The New York Times, NRDC's OnEarth, and Technology Review, among others. Previously, Adam served as energy and environment editor at BusinessWeek. A native of Pittsburgh, Adam is a graduate of Princeton University and lived in Hong Kong where he covered economics and business for the Economist Intelligence Unit.
After working as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow for ABC News, Monya fled broadcast journalism for a high school classroom, where she taught biology, chemistry and math before venturing into print journalism at the Acumen Journal of Life Sciences. As synopses editor at MIT's Technology Review, Monya solicited input from scientists and venture capitalists to select the most promising emerging research. She has written for The Economist, New Scientist, The Scientist, Wired and other publications. Monya has a BA in biology from Carleton College and an EdM from Harvard University. Based in San Francisco, she works as a writer and editor for Nature Publishing Group.
Jennifer Cutraro is a freelance science and education writer in the greater Boston area who specializes in writing for kids and teachers. She contributes regularly to Science News for Kids and writes a weekly lesson on science in the news for the New York Times Learning Network. Jennifer has developed educational materials for NOVA scienceNOW, the New England Aquarium, and Houghton Mifflin and has also written for media outlets including the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Scholastic Science World and National Geographic Kids. A native of Milwaukee, she enjoys exploring the New England coastline with her husband and looking for slimy things under logs with her two young daughters.
Helen Fields is a freelance science journalist in Washington, D.C. She writes about frogs, whales, meteorites, airplanes, and whatever else she and her editors can think of. Her freelance work has appeared in Smithsonian, Science, New Scientist, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Before she started freelancing full time in 2008, she had staff jobs at National Geographic and U.S. News & World Report. A graduate of the U.C. Santa Cruz Science Communication Program, she spends a lot of her free time knitting.
Douglas Fox is a freelance writer based in Northern California. He has written for Discover, National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, Esquire, New Scientist, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. His stories have garnered national awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009) and from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (2011), and have appeared in The Best American Science Writing (2012), The Best Technology Writing (2010) and The Best American Science & Nature Writing (2009).
Journalist, artist, vocalist and producer, Robert Frederick is a multimedia freelancer with a background in mathematics, philosophy, art and voice. As a journalist, Frederick specializes in physical sciences and economics, though has reported on most sciences, health, policy, education and business by following a good story wherever it leads. Frederick is an accomplished interviewer, having worked as Science magazine’s first weekly podcast host and multimedia producer, as St. Louis Public Radio’s first science journalist, and as freelance reporter for a variety of clients in print, radio, video and online. He lives in western North Carolina, where he also sings professionally and writes children’s books.
Alison Fromme has tracked rattlesnakes, witnessed dynamite blasts, and eaten goat stew while on assignment for national magazines and regional publications, including Backpacker, Discover, Pregnancy, and Mountain Home Magazine. She has also created educational materials for the New York Times Learning Network, PBS, McDougal Littell and many others. Alison lives in upstate New York, where she founded Ithaca’s Food Web, a hyperlocal website publishing local food news and commentary on topics ranging from crop disease outbreaks to school lunch reform. Alison is currently the Project Manager for The Science Writers’ Handbook.
Emily Gertz is a freelance journalist and editor covering the environment, technology, and science, who has written for Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, Whole Living, Dwell, Talking Points Memo, OnEarth, Grist, and more. She also works as a content and social media strategist. Emily was a founding contributor to Worldchanging.com, the award-winning blog covering solutions to global environmental, political, and economic challenges, and to the Abrams book Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Century. She has co-authored two books for O’Reilly Media, Environmental Monitoring With Arduino and Atmospheric Monitoring with Arduino.
Virginia Gewin covers environmental issues—from food security to acidifying oceans to endangered species—from her perch in Portland, Oregon. Once on track to become a soil microbiologist, Virginia scrapped those plans to pursue her budding interest in science journalism after completing an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media fellowship and an internship at Nature magazine. For the last decade, she has been a freelancer, writing for Nature, Frontiers in Ecology andEnvironment, The Oregonian, Portland Monthly, PLoS Biology, and Consumers Digest.
Liza Gross is a freelance journalist, senior editor at the journal PLOS Biology, contributor to Environmental Health News and blogger for KQED QUEST. She writes mostly about wildlife, ecology and environmental health. Her stories—which have taken her to the Pyrenees, the tiny town of Haines, Alaska, and California’s poverty-stricken Central Valley—reflect a lifelong fascination with the natural world and our place in it. She’s written for diverse outlets, including Scientific American, KQED QUEST, San Francisco Chronicle, Sierra, High Country News and Wine Spectator. Her story, No beba el agua, is part of EHN's Pollution, Poverty, People of Color series, which received Honorable Mention in the Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism.
Thomas Hayden is co-editor of The Science Writers' Handbook. He teaches science writing, environmental journalism and sustainability science in Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences and Graduate Program in Journalism. Trained as an oceanographer, he has been a science journalist for 15 years, reporting and writing for national and international publications. Hayden was a staff reporter at Newsweek in New York and a senior writer at US News & World Report in Washington, DC. His freelance work includes cover stories for National Geographic, Wired, Smithsonian and many other publications. He is the coauthor of two books and was the lead writer for the 2010 9th revision of the iconic National Geographic Atlas of the World.
Adam Hinterthuer is a freelance science and environmental writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. He's written about bisphenol-A in plastics for Scientific American, Asian Carp and electric fences for BioScience and one man's crusade to clean the mighty Mississippi for the now defunct Plenty magazine. Once upon a time, he was a podcaster for Scientific American's "60 Second Science." In his free time, well, actually, with two young daughters and three part-time jobs, Adam doesn't have free time. If he did, he'd spend it camping, hiking or biking (sans kids) with his wife, Carrie.
Hannah Hoag writes about science, medicine and the environment from her home in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in newspapers and a wide range of magazines, including Nature, Wired, New Scientist, Reader’s Digest (Canada) and Canadian Geographic. In 2010, as the recipient of a journalism award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, she researched and wrote about epigenetics and mental health, producing stories that won Canadian honors for excellence in health research journalism.
Emma Marris is a freelance writer specializing in science and the environment. She’s written about ecology and conservation biology for Nature, hipsters who hunt for Slate and taking anti-anxiety medications to get through a periodic cicada irruption for OnEarth. She’s written a book about the future of conservation, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, and is working on an environmental science textbook for Roberts & Co. She lives in Columbia, Missouri with her husband and two children.
Jessica Marshall is an award-winning science, environmental and health journalist. She has been a regular contributor to Discovery News and New Scientist. Her work has also appeared in Nature, TheAtlantic.com, Science's online news service, Science News for Kids, and on public radio, among other outlets. She has taught science journalism at the University of Minnesota. Jessica earned her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley before becoming a science journalist. She attended the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Amanda Mascarelli writes about a wide range of topics, from the neuroscience of magic to the ecology of Arctic songbirds. Her work appears in Audubon, Nature, Science News for Kids, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Her reporting adventures have taken her wading through quicksand in the desert Southwest, hiking across the tundra in Alaska and Iceland, trailing undercover drug agents, and exploring otherworldly marine life at the bottom of the ocean through the eyes of a submersible robot. She lives in Denver with her husband, three children, and one incorrigible cat.
In over a decade as a freelance journalist, Robin Mejia covered health and science stories for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Wired, Science, CNN and many other outlets. She uncovered problems at the FBI crime lab, covered controversies in epidemiology, and profiled Nobel laureates. Her work has won several national journalism awards and been anthologized in the Best Technology Writing series. In 2010, Robin returned to school to deepen her understanding of research methods and data analysis, earning an MPH from UC Berkeley in 2012. As this book goes to press, she’s working on a PhD in biostatistics.
Susan Moran lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she is a freelance writer covering energy development, climate science, environmental health, business and other issues. She writes for The Economist, The New York Times and Nature, and her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, High Country News, Newsweek, The Daily Climate and other publications. Susan also co-hosts a weekly science show on KGNU community radio, called "How On Earth." Before untethering as a freelancer, Susan worked as a senior editor at Business 2.0 magazine, a reporter and editor at Reuters (Tokyo, New York, Silicon Valley), and staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT for the 2009-10 academic year. Susan has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, a master's degree in Asian studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Bryn Nelson is a former microbiologist whose love of translating science into stories inspired him to become a science journalist in 1999. While a staff writer at Newsday, Nelson won awards for a long-form feature about a toddler with a traumatic brain injury, and for his role in a yearlong ecology series about the natural world. As a freelance writer and editor, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, High Country News, MSNBC.com and many other publications. He shares a renovated craftsman bungalow in Seattle with his partner, Geoff, and a lively dog named Piper.
Michelle Nijhuis’ award-winning reporting on science and the environment appears in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many other publications. A longtime contributing editor of High Country News, she lives off the grid with her husband and daughter in rural western Colorado. She and Thomas Hayden are the co-editors of The Science Writers' Handbook.
Stephen Ornes writes about math, physics, space, and cancer research from an office shed in his backyard in Nashville, Tennessee. He's written about tilting exoplanets for Discover, the mathematics of pizza slicing for New Scientist, and tumor banking for CR (in work recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists). "Interrupting Cancer's Travel Plans," an article published in Cancer Today in the Spring 2012 issue, won an ASJA award in the Trade category. His first book was a young adult biography of mathematician Sophie Germain, and he teaches a science communication class at Vanderbilt University.
Freelance science writer and editor, Kendall Powell covers the realm of biology, from molecules to maternity. She jumped from the lab bench to laptop via the UC, Santa Cruz Science Communication program in 2002. She has written news stories, features and scientist profiles for a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times, Nature (including Nature Careers), PLoS Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, Science Careers and the HHMI Bulletin. In 2005, Kendall founded SciLance as a way to stay connected to a vibrant community of writers who are as much word nerds as science geeks. She lives near Denver, Colorado with her scientist husband, daughter, son, and two Labradors.
Award-winning journalist Hillary Rosner writes about science and the environment for The New York Times, Wired, Popular Science, Scientific American, High Country News, and many other publications. Her reporting has taken her from the Nevada desert to the Nairobi slums, from Borneo’s jungles to Montana’s alpine meadows. Hillary was a 2011 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a 2012 Alicia Patterson Fellow. Before snubbing health insurance and a 401K, Hillary was a senior editor at the Village Voice. She’s worked on several media startups, co-authored a New York Times bestseller, and picked up two master's degrees along the way. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Anne Sasso is an accomplished freelance writer, equally at home on the pages of the nation’s leading outdoor and science magazines as in the boardrooms of her corporate clients. Her work has appeared in Outside, Discover, Men’s Journal and Backpacker among others and online at Smithsonian.com and AAAS’ ScienceCareers.org. She now writes almost exclusively for corporate clients. Anne worked in the heli-ski industry in western Canada, did a short stint as a commercial photographer’s assistant in Singapore and scrutinized rocks as an exploration geologist (she has a Ph.D. in geology) from the Arctic to the Andes before trading in her rock hammer for a pen in 2001. In 2007, she was a fellow in the Literary Journalism program at The Banff Center in Alberta. She now lives on the western slopes of the Green Mountains in Vermont. Anne is the Business Manager for The Science Writers' Handbook.
Mark Schrope has been a freelance writer and editor since the turn of the century, which is to say his neighbors wonder what he’s doing over there all day. Based in Florida, his work has taken him on a flight into the eye of a hurricane; to the seafloor by submersible; and around the world -- from a remote Colombian island, to the coral reefs of Indonesia, to the deserts of Egypt. Though many articles focus on the ocean, he covers a broad range of topics under the general headings of science, technology, and travel for publications such as Nature, The Washington Post, and Sport Diver.
Emily Sohn covers health, the environment, adventure, food and the science behind current events from her home base in MInneapolis. Her stories have appeared in publications for children and adults, including The Los Angeles Times, Health, Prevention, Science News and Science News for Kids. She is a contributing writer for Discovery News and has written dozens of books for young people. Assignments have taken her to Cuba, Turkey, Australia, Fiji and beyond.
Gisela Telis is an award-winning writer who has covered health, science and the environment for the Christian Science Monitor, High Country News, Science and other national publications. She is also the producer of InterViews, a podcast series exploring the lives of leading researchers for the National Academy of Sciences, and the editor of Champions for Change, a book about athletes and explorers working to address climate change. In 2011-2012, she was a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Brian Vastag is a science reporter at the Washington Post, where he covers space, dinosaurs, geology, ecology, climate change, genetics, and anything else science-y that needs explaining. Before joining the Post in 2011, he freelanced for dozens of publications over six years, and earlier was the Washington news editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Vastag is a co-winner of the American Geophysical Union’s David Perlman award for deadline reporting, for an article detailing the geology of the great East Coast earthquake of August 2011.
Andreas von Bubnoff, based in New York City, is a freelance science journalist and senior science writer for IAVI Report. His freelance work has appeared in many American and European publications including the Los Angeles Times, Nature and the Swiss SonntagsZeitung, and has been featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing. His coverage of HIV vaccine research and global health issues for IAVI Report has taken him all over the world including Europe, India and Africa. He previously earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology, studying glow-in-the-dark transgenic frogs. A native of Germany, he trained as a journalist at the University of California, Santa Cruz Science Communication Program. He writes in English and German.
Cameron Walker writes about science, travel, and curiosities of the Pacific coast. She's written feature stories, profiles, and essays for publications including Sky & Telescope, High Country News, and theLos Angeles Times. While on assignment, she's learned to skip stones (badly), pick ripe coffee berries (even though she drinks decaf), and spot the silvery scouts that foretell a grunion run (it's amazing!).
Sarah Webb writes about science, health, technology and policy for researchers, for the general public and for children. Her work has appeared in Discover, Science News, ScientificAmerican.com, Science, Nature Biotechnology, National Geographic Kids, Science News for Kids and many other publications. Trained as a PhD chemist, she has reported on the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the science and policy of stem cell research and the acoustics of carbon fiber cellos. Sarah also served as the research coordinator for the award winning astronomy exhibits at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband, two cats and a Senegal parrot. Sarah is the Editor in Chief of pitchpublishprosper.com.