ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 - Workshop Program

Sponsored by:

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW)
National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
Communicating Science Workshops (ComSciCon)


General Overview and Schedule

Friday (10/1/2021)
8:00 pm: Welcome Reception / “Dinner”

Saturday (10/2/2021):

10:00-10:30 am: Welcome: Introductions to Workshop, Conference, and One Another!
10:30-12:00 pm: Anatomy of a SciComm Article - 
Panel 1: Breakout Room Rotations (30 minutes each)
How to Write a Lede (Stephanie DeMarco, Drug Discovery News)
Story Structure (Brooke Dulka, Freelancer, Medical Writer)
Interviewing 101 (Brianne Palmer, San Diego State/UC Davis)

12:00-12:30 pm: BREAK - Grab some coffee, lunch, or hang out and network!

12:30-1:45 pm: Anatomy of a Podcast - Panel 2: Breakout Room Rotations (37.5 minutes each)
Storytelling via Podcasting (Esther Racoosin, Locally Sourced Science)
Building a Successful Podcast (Drew Duglan, Scripps/PreSCRIPPSion Sound)

1:45-3:30 pm: BREAK - Zoom room closed. Grab some lunch, take a nap, or meet on your own!

3:30-4:00 pm: The Deliverable Process: What to Expect for Reporting Assignments
Breakout Sessions (30 minutes)
Written Assignments: Czerne Reid, Editor (University of Florida)
Audio/Podcast Episodes: J. Alex Grizzell (CSC-SW'21 Host and Podcast Director)

4:00-5:00 pm: Keynote #1: Katherine J. Wu (The Atlantic)

5:00-5:15 pm: Recap and Looking Ahead
5:15 pm (optional): Additional Q/A time with Organizing Team, Ros Reid (CASW; Written), J. Alex Grizzell (CSC-SW'21; Podcast) to discuss deliverables 

Sunday (10/3/2021)

1:15-1:30 pm: Welcome Back!
1:30-2:30 pm: Writing Press Releases and Finding Stories - 
Panel 3: Breakout Room Rotations (30 minutes each)
Finding Science Story Ideas (Bri Barbu, C&EN)
Press Releases (Diya Chacko, UCLA Health, David Geffen School of Med.)

2:30-4:00 pm: Coffee/Lunch Break/Networking
4:00-5:00 pm: Keynote #2: Siri Carpenter (The Open Notebook; Freelance Writer/Editor)

Monday - Friday (10/4-8)
Attend the conference, work on your deliverables, and reach out to workshop organizers when needed.

Saturday, (10/9/2021)

9:45-10:00 am: Check-in
10:00-12:00 pm: Careers in #SciComm
Panel 4: Breakout Room Rotations (30 minutes each)
Journalism (Craig Bettenhausen, C&EN)
Medical Illustrator (Allie Buck, Cornell University)
Panel 5: Breakout Room Rotations (30 minutes each)
Institutional (Melissa Osgood, Cornell University)
Professor (Bruce Lewenstein, Cornell University)

12:00-12:30 pm: Coffee/Lunch Break - ZOOM ROOM CLOSED.  :) 
12:30-1:30 pm: Informal Pitch Slam - Share your science story ideas and get feedback!
1:30-2:00 pm: AAAS Mass Media Fellowship Informational Session

2:15-3:00 pm: Plenary Talk / Q&A: Pete Farley (Chan Zuckerberg Biohub)
Topic: Rewards and Challenges of Institutional Science Writing 

3:00-3:30 pm: Wrap up! Q&A with Mentors!


Get to know the speakers, organizers, and other contributors!

Workshop Host

J. Alex Grizzell, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
Twitter: @agrizz

Personal Website: 
ComSciCon-SciWri Organizer! (2020, 2021)

I’m a 3rd-year postdoc in Psychology and Neuroscience at The University of Colorado, Boulder where I study the neural mechanisms of decision making and emotional behavior with a particular focus on molecular modulation of circuits required for resilience to stress and addiction, especially within social contexts. The bulk of my sci-comm experience comes in oral and community-based mediums, though I’ve published, edited, and proofread a fair amount of written pieces across an array of realms and disciplines. This is my second year as a ComSciCon-SciWri Organizer and I have loved the opportunities it provides to further craft my sci-comm abilities - and the networking opportunities ain’t half bad, neither. ;)  I’m a member of NPR Sci-commers and the Science Writers Association of the Rocky Mountains (SWARM) and contribute to Science Buffs, a student-run sci-writing group based at CU Boulder, among other smaller community-based scicomm networks. A parent of two, I have no free time whatsoever… but that doesn’t stop me from trying.    


ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 Workshop Organizer

Candice B. Limper, M.S. (she/her/hers)
Personal Website:

ComSciCon-SciWri Co-Organizer! (2020, 2021)
ComSciCon-SciWri 2019 Attendee!

Candice Limper is a fifth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical and Biological Sciences and a Sloan Fellow at Cornell University. In the August Lab, she is determining the importance of mitochondrial DNA replication in immune cells. When she is not working in the lab, she enjoys teaching others about science through podcasts. Candice has started an immunology podcast called Excellsior, where she covers various topics in immunology. She also volunteers at her local community radio station, where she interviews scientists in Ithaca, NY, for Locally Sourced Science. Given the disconnect between the public and scientific community, Candice is proud to link these two communities to create a better understanding of one another. 


Speaker Bios

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Panel 1: Anatomy of a SciComm Article

  1. Writing a Lede

Stephanie DeMarco, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @sci_steph
Personal Website:

ComSciCon-SciWri Co-Organizer! (2019, 2020, 2021)

Stephanie is an assistant editor at Drug Discovery News. Before that, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles and a freelance science writer. Stephanie was a 2019 AAAS Mass Media Fellow at the Los Angeles Times where she wrote both news and feature stories. She also served on the Organizing Committee for ComSciCon-SciWri-2019 and 2020. Stephanie enjoys traveling, tap dancing, and attempting to make the perfect plate of pasta carbonara.

2. Story Structure

Brooke Dulka, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @IsRewriting
Personal Website:

ComSciCon-SciWri Co-Organizer! (2020, 2021)
ComSciCon-SciWri 2019 Attendee!

Brooke Dulka is a freelance science and medical writer in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area. She received her PhD in Biological Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2018. In graduate school, she was the head editor and science communication chair of Ask a Scientist. She is the science editor for Awake & Alive Mind and the new editor-in-chief for Health Tech Perspectives. As a freelance journalist, she has published articles in outlets such as Scientific American. Brooke is also a medical writer for The Med Writers. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing science fiction, drinking tea, and playing with her dog. 


2. Interviewing 101

Brianne Palmer (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @briecology
Personal Website:

ComSciCon-SciWri Co-Organizer! (2021)
ComSciCon-SciWri 2020 Attendee!

 Brianne Palmer is a PhD student studying soil science at San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis (expected graduation spring 2022). When she finds time between research, she is a freelance writer. She is a monthly contributor and on the leadership team for Envirobites and is the Outreach Coordinator for the California Botanical Society. Her latest contributions include a story in Scientific American and BotanyOne. She attended ComSciCon 2019 and was on the organizing committee in 2020. Last year, she was a participant in SciWri. In her free time, she enjoys cuddles with her cat and dog, baking, and gardening. 


Panel 2: Anatomy of Podcasting 

1. Storytelling Through Podcasting 

Esther Racoosin, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @EsRacoosin
Personal Website:

  Esther L. Racoosin, Ph.D. is one of the creators of the science radio show and podcast, Locally Sourced Science.  She was a producer and contributor to the show until June 2021. Dr. Racoosin received her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1993.  Her thesis work centered on the study of the regulation of pinocytosis in mouse macrophages. From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Racoosin did postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School, investigating the effect of Leishmania infection on gene expression in macrophages.  Beginning in 1995, she conducted post-doctoral research on proteins in the tegument of Schistosoma mansoni in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.  From 1998 to 2000, she studied Golgi membrane dynamics at the Cornell University Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. Currently, Dr. Racoosin is on the Board of Directors of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative, serves as a volunteer tour guide and educator at Cornell Botanic Gardens, is a news contributor at WRFI Community Radio and volunteers at Love Living at Home in Tompkins County.

2. Building a Successful Podcast


Drew Duglan, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

Personal Website:
Podcast Website:
Twitter: @scrippsresearch (Drew runs this institutional handle - views may not be his own)

Drew Duglan is a Scientific Liaison for the Office of Marketing and Communications at Scripps Research. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford in Cardiovascular Medicine, after which he trained as a postdoctoral researcher in circadian rhythms and exercise physiology at Scripps Research. Drew is also the creator, producer, and host of Scripps award-winning podcast, PreSCRIPPSion Sound. He is a scientific writer, speaker, digital marketer and social media manager. In his own words, Drew considers himself “a jack of all trades and master of nothing”.

Keynote #1: Katherin Wu, Ph.D.

Katherin Wu, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @KatherineJWu
Personal Website:

Katherine J. Wu (she/her/hers) is a staff writer for The Atlantic, where she covers science. She is also a Story Collider senior producer. She holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunobiology from Harvard University. You can read some of Dr. Wu’s award-winning journalism here: 


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Panel 3: Writing Press Releases and Finding Stories 

1. Finding Science Story Ideas

Bri Barbu (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @bri_barbu
Personal Website:

Bri earned an MS in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 2019, where she studied energy-storing organic molecules before pivoting toward science communication. Since then, she has completed an internship with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and was a 2021 AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Discover magazine before joining the staff at Chemical and Engineering News as a production editor. Her portfolio of work spans many areas of science, from ecology to elusive subatomic particles to what a popular tabletop roleplaying game can teach us about chemistry. A story she wrote in 2020 about heat-loving bacteria in the Amazon earned a student writing award from the National Association of Science Writers. 


2. Press Releases


Diya Chacko (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @DCteachild

Diya Chacko is a health and science editor in the communications department at UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine. She previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, where she wrote the Coronavirus Today newsletter and served as an audience engagement editor for the Metro desk, including on projects such as California Against the Sea, a 2020 Pulitzer finalist in Explanatory Reporting. She also served as an assignment editor for the Southern California News Group, where she ran a team of reporters covering environment and public health for 11 daily newspapers. Before that, she was the digital production manager for her hometown newspaper, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Diya holds a bachelor's degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California, and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. There, she also finished a master's in earth and environmental science with a thesis on using boron isotope ratios in coral exoskeletons as a proxy to measure ocean acidity. She's currently an organizer for the Los Angeles chapter of the Online News Association, serves on the advisory board for the journalism program at Santa Monica College and is interested in helping the next generation of journalists find success and make an impact with their stories. In her spare time, Diya likes to game, play violin and visit the beach with her dog.


Keynote #2: Siri Carpenter, Ph.D.

Siri Carpenter (she/her/hers) is an award-winning science journalist and editor whose writing and editorial work has appeared in The New York Times, Science, Discover, Scientific American, bioGraphic, Science News, Science News for Students, Slate, Prevention, O Magazine, and many other publications. She was a features editor at Discover magazine from 2012 to 2014, and has worked as a contract editor for numerous publications, most regularly for Science News for Students. Carpenter is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Open Notebook, a non-profit organization that helps science journalists improve their skills, and she is the editor of The Craft of Science Writing, published by The Open Notebook in 2020. She is also the first author of the psychology textbook Visualizing Psychology, published by Wiley in 2008. She has been a member of the National Association of Science Writers since 1998 and was president of NASW from 2018-2020. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and of the Online News Association, and she is on the Advisory Board for Science Journalism Forum. She has a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She tweets @SiriCarpenter.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Panel 4: Careers in #SciComm

1. Institutional Science Communications 

Melissa Osgood (she/her/hers)
Twitter: @MissyOsgood

Melissa has worked in the communication field for over 15 years and has worked in this field in different capacities. The most recent position that she has held is Director of Communications for Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University.  Prior to this experience, she was an Assistant Director of Media Relations and Leadership Communication and also served as a Deputy Director of Media Relations.


2. Medical Illustrator 

Allie Buck (she/her/hers)
Personal Website:

In her role as Medical Illustrator and Animator, Allison assists faculty in maximizing the educational potential of medical and scientific material through visual art and storytelling.  Her professional interests include the educational applications of immersive technology, photogrammetry and 3D authoring, and educational game design.  


3. Journalism  

Craig Bettenhausen (he/him/his)
Twitter: @craigofwaffles
Personal Website: 

Craig Bettenhausen is a reporter at Chemical & Engineering News covering specialty chemicals, industrial gases, intellectual property, and carbon capture for the business department. He also writes for C&EN’s Chemistry in Pictures, a twice-weekly photo feature (, and edits on a freelance basis for Science Advances, the open-access sister journal to Science. Craig has worked in science journalism since 2011, 8 years in C&EN’s editing and production department and 1.5 years as a full-time reporter. He has an MA in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied thin-film solar cells and biomimetic synthetic inorganic chemistry, and a BS in chemistry from Harding University, where he helped develop open-cell near-IR spectrometers. He is based in Baltimore.


4. Professor in Science Communication 

Bruce Lewenstein, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
Twitter: @BLewenstein 
Personal Website: 

Bruce Lewenstein, Ph.D. is a professor of science communication at Cornell University, with appointments in both the Department of Communication and the Department of Science & Technology Studies.


Plenary Talk and Q/A

Headshot, Pete Farley.

Pete Farley (he/him/his)

Pete is the Director of Communications for Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and former Director of Communications for Research & Education for The University of California, San Francisco. Pete has worked in science publishing, editing, and communications for more than 25 years. A graduate of Brown University, he holds a master’s degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. He is a member of the National Association for Science Writers and a Board Member of the Northern California Science Writers Association. He also served on the Organizing Committee for the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, as well as the CZ Biohub 5th Anniversary Symposium, occurring Oct. 4th, 2021.



The Organizing Team of ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 would like to sincerely thank our funding sponsors, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as well as The National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and our partners and chief advisors, The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW). Among these, we thank Ros Reid, The Executive Director of CASW and Sylvia Kantor, Administrator and Communications Manager of CASW, as well as Tinsley Davis, The Executive Director of NASW.  Without their guidance and support, this workshop would most certainly not have been possible. We also thank the Leadership Team of Communicating Science Workshops (ComSciCon) for their support and guidance.

ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 would also not be possible without the editorial guidance of Dr. Czerne M. Reid and Dr. Drew Duglan, who’s valiant efforts help our attending reporters further craft their skills in written and audio reporting mediums. The professional development for our attendees would also be impossible without our external speakers, for whom we remain grateful for taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us with prepared talks, presentations, and discussion points. Finally, we are so very grateful to our workshop mentors, who also find time to meet one-on-one with workshop attendees to individualize their advice and further develop these future journalists, writers, podcasters, and science communicators who we hope will similarly develop other scicommers for generations to come. 

Again, we thank you all!! 

ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 Organizers

Brianne Palmer
Brooke Dulka, Ph.D.
Candice Limper, M.S.
J. Alex Grizzell, Ph.D.
Stephanie DeMarco, Ph.D.


ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 Supporters, Contributors

Czerne M. Reid, Ph.D., University of Florida - Editor for Written Pieces
Drew Duglan, Ph.D., Scripps Research - Editor for Podcast Pieces
Ros Reid, Executive Director of CASW - Liaison, Advisor, Editor, Publisher
Sylvia Kantor, Admin. & Comms Manager of CASW - Financial & Communications Support
Tinsley Davis, Executive Director of NASW - Liaison, Advisor, Publisher


ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 Mentors

Alla Katnelson, Science Journalist
Ashley Braun, Freelance Science and Environmental Writer
Claudia Kalb, Author & Independent Journalist
Czerne M. Reid, Senior Lecturer, Psychiatry & Affiliate Faculty, Journalism, University of Florida
David Ehrenstein, Senior Editor, Physics Magazine, American Physical Society
Drew Duglan, Scientific Liaison, Marketing & Communications, Scripps Research
Eliot Richman, Science Writer, Former Chemist
Hannah Hickey, Senior Public Information Specialist, University of Washington News
Jeanne Erdmann, Health & Science Journalist, Co-Founder/Editor-at-large, The Open Notebook
Jeff Grabmeier, Senior Director, Research News, The Ohio State University
Jill Sakai, Science and Medical Writer
Jon Weiner, Assoc. Director Research Comms, Kaiser Permanente, N. Cal. Div. of Research 
Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Freelance Science Journalist
Katie Burke, Digital Features Editor, American Scientist, the Magazine of Sigma Xi
Laura Dattaro, Reporter for Spectrum News
Laura Hamers, Science Writer and Editor
Lesley Evans Ogden, Freelance Science Journalist
Marla Broadfoot, Freelance Science Writer and Editor
Melissa Lutz Blouin, Director of News and Media Relations, UC Davis
Michael E. Newman, Senior Media Relations Representative, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Tara Haelle, Journalist, Author, Public Speaker, & AHCJ Medical Studies Core Topic Leader
William Kearney, Exec. Dir., Office of News & Public Info., National Academies of Eng. & Med