Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWHAT Newsletter - June 2016

Thursday, June 09, 2016 10:18 PM | Corinna Wu (Administrator)

Coming Attractions

NCSWA Summer Dinner Talk: Thursday, August 4


Karl Deisseroth, a pathbreaking bioengineer, practicing psychiatrist and pioneering neuroscientist, has developed two brain-exploration technologies that are revolutionizing brain research. One is optogenetics, which involves genetic modification of brain cells so they can be switched on or off by light. The other is CLARITY – replacing the fatty components of brain tissue with a hydrogel substance that leaves the tissue cells intact, yet transparent (!) More information on time and place is coming soon to your email inbox and will be posted on the NCSWA website.

Save the date

NCSWA Workshop: Saturday October 8

NCSWA will offer a workshop on smartphone photography with Lisa Strong, a multimedia storyteller who has worked at the Exploratorium and teaches at the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program. The workshop will be on Saturday October 8 in the charming and photogenic town of Crockett. More information coming later this summer.

Awards and Training

Gerontological Society of America Fellowship

The deadline to apply for the Journalists in Aging Fellowship, sponsored by New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America, will be announced by the end of June. Journalists will be selected from both the ethnic news media and general audience press, and each will receive a $1,500 stipend and expense-paid trip to GSA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November. For more information, visit the GSA website.

Young Journalists Award

June 30 is the entry deadline for the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Journalists sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and the Clark/Payne Fund. Applicants must be age 30 or younger, and the winner will receive $1,000 plus expenses to attend the annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the New Horizons briefing of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit the CASW website.

Medical Science Reporting Award

July 31 is the entry deadline for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing's Victor Cohn Award. This prize is for work published or broadcast within the last five years that has made a profound and lasting contribution to public awareness and understanding of critical advances in medical science and their impact on human health and well-being. The honoree receives $3,000 and travel expenses to the award ceremony, which is during the CASW and NASW annual meetings. For more information, visit the CASW website.

AAAS Science Journalism

August 1 is the entry deadline for the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards. The categories include large newspapers, small newspapers, magazines, online (including podcasts and blogs), radio and television (spot news/feature and in-depth). In addition, the category for children’s science news is open to journalists worldwide across all media. In each category, there are 2 awards: gold, with a prize of $5,000, and silver, with a prize of $3,500, plus expenses to attend the annual AAAS meeting. For more information, visit the AAAS website.

NCSWA About Town

Ed Blonz, a scientist, syndicated columnist and NCSWA member, had a paper published online May 12 at The Lancet Infectious Diseases titled Zika and GLUT1 (Link to article) with an evidence-based proposal that metabolizable energy from glucose to get from the maternal circulation through the placenta and then through the fetal blood-brain barrier to the developing fetus and fetal brain. Epidemiological evidence suggests that eating certain foods might mitigate the risk. 

Blake Edgar's article "Powers of Two," about the origin of monogamy in humans, primates and other mammals, was selected for the Scientific American MIND anthology "The Sexual Brain," which published in March. The article initially appeared in a Scientific American theme issue about human evolution.

Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi is the coauthor of a new book Solar Science: Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In part, the book is designed to get teachers, museum educators, youth group leaders, and others ready for the August 21, 2017, “All-American” eclipse of the sun.  A free excerpt from the book with eclipse maps, times, explanations, and safe viewing instructions is available at:

Jennifer Huber is now a full-time freelance science writer. She writes every week for Stanford School of Medicine, TOMA Biosciences and Convey Inc. Miscellaneous other science journalism, technical writing and teaching gigs add to her freelance juggle -- but she is happy to be juggling jobs instead of bills.

Susan McCarthy is back from four months in Palmer Station, Antarctica, where she went on an NSF Artists & Writers grant to write about the only land bird that breeds in Antarctica, the snowy sheathbill (Chionis alba).

Mary Jean Pramik won a silver medal for "Ghost Ship: USS Hornet Conducts Spook Maneuvers" in the cruise story category of the Travelers' Tales Tenth Annual Solas Awards. At the end of June, she'll be heading off to Hermanos, South Africa, to work with a 3-woman team of shark researchers for 2 weeks, assisting them in their research, enlisted by EarthWatch, an ecoscience/ecotourism nonprofit group.

Susan Tabor writes to say the Bay Area Sci Comm Meetup will hold its inaugural event on Thursday, June 9, at Palomino Restaurant & Bar on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. See the meetup website for more information.

Norm Sperling’s Kickstarter raised 157% of its target for Bright-EyeTM Telescopes.
From a month before launch to a week after closing, he writes, “It was like riding
a bucking bronco on a roller coaster.”
He ended up with 108 backers who pledged $31,557 for 47 telescopes. Norm plans to produce the telescopes over the summer, then try to build the enterprise from craft scale to production-line scale.

Ten students in the 35th graduating class of the UC Santa Cruz Science
Communication Program
, many of whom joined NCSWA for events during the

past year, are embarking on their summer internships -- all in the eastern
U.S. The latest SciCommies joining our profession are:

Bethany Augliere: EARTH Magazine (Alexandria, VA/remote)
Brendan Bane: AGU (Washington D.C.)
Emily Benson: New Scientist (Boston)
Laurel Hamers: Science News (Washington D.C.)
Natalie Jacewicz: NPR (Washington D.C.)
Amy McDermott: Science News (Washington D.C.)
Erin Ross: National Institute of General Medical Sciences (Washington D.C.)
Ramin Skibba: Nature (Washington D.C.)
Alison Takemura: The Scientist (Boston)
Lindzi Wessel: STAT (Boston


Jody Berger, freelance journalist

Haley Bowling, California Academy of Sciences

Karen Hao

Jennifer Haslip, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Sandra Lee, Stanford University

Amy Maxmen, freelance

Roopa Ramamoorthi, BIO Ventures for Global Health

Marilyn Smulyan, San Francisco State University

Annie Sneed, freelancer

Amanda Solliday, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Rubiya Tuma, Medscape

Lida Tunesi, UC Berkeley

Wendy Wolfson, freelance

Trina Wood, UC Davis

Margie Wylie, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software