Board, Advisers and Staff
The people who make CASW work
Alan Boyle, a broadly curious and adventurous online journalist focusing on space and physical sciences, is aerospace and science editor of Seattle-based GeekWire. He was science editor for NBC News Digital until mid-2015, and before that MSNBC.com. He joined MSNBC.com on its first day of operation in 1996, after stints at daily newspapers in Cincinnati, Spokane and Seattle. Boyle has won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Association of Science Writers, the Pirelli Relativity Challenge and the CMU Cybersecurity Journalism Awards program. He is author of The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference, a contributor to A Field Guide for Science Writers and author of the Cosmic Log.
Richard Harris has been a science correspondent at National Public Radio since 1986; before that, he was a science writer at the San Francisco Examiner. He was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 1996 to 1998; he co-founded the DC Science Writers Association in 1987, and he served as president of the Northern California Science Writers Association before that. Having covered all the sciences for NPR, Richard now focuses on biomedicine and took a leave 2015-16 to write a book about rigor and reproducibility in biomedical research. His awards include a 2010 AAAS/Kavli Science Journalism Award for his coverage of the BP oil spill.
Betsy Mason is a freelance writer, the former science editor for Wired.com, co-author of NationalGeographic.com's All over the Map blog, and a former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT (2015-16). Previously, she was an award-winning science reporter at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz and has written about science for publications including Nature, Science, Discover and New Scientist. Before becoming a journalist, Betsy was a geologist, and has a master's degree in geology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. She also co-founded Wired.com's Map Lab blog.
Robin Lloyd, a science writer going back to the Galileo mission to Jupiter, now works as a freelance writer and contributing editor to Scientific American, where she was news editor from 2009 to 2015. Previously, she was a senior editor for LiveScience.com and Space.com. She has additional experience in print journalism (Pasadena Star-News); wire service journalism (City News Service in Los Angeles); and network online journalism (CNN.com). She worked for five years as a science publicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT for the 1998-99 academic year. From 2010 to 2012, Lloyd served as a board member for the National Association of Science Writers. She also has chaired NASW's Program Committee, helping to evaluate dozens of grant applications for programs to advance the professional of science writing. She served as a preliminary judge for NASW's Science in Society awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She has attended New Horizons in Science nearly every year since 1998. In 2013, she served on a three-person external review committee to help University of California, Santa Cruz administrators evaluate UCSC's Science Communications certificate program. Lloyd speaks regularly to early-career science writers, science journalists and students about the profession of science writing.
W. Wayt Gibbs has worked as a science writer and editor since 1989. He currently freelances as a contributing editor for Scientific American, where he was member of the editorial board and a staff news writer from 1993 to 1998 and senior writer from 1998 to 2006. Gibbs is also a contributing editor for IEEE Spectrum magazine and for Anthropocene magazine. His written work has also appeared in Science, Nature, The Economist, Discover, Conservation, NBC News, NOVA and numerous other publications. He has contributed podcasts to Scientific American and on-screen commentary to NOVA. His articles have been included in the Best American Science Writing anthology and have won the AAAS Science Journalism Award, the Wistar Science Journalism Award and others. Since 2006, Gibbs has also worked at Intellectual Ventures with founder/CEO Nathan Myhrvold on his research and writing. Highlights of that role include serving as editor-in-chief and project manager of the award-winning books Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home, editing several highly cited journal articles in planetary science and paleobiology, producing dozens of keynote presentations, including TED talks, and working on documentaries televised on Netflix, the BBC, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and PBS.
Christie Aschwanden is the lead writer for science at FiveThirtyEight. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Slate, Smithsonian, Popular Science, New Scientist, Discover, Science and NPR.org. She writes a health column for the Washington Post and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her Last Word On Nothing post about science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure won the National Association of Science Writers’ 2013 Science in Society Award for Commentary/Opinion, and she was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2011. She has received journalism fellowships from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Carter Center and the Santa Fe Institute.
Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer-Prize winning science writer and director of the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She joined MIT in 2015 after teaching journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for more than a decade. She is the author most recently of The Poisoner's Handbook, which was made into an acclaimed PBS documentary. She is author of several other books, including Ghost Hunters: William James and the Scientific Search for Life After Death, and a co-editor of A Field Guide for Science Writers. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers and, in addition to serving on the CASW board, is a member of the Board on Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the Program Committee for the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists.
Philip M. Boffey was an editorial writer at The New York Times. He formerly served as a reporter, science and health editor and deputy editorial page editor. Boffey was a member of two reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes: the first in 1986 for a series on the "Star Wars" missile defense system, the second in 1987 for coverage of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. He has been president of the National Association of Science Writers. Boffey is the author of The Brain Bank of America, an investigation of the National Academy of Sciences, published in 1975. Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Boffey received an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, in history, from Harvard College in 1958.
Lewis Cope was a science writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 29 years, and is now a freelance writer. He is a former president of the National Association of Science Writers. He is coauthor of the second edition of News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields. It is used as a college journalism textbook, as well as a resource by writers. Cope has received national awards from the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other organizations. He is a graduate of Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Va., and spent a year as a science-writing fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, New York City. He also is a former president of the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists.
Barbara J. Culliton has had extensive experience as a journalist and editor in biomedical research and policy. She was founding editor in chief of the Genome News Network, an online news magazine published initially by Celera Genomics in 1999. Ms. Culliton spent 18 years as a reporter and news editor at Science, and then became Deputy Editor of Nature in 1991, where she launched Nature Genetics, Nature Structural Biology, and Nature Medicine. From 1990 to 1998 she was also Times Mirror Visiting Professor of science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Culliton was elected to the Institute of Medicine at the Academies (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 1989. She is a former president of CASW, as well as a former president of the National Association of Science Writers.
Shannon Hall is a freelance science journalist. Her work has appeared in a dozen publications, including Scientific American, New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, Nautilus and Discover. Eight years of higher education—where she received two bachelor's degrees in astronomy and philosophy and two master's degrees in astronomy and science journalism—led her to to live in eight different states. Which likely explains her addiction to the smell of freshly ground coffee and living out of a suitcase. For the moment, she has settled down in Hanover, N.H., happy to be a tiny dot in a big landscape. Twitter: @ShannonWHall
Sylvia Kantor joined the CASW staff in 2018 after working with CASW on the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists and development of the donor newsletter. Previously she was an agriculture science writer, research associate, and extension educator at Washington State University from 1999 to 2016. Today, she divides her time between ensuring that CASW runs smoothly and writing and editing independently. She is a member of NASW, the Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA), and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She has a master’s in forestry from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s in anthropology from UC Berkeley. Sylvia lives in Seattle where she balances her digital life by making things with her hands, tending her garden, and attuning to the natural world on foot, by kayak, or on skis.
William Kearney is executive director of the Office of News and Public Information at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. In his more than 20 years there, he has led media dissemination efforts for hundreds of science, technology and health policy reports and managed communications for large scientific conferences such as the Second International Summit on Human Gene Editing, held in Hong Kong in 2018. He has directed other international science communication efforts, including for the African Science Academy Development Initiative, and he helped organize the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists. In 2010 he was assigned to the InterAcademy Council––an Amsterdam-based organization of the world’s science academies––to manage communications for a U.N.-sponsored review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is a senior science reporter for FiveThirtyEight.com. Previously, she was the science editor at BoingBoing.net and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Maggie is a Nieman Fellow and the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about the history of the electric grid and the future of energy.
Warren Leary is a retired science correspondent for The New York Times. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Leary received an M.S. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He began his science writing career with the Associated Press, creating and covering the science beat in the Boston bureau of the news agency from 1971 through 1976, and continuing as a senior science writer for the AP in its Washington bureau from 1976 until 1989, when he joined the staff of The Times. As an award-winning science writer based in Washington, Leary covered space flight, technology, engineering, aeronautics, and medical science, as well as policy issues. He is a member and former officer of the National Association of Science Writers.
Celeste LeCompte is vice president of business development at ProPublica, where she works primarily on partnerships, product and other strategic initiatives. Previously, she worked on product development, content strategy and editorial management for media companies, nonprofits and corporate clients. She is also an award-winning journalist, covering technology, innovation and the environment, with stories appearing in Outside, Robotics Business Review, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Nieman Reports and more. She is on the board of directors for the Online News Association and an advisory board member for MICRO, a nonprofit building tiny, moveable science museums for public spaces.
Thomas Lin is the founding editor of Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent science news site published by the Simons Foundation. From 2005 to 2012, he was a multi-platform journalist at The New York Times, where he managed the online science and national news sections, co-founded and edited the Scientist at Work blog, created the Profiles in Science video series, produced the Science Times podcast, and wrote articles about science, tennis and technology. In 2008, a multimedia feature he edited won a White House News Photographers Association’s “Eyes of History” contest. His writing has also appeared in Tennis Magazine, NewYorker.com, Wired.com and other publications. Lin has been a home page editor for The Indianapolis Star, a reporter and photographer covering Queens, N.Y., a teacher and a mechanical engineer. He graduated from Cornell University as a College Scholar studying physics and literature, received a master’s in teaching from Oregon State University, completed a Writers’ Institute fellowship at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and has taught at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Tariq Malik joined Purch's Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's managing editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Malik was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout and went to Space Camp four times. He holds journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University.
Ben Patrusky was executive director of CASW from 1988 to 2013 and served for three decades (1975–2004) as program director of the annual New Horizons in Science briefing. Before embarking on a freelance science writing career in 1975, he was for a dozen years the research writer and science editor for the American Heart Association, where he designed and launched AHA's Science Writers Forum. He has also orchestrated science journalism seminars for, among others, the National Academy of Sciences, Research to Prevent Blindness and the Ford Foundation. Widely published, he is the recipient of the Science Journalism Award from the American Institute of Physics and the American Chemical Society's Grady-Stack Award. He is an honorary member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and for 18 years until 2008, served as a member of the board of trustees of Science Service (now the Society for Science and the Public), publisher of Science News and administrator of the Intel Science Talent Search. Upon his retirement as Executive Director in August 2013, the CASW Board established the Patrusky Lecture at New Horizons in Science and named Ben Executive Director Emeritus.
David Perlman, award-winning Science Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has been a reporter, magazine writer, and foreign correspondent, and has been reporting on science and technology for more than 40 years. He is a past president of CASW and the National Association of Science Writers. He has been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, a Carnegie Corporation Fellow at Stanford, and a Regent's Professor at the University of California. He lectures widely at American universities and has led science writing and editing workshops for the American Press Institute and the China Association for Science and Technology.
Charles Petit is a freelance science writer, and until September 2014 was a frequent provider of comment on the day's science news for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker website funded by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He started in 1970 at the Livermore Herald & News, moving to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1972 and to U.S. News in 1998. Professional recognition includes writing awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (once for newspapers, once for magazines) and from the National Association of Science Writers, American Institute of Physics, American Geophysical Union, and American Heart Association. He is a former president of both the National Association of Science Writers and the Northern California Science Writers Association, has been an instructor at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, and has a degree in astronomy from UC Berkeley.
Debbie Ponchner is a Costa Rica-based writer who was the Spanish-language editor for Scientific American. She started out as a science reporter for La Nación, the newspaper of record for Costa Rica. In 2005 she founded and served as editor of La Nación's first daily science section, later becoming the newspaper's managing editor and writing a weekly science column. She has won several journalism awards, including Costa Rica's National Journalism Prize, the Jorge Vargas-Gené Award as well as the National Scientific Journalism Prize given by the National Council for Science and Technology of Costa Rica. She studied mass communication at the University of Costa Rica, specializing in science communication at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. She spent the academic year 2003–04 as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT.
Rosalind Reid (email) was Editor of American Scientist, the interdisciplinary magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, from 1992 to 2008. Co-organizer of the MIT/Harvard Image and Meaning workshop series on visual communication of science, she was the first Journalist in Residence at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and again took a "science immersion" leave to serve as a Fellow at the Harvard Initiative in Innovative Computing. She served as Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2010 to 2013 and as CASW's Program Director 2012-13, after four years as a member of the CASW Board. Reid wrote for newspapers in Maine and North Carolina before learning the science beat as a research news editor at North Carolina State University. She is a member of NASW, has served on awards committees for the National Science Board and American Institute of Physics, is an honorary member of Sigma Xi and continues her affiliation with the Harvard engineering school as an Associate. She succeeded Ben Patrusky as CASW executive director in September 2013.
Joann Ellison Rodgers, M.S., an award-winning science and medical writer and editor, is a graduate of Boston University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was national science correspondent and columnist for the Hearst Newspapers and winner of a Lasker Award for medical journalism before joining Johns Hopkins Medicine, where she served as Executive Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for 25 years, then as Senior Advisor for Science, Executive and Crisis Communications at JHM and named Faculty Scholar and Senior Communications Adviser at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Rodgers is past president of CASW and NASW, a Fellow of the AAAS and an honorary life member of Sigma Xi. The author of seven books, including Sex: A Natural History (Henry Holt), and Media Guide for Academics, Rodgers consults and speaks frequently on crisis and risk communications, and on news media relations. As a freelance, she has published widely in science, educational, and popular periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Genetics in Medicine and Parade.
Cristine Russell is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written about science and medicine for more than three decades. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, currently at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and, in spring 2006, at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. She is also a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review and its Observatory science section. Russell was formerly a national science reporter for The Washington Post and The Washington Star. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers and serves on the National Academies Communication Awards selection committee, the USC Annenberg School for Communication board, and on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Russell is an honorary member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and has a biology degree from Mills College.
Tom Siegfried, retired managing editor of Science News, is at work on a book on multiple universes. From 1985 to 2004 he was science editor of The Dallas Morning News. He is the author of The Bit and the Pendulum, Strange Matters, and A Beautiful Math. He is a contributor to the National Association of Science Writers' Field Guide for Science Writers. In 2006 he received the American Geophysical Union's Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism.
Ashley Smart is a senior editor at Physics Today, published by the American Institute of Physics. He edits and writes about all manner of physical sciences great and small—from atoms to astronomy. Smart was a 2015–16 Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT and is cofounding editor of the science news blog HBSciU.com. Before becoming a science journalist, he studied complex fluids as a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech and granular networks as a graduate student at Northwestern University.
Kenneth P. Trevett stepped down in 2014 as president of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, formerly the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, in San Antonio, Texas, a position he had held since 2008. Trevett has worked as a senior manager/administrator and legal counsel in biomedical research/education/clinical service institutions for 31 years, all but three of which have been with independent, not-for-profit research organizations such as TBRI. He served as president of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (a volunteer position) from 1993 to 1995. Trevett has negotiated hundreds of agreements involving technology transfer between industrial and academic organizations and has lectured and consulted widely in this field. He has overseen several scientific misconduct investigations and has handled a variety of patient care issues involving such matters as right to treatment and the right to refuse treatment. From 1997 to 2001, Trevett was an adjunct faculty member of the Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA, where he earned his law degree after completing undergraduate studies at Colgate University.
Dan Vergano is a science reporter for BuzzFeed News in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on the intersection of science and politics. He was formerly a senior writer-editor at National Geographic and the senior science writer at USA TODAY. He has won a variety of writing awards and is a judge for science journalism prizes sponsored the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.