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.


Jill Adams, president


My NASW membership allows me to be part of a wonderful, career-affirming community. It also provides me with numerous opportunities for professional development and loads of resources for writing, information gathering, and understanding my place in the ever-changing media landscape. 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. In our new virtual-meeting world, I'll work to find ways to bring community to our far-flung members. I want to continue to make our organization more welcoming to science writers from underrepresented groups and advance our practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’ve worked on a variety of NASW committees, including freelance, finance, governance, programs, and information access committee. I’ve served on the NASW board for four terms, and I welcome the chance to serve as the organization’s president. I am a freelance writer and editor.

First elected to the board in 2012

Cassandra Willyard, vice president


My first term on the NASW board was both challenging and immensely rewarding. I am especially proud of the work we did to streamline and update the complaints process and provide better protections for those who fear harassment and retaliation. The next couple of years will bring unprecedented challenges for NASW’s members. Layoffs have already begun, freelance budgets are shrinking, and I know I’m not the only one trying to juggle a career and childcare. I’m running for reelection because I want to find ways to help our members thrive during this time of hardship. And as a new member of the Programs Committee, I look forward to helping plan NASW’s first virtual conference. While we’re all disappointed that we can’t see our colleagues in Boulder, an online meeting gives us the opportunity to include members who have never before attended due to financial or other constraints. And the lessons we learn in 2020 will help us make future meetings even more inclusive.

First elected to the board in 2018

Sandeep Ravindran, treasurer


I’m running for my second term on the Board, and have also had the pleasure of serving as the NASW secretary for the past year. As a member of the finance committee, I’ve worked to balance the organization’s budget while prioritizing events that benefit our membership, including fellowships, grants and conferences. If elected treasurer, I will continue to work with the finance committee and executive director to maintain the organization’s long-term fiscal health while finding ways to support a wide variety of programs for our members. As part of a working group on diversity, I helped recommend best practices and policies that NASW could adopt to support diversity and inclusion within our organization and community, and am now involved in implementing these recommendations. As part of a working group on membership, I helped come up with additional benefits that NASW could offer its members. I was also part of a working group that explored ways to improve NASW members’ online engagement, and helped draft an online code of conduct and recommend changes to email discussion groups. I have helped organize the Power Pitch and Pitch Fest events at several NASW meetings, and I am keen to provide more such opportunities for NASW members to develop their professional skills and networks. I would also like to provide more mentorship and support to those new to our field, particularly with the aim of increasing diversity and giving voice to underrepresented perspectives. I strongly believe that a greater diversity of backgrounds and experiences can only make NASW stronger. Before becoming a science writer, I completed a microbiology Ph.D. at Stanford and studied science communication at UC Santa Cruz. I worked as a science writer for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for a couple of years before becoming a freelancer. I’ve written for a variety of publications including Smithsonian, National Geographic News, Nature, the Scientist, Wired, and Science News for Students. I am eager to continue contributing to NASW, and would welcome the opportunity to serve as treasurer and continue as a member of the Board.

First elected to the board in 2018

Kendall Powell, secretary


As NASW secretary I hope to continue and expand my service toward improving the professional lives of all of our members. Based near Denver, Colo., I’ve been an NASW member and freelancer for 17 years. I write for Nature, Science, and Knowable among other publications. I am a contributor to both The Science Writers’ Handbook and The Craft of Science Writing. I’ve served as co-chair for the Freelance Committee for the past seven years and on the Board for the past four. During that time, I have helped develop several member resources (including the Compensation Survey, Fair Pay Tip Sheet, the Work From Home Like a Pro tip sheet). In the past four years, I’ve worked with my fellow Board members, officers, our dedicated NASW committees and the executive director to usher in new policies that make NASW a more diverse, professional, respectful and stronger community. These include initiatives such as having a meeting Code of Conduct in place for our events, adding summer Diversity Fellowships and Graduate Student Travel Fellowships, redesigning our website, adding community managers to our discussion lists, and making changes to our bylaws to handle complaints about misconduct more effectively. I also continue to serve as NASW’s liaison to the Authors Coalition of America, which brings in monies to NASW through international reprographic rights agreements. Through that group of creators’ groups, I have forged connections that have allowed NASW to set up the grievance partnership with the National Writers Union, to advocate for writers’ rights across the U.S., and to get information to our members regarding COVID pandemic economic relief for freelancers. I’m an advocate for the freedom that comes with freelancing and that freelancing doesn’t mean “for free.” I will always advocate for the right of every science writer to make a decent living doing what we love to do. I look forward to continuing this work on behalf of all science writers.

First elected to the board in 2016

Board members-at-large

Shraddha Chakradhar

Reporter, Morning Rounds writer, STAT

I'm running for the NASW's Board to continue my work promoting diversity across science journalism, and to help provide opportunities to those who are underrepresented in our community. I have been an NASW member since 2013, and most recently served as co-chair of the NASW’s Diversity Committee. During my three-year tenure, I helped launch the Summer Diversity Fellowship to financially support student and early-career journalists as they try to complete an internship in an expensive city. I also helped launch the Diverse Voices series along with The Open Notebook to highlight underrepresented voices and experiences within science writing. I also want to serve on the Board to support our dedicated group of members. My experience as a science journalist has included editing and reporting as well as multimedia production and social media management (my current gig is as a reporter for STAT in Boston). And this range has given me insight into the various ways in which we all work to communicate science and the resources that we need to do our jobs more effectively. NASW and the resources it provides were crucial to helping me find a footing in science journalism, and I would love the opportunity to give back to our community and boost the next generation of science communicators.

First elected to the board in 2020

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

Jane Hu


As I began my science writing career, resources like Words Worth and NASW’s member compensation survey helped me develop realistic expectations about the challenges I’d encounter. What’s more, the community I’ve found — online and at annual meetings — has been invaluable. Currently, I’m an independent journalist; previously, I’ve worked as a science communicator for a research institute’s outreach team, and as a science communication course instructor. Each of these experiences have given me perspective into how each of us plays an important role in communicating science to the public. For the last five years, I’ve served on the board of the Northwest Science Writers’ Association, including two as president. During my tenure, I worked with the board to plan events and tours for our members, as well as to launch new programs, including a mentorship program and a science writing award. I hope to bring that energy and experience to NASW. In particular, I’m passionate about elevating voices from early career writers and writers belonging to underrepresented groups, and finding new ways to support the work of regional science writing groups.

First elected to the board in 2020

Jyoti Madhusoodanan


The NASW community has been vital to my career since I ventured into science writing ten years ago. I’m running for the board in an effort to help extend this support I’ve received to others, especially those new to the field. I’ve worked in corporate communications for a life sciences startup and as a press officer for the scientific journal PLOS ONE. I graduated from the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication program in 2014, and now freelance for Nature, Undark, Discover, Chemical & Engineering News and many other outlets from my home in Portland, Ore. I currently co-chair NASW’s Awards committee and work with the recently formed Standing Ethics committee. I’ve also volunteered to mentor students and early-career writers over the years. As part of these efforts, I have worked to find ways to better support regional journalism and expand NASW’s community to more fully represent the diversity of the science writing world. I’d be honored to extend these efforts by serving on the Board.

First elected to the board in 2020

Marilynn Marchione

Chief medical writer, the Associated Press (retired June 2021)

My reason for seeking to join the board is simple: I greatly value NASW's work to strengthen our profession and want to help further that goal. I've had a long and good career and I hope to help others working in a challenging media environment now. Before joining the Associated Press in 2004 and becoming its chief medical writer, I worked for three large urban newspapers and a university news service. I've had many journalism fellowships. Opportunities like these are scarce now, making NASW's education and training efforts keenly important. I've served on the Finance Committee for about two years where I've sought to help NASW become more financially secure by exploring new ways to increase revenue, trim costs and consider collaborations with other groups on areas of mutual interest. I have been a frequent speaker, moderator and session organizer at NASW ScienceWriters and CASW New Horizon conferences. I received the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science reporting in 2010. If elected, I hope to advance NASW's efforts to enhance professionalism, to help members in practical ways and to strengthen the organization's ability to sustain itself.

First elected to the board in 2020

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega

Science magazine

I first found out about NASW when I was an undergraduate student in 2015. Since then, NASW has been instrumental in my path to become a science journalist. Through the years, NASW has provided me with countless professional development opportunities and several fellowships, as well as mentors, colleagues and friends. And now it’s time to give something back. If elected to the board, I would bring a fresh and diverse perspective, but also a genuine will to help others achieve their professional goals through NASW resources and tools. Since last year, I have been co-chair of the NASW Diversity Committee, which aims to make every member from underrepresented minorities feel part of our community. Together with the committee members, we have maintained current projects — such as the NASW Diversity Summer Fellowship—as well as initiated new ones to help writers cope amidst the COVID-19 crisis. In my career, I have been a staff writer and editor for newspapers and online magazines, and a freelance journalist. I have been a graduate student and also did a short PIO stint, so I have been in the many worlds of science communication. My experience has helped me understand the needs of both young and veteran members of our community. Now, I would like to bring my enthusiasm and eagerness to help others to the NASW board. It would be an honor to serve you.

First elected to the board in 2020

Erin Ross

Writer/researcher, Oregon Public Broadcasting

I moved home to work at Oregon Public Broadcasting because I knew, intellectually, that local journalism was important. OPB is a regional NPR and PBS affiliate, and I wanted to write and make videos about science and support the community I grew up in. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made the relevance of local news explicitly clear in ways I could never have imagined. Because of my experience as a science communicator, I have been able to serve as a resource for my coworkers, my community, and my state. I never really understood how much in-depth knowledge of our beat matters, until now. So many issues – not just COVID-19, but climate change, public health, and conservation, warrant deep, regionally-focused science coverage. If I am elected to the NASW board, I will act as a voice for local and regional news within the organization, and will advocate for resources for local journalists who frequently find themselves up the science writing stream without a paddle. NASW has been an invaluable resource during my career, and I want to share it with others. My work as an NASW mentor has been some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done, and it would be a privilege to serve on the board and give back to an organization that has given me so much. I graduated from the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program in 2016. I did the internship rounds in D.C., and later wrote for Axios before moving home to Oregon.I have been an active member of NASW since 2015, and was recently elected to the board of the Northwest Science Writers’ Association. I currently serve on the NASW journalism committee, and moderate the NASW-COVID-19 mailing list.

First elected to the board in 2020

Jill Sakai

Freelance and University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

Research communications lead, 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 do freelance work and write the Science Communication Breakdown blog (though it is infrequently updated). I was a reviewer for – and desperately wish it was a going concern during the pandemic.

First elected to the board in 2016

Ramin Skibba

Space writer, WIRED

I’m a freelance science writer and journalist based in San Diego, and I’m excited to serve as a NASW board member. I’m the outgoing president of the San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA), which we revived in 2018 and with which we organize lots of social events and events involving the craft of science writing. For NASW I serve on the Freelance and Diversity committees, and I’ve been focused on freelancer grievances, the impacts of labor laws on freelancers, and the struggle of parents who freelance. As we’re all having a tough time during the pandemic, it’s an important time to recognize each other’s struggles, have solidarity, and work together to improve our profession while providing opportunities and sharing resources with each other. I have been freelancing for four years for a variety of outlets, including Scientific American, Slate, the Atlantic, Nature, and Undark, and I write a wide range of space, environmental and policy-oriented stories. I have a 21-month-old daughter and a four-year-old son.

First elected to the board in 2020

Sarah Zielinski

Science News for Students

Sarah Zielinski is the managing editor of Science News for Students and a contributor to Science News magazine. She also writes and edits comics for the TinyView Comics app. She has a B.A. in biological sciences from Cornell University and an M.A. in journalism through New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She is chair of the NASW membership committee and is serving her second term on the NASW Board.

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 to 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.

Ben Young Landis, assistant executive director

Ben Young Landis began as assistant director of the National Association of Science Writers in May 2022, becoming the organization’s second staff member. Supporting executive director Tinsley Davis, Ben’s portfolio focuses on NASW’s member communication channels, spanning our print magazine, email newsletter, social media accounts, news releases, and other digital content, as well as NASW’s growing slate of virtual events. Additionally, Ben is charged with assessing, managing, and innovating NASW’s ongoing organizational support for our many volunteer committees — whose energy and dedication truly create the contact points and hands-on benefits that so many science writers enjoy. As Ben grows into his role staffing Tinsley and the NASW board, he’ll draw on his seasoned experience as an independent consultant providing creative strategy, design, training, and facilitation services to clients from across academia, nonprofits, state government, industry, and small businesses. Prior to consulting, Ben worked as a science communication specialist with the U.S. Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey; an editorial assistant with North Carolina Sea Grant; and a newsroom intern with the Orange County Register. He holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, along with his B.A. in Evolution and Ecology with a Minor in Education from the University of California, Davis. As the NASW work rhythm settles into its seasons, Ben looks forward to rekindling his fondness for the aquarium fish hobby and continuing his years-long streak of weekly fish art.

Russell Clemings, cybrarian
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, assistant cybrarian

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) 859-7229

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