Amber Dance to direct CASW New Horizons in Science program

CASW is pleased to welcome science journalist Amber Dance (@amberldance) as director of New Horizons in Science, CASW’s annual program of science briefings for science writers. Dance will begin her role with the 2022 New Horizons program, which will be presented in Memphis, Tennessee, Oct. 22-24 as part of the ScienceWriters2022 conference.

As New Horizons program director, Dance will organize an annual update on emerging research developments and issues across all fields of science. The ScienceWriters conference combines CASW’s programming with the annual professional development workshops of the National Association of Science Writers. New Horizons in Science, formerly a stand-alone program, has been presented by CASW since 1963.

“CASW is thrilled to welcome Amber as we prepare to return to presenting a full New Horizons program after being forced to trim back our programming during the COVID pandemic,” said CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid. “Her extensive knowledge of both science and journalism and her experience organizing programs for science writers will help ensure that CASW’s flagship program informs and challenges the science writing community with emerging research, new voices, and fresh insights.”

Dance is a freelance writer and editor based in Southern California. The recipient of several awards, including CASW’s Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for a young science journalist, she contributes to publications including Knowable Magazine, The Scientist, and Nature and edits books on a variety of topics. Since 2020, she has written the Coronavirus Files newsletter for the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Her many professional service contributions include co-founding SoCal Science Writing, organizing the SoCal Science Writing Symposium in 2018 and 2019, and service on NASW’s Education and Awards committees.

Dance earned a doctorate in biology, won a Mass Media Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and decided to re-train in journalism as a way to share her enthusiasm for science with readers, completing the graduate science communication program at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She writes about life sciences, with particular expertise in microbiology, cell biology, neuroscience and lab techniques.

Reid thanked Seattle-based journalist Wayt Gibbs for his contributions as the outgoing New Horizons in Science program director. Gibbs served during 2020-21, when pandemic conditions twice forced a switch to a virtual ScienceWriters conference. Reid noted that the work Gibbs did to prepare science sessions for a planned conference in Colorado will provide a significant head start on the ScienceWriters2023 program. The postponed conference will be hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

ScienceWriters2022 will be hosted by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The full conference will take place October 21-25.