Amber Dance

Program Director, New Horizons in Science

Amber Dance is an award-winning freelance science journalist based in Southern California. She has been directing CASW’s New Horizons in Science briefings for the annual ScienceWriters conference since 2022. She is a contributor at Knowable Magazine and often freelances for Nature as well. She co-authors the “Health Divide” newsletter for the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. Starting fall 2024, she will be an instructor in science writing for UCLA Extension.

After earning a doctorate in biology at UCSD, Dance re-trained in science journalism as a way to engage her broad interest in science and share her enthusiasm with readers. She was a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at the Los Angeles Times science desk and attended the well-known UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program. She mainly writes about life sciences, but enjoys getting outside her comfort zone on occasion. She has written for many outlets in her career, for audiences ranging from high schoolers to scientific experts, and was a columnist for the LA Times Health section from 2010 to 2011. During the pandemic, she penned the “Coronavirus Files” newsletter for the Center for Health Journalism.

Her work has received awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Writers, and been named a “Top Pick” by Best Shortform Science Writing. She has also received honorable mentions or runner-up honors from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Folio Magazine, the Hastings Center, and the Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine.

Professional service is an important part of Dance’s career. In 2014, she received the Diane McGurgan Award from the National Association of Science Writers for “going beyond the call of duty” as co-chair of the Awards Committee. She has also served on NASW’s Education and Programs Committees. Locally, Dance is a co-founder of the SoCal Science Writing networking group. She co-organized regional conferences with the group in 2018 and 2019, and served as President from 2022 to 2024. She also speaks to graduate students or other groups of scientists about science writing and her own career transition from scientist to science writer.