NASW officers, executive board, and key people

Elections occur in even years, prior to the fall annual meeting. We update the Candidate Information page in January of an election year, but you can read it anytime for information on the basic process.


Siri Carpenter, president


As president, I will continue to build NASW’s support for greater inclusivity in the organization and in the field, strengthen communications with members, and support strong critical analysis and ethical decision making in science writing. Since joining NASW in 1998, I’ve served on numerous committees, organized ScienceWriters workshops, and founded or co-founded several small tribes of journalists. I have a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University and got my start in science writing through a AAAS Mass Media Fellowship at the Richmond Times-Dispatch followed by an internship at Science News. Since 2002, I’ve freelanced for many different magazines and newspapers, and was features editor at Discover. I currently do contract editing for Science News for Students and edit The Open Notebook, the nonprofit website for science journalists that I co-founded in 2010.

First elected to the board in 2016

Jill Adams, vice president


The primary benefit of NASW membership is sharing stories and strategies for success with other professional science writers at the annual conferences, regional meetings, and online. An enormous amount of volunteer effort goes into making our meetings and online resources useful for members, and yet, there is always room for improvement. I will work to continue efforts to promote diversity in our profession and to make our community more welcoming to science writers of all colors, creeds, and genders. I am a freelance writer and editor, with regular gigs at the Washington Post and I’ve worked on a variety of NASW committees, including freelance, finance, governance, and program. I’m currently a member of the information access committee and the working group on conflict of interest. I’ve served on the NASW board for three terms, and I welcome the chance to serve as the organization’s vice president.

First elected to the board in 2012

Alexandra Witze, treasurer

Nature, Science News

Alexandra Witze is a contributing correspondent for Nature and Science News magazines, based in Boulder, Colo. Her awards include top journalism prizes from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Physics, and NASW. With her husband Jeff Kanipe, she is the author of Island on Fire, a book about the extraordinary 18th-century eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki. She is on the board of directors for The Open Notebook. Between 2005 and 2010 she served as features editor, news editor, and Washington bureau chief for Nature. Alex has also worked as a general science reporter at the Dallas Morning News in Texas and as an editor at the first Earth magazine, in Wisconsin. She has a bachelor’s degree in geology from MIT and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

First elected to the board in 2016

Sandeep Ravindran, secretary


Sandeep Ravindran was elected as a board member-at-large in 2018. He assumed the role of secretary in June 2019, following the resignation of Nsikan Akpan in May.

I ran for NASW’s board to help provide members with more avenues for professional development and mentorship and find ways to make our organization more diverse and inclusive. I studied science communication at U.C. Santa Cruz, and worked for two years as a science writer for PNAS before becoming a freelancer. I’ve written for a variety of publications including Smithsonian, Wired, The Scientist, and As part of the NASW freelance committee I helped organize Power Pitch and Pitch Slam events at NASW meetings and the World Conference of Science Journalists, and I’m keen to provide more such opportunities for NASW members. I’d also like to provide more mentorship and support to newcomers to our field, particularly with the aim of increasing diversity and giving voice to underrepresented perspectives.

First elected to the board in 2018

Board members-at-large

Jennifer "Jenny" Cox


I genuinely enjoy helping others achieve their goals. Volunteering with NASW allows me to do just that. I hope to support efforts within NASW to increase diversity and inclusion, improve member access to the tools necessary to achieve their professional goals and help all members feel welcome and valued. I recently retired from NC State University where I was an award-winning institutional science writer, editor and communications director and now work as a freelance writer. I serve on the NASW program committee and the editorial advisory group for ScienceWriters. I’ve judged the Excellence in Institutional Writing Award, served on the subcommittee to revamp NASW communications and served as the communications chair for the 2017 World Conference in Science Journalism. In 2017 I received the Diane McGurgan Service Award. Locally, I am treasurer and SciWri Congress representative for Science Communicators of North Carolina.

First elected to the board in 2019

Jenny Cutraro

Science Storytellers and Freelance

When I walked into my first ScienceWriters meeting in 2002 – before I even knew what my career would look like — I knew I’d found my professional home. Today, I’m happy to see that home adapting to better reflect the needs of its membership. I recently served on the committee for membership identity and values, which aspires to make NASW inclusive of science writers of all stripes. I will bring to the board a unique perspective on the wide variety of ways people write and otherwise communicate about science today. My own experience represents that diversity: I’ve been a science textbook editor, university PIO, freelance journalist, PBS KIDS project director, and now, the founder of Science Storytellers, a program that marries science journalism with engagement. I will also continue to advocate for those new to the profession as a member of the education committee and former director of the NASW Internship Fair, for which I received the Diane McGurgan Service Award in 2010.

First elected to the board in 2018

Lila Guterman


In 20 years, I’ve done just about everything in science writing and editing: reported, won national awards, and survived a layoff at a newspaper (The Chronicle of Higher Education); freelanced full time; edited at Science News and Chemical & Engineering News; spent a year at MIT as a Knight Fellow; and worked for a government contractor. I managed a small team in communications at PCORI, a nonprofit research funder. With my varied experience, I can empathize with science writers in many areas of work, and I hope to represent a wide range of interests. I’d specifically like to make PIOs’ voices and interests more central to NASW while respecting journalists’ independence. I’m also dedicated (you might say addicted) to social media as a means of building community, and I hope to help NASW build its social media presence. I’m a U.C. Santa Cruz grad, an NASW member since 1997, and a member of a new NASW working group exploring conflict of interest.

First elected to the board in 2018

Kathryn Jepsen


Kathryn Jepsen is the editor-in-chief of Symmetry, an online magazine about particle physics published by two U.S. national laboratories. She is based at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area. Like many NASW members, Kathryn followed an unexpected career path. She graduated with a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University thinking that she would wind up at a journalistic publication. But a professor from her science-writing specialization recommended she apply for an internship at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She got the internship, which turned into a full-time job, which so far has turned into about a decade of writing about particle physics while based at different laboratories, including CERN research center in Europe. Kathryn decided to get more involved in NASW after witnessing the organization’s willingness and ability to respond to sexual harassment in the field. As head of the NASW Internet Committee, Kathryn spearheaded the effort to redesign the NASW website. She has also served on the NASW Finance and Audit Committee. Her priority is fostering an inclusive and safe science writing community that is a force for good in the world around it.

First elected to the board in 2017

Seth Mnookin


Seth Mnookin is Associate Director of MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. His most recent book, The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, won the NASW “Science in Society” Award in 2012 and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize. He is also the author of the 2006 New York Times bestseller Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top and 2004's Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media, which was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Since 2005, he has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including Smithsonian, New York, Wired, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Spin, Slate, and His essay about the cost of measles infections was included in the The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014, and he recently wrote about a family's discovery that their child was the first known case of a new genetic disorder for the New Yorker.

First elected to the board in 2014

Kendall Powell


I joined the NASW Board to continue my service to improving the professional lives of our members, and especially of freelance members. Based near Denver, Colo., I’ve been an NASW member and freelancer for the past 13 years writing for publications such as Nature, the Washington Post, and Discover, among others. I’ve served on the Freelance Committee since 2007 and as co-chair for the last three years. I’ve helped develop resources such as the Words’ Worth database, the Compensation Survey, the Fair Pay Tip Sheet and overseen a reorganization of the All About Freelancing webpage. I’ve worked with PIOs and staff journalists on many projects and I have a passion for connecting people, especially when it benefits our entire writing community. In 2013, I was a project manager and contributor to The Science Writers’ Handbook. I’m a huge advocate for both the freedom that comes with freelancing and the idea that freelancing should never mean “for free.”

First elected to the board in 2016

Hillary Rosner


Hillary Rosner is a freelance journalist specializing in the environment. Her work has been published recently in National Geographic, Wired, Scientific American, the New York Times, and High Country News. She is also a contributing editor at the website bioGraphic. Hillary was a 2011 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a 2012 Alicia Patterson Fellow. Her work has won many awards, including two AAAS-Kavli Science Journalism awards. Hillary holds an M.S. in environmental studies from the University of Colorado and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from New York University. During her career she has worked at the New York Post, New York magazine, and the Village Voice, as well as helped launch several multimedia startups. She lives in Colorado.

First elected to the board in 2012

Jill Sakai


After a decade as a university research writer and public information officer, I am now a full-time freelance science and medical writer and editor in Madison, Wisc. Since joining NASW in 2006, I have served on the program and awards committees, previously co-chaired the PIO committee, and am in my second term on the board. I am especially pleased to have coordinated the team effort to establish the new Excellence in Institutional Writing award. As part of the ad hoc committee on constitutional review, I evaluated possible impacts of a proposed change to the organization’s leadership model; I then co-chaired the ad hoc committee on membership identity and values to address the interests and needs of NASW’s varied membership. My continuing priority for NASW is to strengthen the science writing community through inclusivity and diversity of the organization and its programs in support of science writers of all backgrounds.

First elected to the board in 2014

Matt Shipman

North Carolina State University

I'm the research communications lead at North Carolina State University and was previously an environmental policy reporter in the Washington, D.C. area. I am the author of The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers and a contributor to Science Blogging: The Essential Guide. I also write the Science Communication Breakdown blog and am a reviewer for I think it's important for NASW to acknowledge the clear differences between journalism and working as a public information officer, as well as the shared skills each job requires and common areas of interest for all science writers. Open and respectful discussions between all NASW members will be a key component in ensuring that the organization continues to provide training and resources to help science writers in all fields thrive in a continually evolving media marketplace.

First elected to the board in 2016

Cassandra Willyard


NASW has played an invaluable role in shaping my career over the past 15 years, and I would welcome the opportunity to give back. I am a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisc. I blog for The Last Word On Nothing and write for Nature, Discover, Popular Science, Audubon, and many other outlets. I organized a panel on fact-checking for the ScienceWriters2015 meeting, and I recently joined NASW’s working group on conflict of interest. Many freelancers (myself included) make a living by taking on a variety of paid work both in and outside of journalism. I hope this group can create greater clarity and guidance regarding conflicts of interest. I am also eager to see NASW provide early- and mid-career writers with more training opportunities. Publications increasingly want us to be jacks-of-all-trades (writers, fact-checkers, photographers, etc.) yet it can be difficult to acquire these skills without training.

First elected to the board in 2018

Sarah Zielinski

Science News for Students

I am the managing editor of Science News for Students and have been an NASW member for most of my 14 years as a science journalist. NASW is an organization that is trying to serve many audiences: journalists, writers, bloggers, editors, PIOs, staffers, freelancers, and plenty of others who don’t fit into neat categories. We all communicate science, but in so many different ways. Those differences don’t have to be a source of conflict. We just need to find common ground. That’s why last year, at the World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco, I organized a meet-and-greet for science writers, editors, and PIOs called the Unofficial Pop-Up Pitch Slam. This year, the event becomes official (now named Science Writer For Hire), but it’s not enough. I want to find new ways of serving the science writing community and drawing people from all these various specializations together.

First elected to the board in 2018

Other key NASW people

Tinsley Davis, executive director

Tinsley Davis has led the National Association of Science Writers as Executive Director since 2008. As the sole staff member, she manages all aspects of the 2,200+ membership organization’s programs, projects, and grants and supports the leadership of the volunteer board of directors. Tinsley represents NASW’s interest in a variety of collaborative efforts, including the Authors Coalition, where she was Finance Committee chair from 2018-2020, and the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM and is a member of the emerging LISTEN network for leaders in science engagement. Tinsley has organized the annual NASW workshops since 2005, when she took on the role as a freelance side hustle, and brokered the development of the first ScienceWriters meeting in 2006. Under her leadership, this annual joint conference with the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing has grown steadily, bringing together 500-800 science writers together each year for professional development sessions, science briefings, and field trips. Tinsley leads NASW’s presence in the international community and recently co-organized the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco, which attracted 1,200 international science journalists and communicators. Previously, Tinsley worked at the Gordon Current Science & Technology Center at the Museum of Science in Boston on novel methods to engage adult audiences with science news. A former microbiologist with an M.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tinsley is an alum of Swarthmore College and spends those elusive hours of free time galloping cross country and competing in eventing.

Sarah Nightingale, digital and print editor
Russell Clemings, cybrarian
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, assistant cybrarian
Ben Young Landis, social media consultant

The cybrarian is NASW's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) agent.

Office Address
National Association of Science Writers, Inc.
P.O. Box 7905
Berkeley, CA 94707
Phone: (510) 647-9500

NASW is an equal opportunity employer. View our Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment Policy.

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