SciCom Class of 2018

Alex Fox

B.A. (liberal arts) Sarah Lawrence College
Postbaccalaureate certificate (ecology) Columbia University

Alex Fox

When I was eight, my former teacher asked me to channel my enthusiasm for biology into a presentation for her first-grade class about my favorite creatures—bats. With my copy of America’s Neighborhood Bats under one arm, I explained the differences between Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera to her squirming class of six-year-olds. As their eyes glazed over, it dawned on me that I had failed to consider my audience.

I later refined my skills as a communicator by writing short stories, press releases, and white papers. I learned that a well-crafted message can move people. I resolved to use my writing to connect others to the wonder and fragility of the natural world, by sharing the joy I feel watching bats cut silhouettes out of the night sky, and the heartbreak of naming the species and habitats we’ve lost.

Fall internship: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Kimberly Hickok

B.S. (marine biology) Texas A&M University at Galveston
M.S. (biology) Southeastern Louisiana University

Kimberly Hickok

One night during my first year of college, my parents and I went for a walk on a Texas beach. Neon waves crashed to the shore as our footsteps sparkled in the sand. When my parents asked why the water gleamed, I was so thrilled to know the answer that I could barely speak. I explained that the waves were churning up tiny algae that glow when disturbed—a natural phenomenon called a bioluminescent plankton bloom.

In graduate school, I felt that same excitement when explaining my research to my family. I loved studying how chemicals in the ocean affect sea turtles but had more fun telling other people about my work.

Now I continue the journey I began on that Texas beach, ready to share my excitement about the ocean and its wonders with everyone.

Fall internship: Inside Science News Service

Anna Katrina Hunter

B.A. (environmental studies) University of California, Santa Cruz

Anna Katrina Hunter

I used to love painting landscapes at the kitchen table with my grandmother. When we’d put away our brushes, I’d venture outside to explore the wild oaks, birds, and olive trees depicted in her paintings. Years later, I found myself looking through the lens of a microscope at a glossy red mite with a yellow swirl reminiscent of a paintbrush stroke decorating its back. In this tiny, profound moment, I realized that my love for scientific discovery married itself perfectly with my appreciation for the artistry of nature. I became an entomologist, studying insects in agriculture, but soon felt frustrated by this narrow focus. As a science writer, I hope to recapture my awe at nature’s beauty and to share it with those who have yet to appreciate the hidden realms that I once glimpsed through my microscope.

Fall internship: UC Santa Cruz news office

Nicoletta Lanese

B.S. (psychology) and B.F.A. (dance) University of Florida

Nicoletta Lanese

In second grade, I wrote construction-paper novels about the misadventures of feisty heroines. I dreamed of becoming a professional writer—until neuroscience beguiled my mind and dance captured my heart.

I chased three careers in college: scientist, dancer, and writer. Flushed from morning dance classes, I dashed to the lab to record freshmen’s brain waves each afternoon. Then I raced back to the studio, where I translated movement disorders into dance steps before hustling home to blog by moonlight.

Everything changed when a professor assigned me to summarize a complex cognitive psychology study. Marveling at the clarity of my explanation, my professor remarked that I would make a good science writer. I now pursue my dream job in science communication.

Fall internship: Stanford University School of Medicine news office

Jennifer Leman

B.A. (geosciences, museums concentration) Smith College

Jennier Leman

As a child, I was inspired by videos of volcanologists tiptoeing around rivers of lava. I created my own “heat-resistant” tin foil suit, ready to explore the hottest thing I could find—the oven in my family’s kitchen. Then, on a trip to Mount St. Helens, I learned that volcanic eruptions could be deadly. My fascination turned to fright.

Luckily, a college geology course drew my passion for science back to the surface. After graduating, I worked as an educator at a science museum and learned that I could relate anything from moon jellies to ostrich feathers to the ground beneath my feet.

In a tectonic shift, the volcanoes I once feared have become my greatest passion. Now I hope to use storytelling to illuminate both the wonders and hazards of this dynamic planet.

Fall internship: Monterey Herald

Kimber L. Price

B.S. (cytology) Medical University of South Carolina
M.S. (clinical research) Medical University of South Carolina
Ph.D. (neuroscience) Medical University of South Carolina

Kimber L. Price

My writing career began at age nine, as I penned notebook after notebook of daily observations on the sand dunes and tidal pools of the sea island where I grew up. There, I found the subjects of my investigative journalism and the fodder for my imagination. Why did one-armed crabs wave skyward warnings and jewel-toned periwinkles play hide-and-seek with the ebb tide?

Years later, my curiosity led to a career in neuroscience. I asked new questions: Why did fluctuating hormones drive female mice to drink more alcohol? Why did stress cut people’s cravings for pot? As I taught college students about the intricacies of my research, I realized I wanted to approach the questions of our world through my original passion—writing. My notebooks are ready.

Fall internship: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center news office

Jeremy Rehm

B.S. (biology) Brigham Young University
M.S. (ecology and evolutionary biology) Brown University

Jeremy Rehm

When my third-grade teacher introduced me to astronomy, she opened a door to a cosmos of planets, stars, and galaxies, all moving against the dark blanket of the universe. I became obsessed with space: I wrote stacks of reports on planets and authored a book chronicling one boy’s trip around the solar system. When my family got a telescope, I sat outside watching the sky on cold winter nights.

My obsession with science later led me to research. Outfitted in muddied suede boots, I netted nimble bats in the Panamanian rainforests and tip-toed around Oregon’s tidepools. I loved exploring and investigating nature, but felt pressured to specialize in one subject.

Science journalism opens another door for me—a portal to a vast world of writing, questioning, and creativity. With pen in hand and boots laced tight, I enter and explore again.

Fall internship: Monterey Herald

Anne Roth

B.S (marine biology) University of California, Santa Cruz

Anne Roth

When I wasn’t buried under a mountain of National Geographic magazines as a kid, I was parked in front of a television watching Steve Irwin’s “Crocodile Hunter.” Wildlife documentaries and magazines inspired my passion to save the natural world, despite my upbringing among the high-rise buildings of New York City.

When I graduated from college, I tried every job whose description included the word “conservation.” After two years of monitoring king salmon populations in Monterey Bay, I felt like I’d eaten more fish than I’d saved. By pursuing a career in scientific communication, I hope to make a bigger impact and inspire millions to support conservation.

Steve Irwin taught me that if you want to protect wildlife, you must make people fall in love with it. I’m living proof that this can work.

Fall internship: KZSC radio

Laura G. Shields

B.S. (chemistry) University of Virginia
M.S. and Ph.D. (chemistry) University of California, San Diego

Laura G. Shields

As an eight-year-old, I wrote a newsletter warning my neighbors that pollution was ripping a hole in the ozone layer. I never distributed the newsletter, but still wanted to educate others about environmental problems; I just needed to find a better way.

In high school, I fell hard for the world of atoms when I realized that unlocking the secret code of chemistry explained everything around me. I later studied how pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter harm air quality, merging my passions for chemistry and environmental issues.

In Australia years later, I patrolled beaches to count nesting sea turtles. When I wrote a travel magazine article about how poaching and other threats hurt these creatures, I realized I had finally found a better way to share science.

Fall internship: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Vicky Stein

B.A. (biology) Dartmouth College

Vicky Stein

I once gave impassioned playground speeches celebrating the delicacy of jellies and the immensity of whales. I spent my childhood exploring tide pools by day and devouring books and nature documentaries by night.

After frigid college winters, I sought out warmer climes, traveling to the San Juan Islands, Costa Rica, Australia, and even Antarctica, which was surprisingly temperate compared to Dartmouth in January. As a research assistant and explorer, I wrote about the dolphins, spiders, and icebergs that I encountered, publishing tales of my adventures on my blog. I then shared my enthusiasm for nature while guiding whale-watching trips in Monterey Bay; I now hope to use my writing to share my delight in discovery with a new, broader audience.

Fall internship: Stanford University News Service