Science Writers Roundtable: The Business of Change


Science Writers Roundtable:
The Business of Change — Creating a Business Guide for a Smooth Transition From Staff to Freelance
Presented by the NASW Board of Directors

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2024
Start Time: 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT
Even Registration Link:

Whether a voluntary choice or not, making the shift from a staff position to launching a freelance business is daunting for science communicators no matter their career stage. Most of us did not enter this career because we love business administration, but if done successfully and sustainably, launching a freelancing business can be incredibly rewarding and perhaps offer more career stability than a staff position; especially in recent years.

In this session our panel of diverse freelancers will work with the audience to create a comprehensive guide that addresses the logistical challenges and business-oriented tasks specifically associated with the transition to a full-time freelance career, with the goal of leaving participants with a list of action items and resources to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Registration is free and open to all interested professionals and students.
Recording will be made available to NASW members.

Moderators and Organizers:

Kimberly Hickok
Freelance Science Writer and Editor
Program Assistant for the UCSC Science Communication Program

Kim Hickock is an independent science communicator based in the Santa Cruz, Calif. area. She’s a generalist when it comes to science writing, but she writes most often about health, biotech, physics, engineering and climate science. In addition to her writing business, she loves organizing and managing projects, and is passionate about networking and building communities. Kim is a Program Volunteer with the NASW Freelance Committee.

Amanda Heidt
Freelance Science Writer/Editor and NASW Board Member

Amanda Heidt is a freelance science journalist and editor based among the red rocks of southeast Utah. Her writing, which covers topics across the earth and life sciences, has appeared in outlets such as Nature, Science, National Geographic, Science News, and NPR, and prior to freelancing, she was a staff editor at The Scientist.

Jyoti Madhusoodanan
Independent Journalist/Civic Science fellow at AHCJ and NASW Board Secretary

Jyoti Madhusoodanan is a freelance science journalist based in Portland, Ore., who covers the life sciences, bioethics, and health. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, The New York Times, NPR and other outlets. She is the 2024 Civic Science Fellow at the Association of Healthcare Journalists and a senior contributor at Undark magazine. .

Confirmed Speakers:

Adam Mann
Freelance Science Journalist

Adam Mann is a freelance space and physics reporter whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other places. He lives in Oakland, Calif. and enjoys riding his bike.

Jennifer Welsh (she/her)
Science Writer & Editor and Owner, WelshLee Creative, LLC

Jennifer Welsh is a science-focused writer and editor, mom of three girls 4 and under, and owner of WelshLee Creative, LLC, a science communication and graphic design business based in New Britain, Conn. She works directly with scientists and health professionals to accurately convey nuggets of novel biomedical research through a big-picture lens. She writes press releases about new scientific research, obituaries for scientists and doctors, and edits web copy blogs articles for hospitals, among many other things.

Rachel Tompa (she/they)
Freelance science and health writer and editor

Rachel Tompa is a freelance science and health writer and editor based in Seattle. A former molecular biologist, she spent 15 years in institutional science communication careers as a writer, editor and podcaster, most recently at the Allen Institute and before that at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. She's been freelancing full-time since late 2023 and primarily works with institutional clients.

Tyler Santora (they/he)
Freelance Science Journalist

Tyler Santora is a freelance science journalist, editor, and fact-checker based out of Denver, Colo. They were formerly the Health & Science Editor for Fatherly. Tyler writes for publications such as Science, Undark, Scientific American, Medscape, and many more, and specializes in covering LGBTQ+ health, metabolic health, cancer, and parenting.


Curated by the Board of the National Association of Science Writers, the Science Writers Roundtable series is the organization’s main virtual events series dissecting and responding to the evergreen and emerging forces that shape the business of science news. Open to all interested professionals and students, each event is moderated by an NASW Board Member in conversation among colleagues with experience and expertise relevant to journalists, writers, PIOs, and other communicators. No matter your role and identity within the science writing enterprise, we hope you will take away invaluable insights and information from our #SciWriRoundtable to become a more prepared, better equipped professional, educator, trainee, leader, or ally. Learn more at

Founded in 1934 with a mission to fight for the free flow of science news, NASW is an organization of ~2,400 professional journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. To learn more, visit and follow NASW on LinkedIn and Bluesky. And join us in celebrating #NASW90th.