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NASW workshop
CASW New Horizons in Science
Lunch with a scientist

  • NH
    Cristine Russell

    Senior fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

    Cristine Russell is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written about science, health and the environment for more than three decades. She was a national science reporter for the Washington Post and the Washington Star and is a past president of both CASW and NASW. She co-chairs the organizing committee for the World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco in October 2017. Russell is a senior fellow in the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Kennedy School and teaches an HKS class on “Climate, Energy & the Media.” Her research focuses on the future of science writing and how to improve news media coverage of controversial scientific issues, from climate change to avian flu.

  • WK
    Saba Sedighi

    Social strategist

    Saba Sedighi is a Social Strategist that has taken her passion for technology, marketing and creativity to the next level by coaching her clients and teaching businesses how to create a winning social presence and leverage Snapchat as a storytelling and community building platform. She believes in leveraging Snapchat as a means to empower creativity among the masses and pave the way for ephemeral micro content to be shared. She has co-created one of the first Snapchat for Beginners courses and teaches multiple classes as an Instructor at General Assembly. As a seasoned speaker, she has spoken at numerous industry leading events such as Social Recruiting Summit, Social Media Marketing World, National Association of Broadcasters and Silicon Beach.


  • NH
    Mark Shapiro

    Professor of physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

    Mark Shapiro studied physics at the University of Chicago before completing a PhD in physiology with research focused on ion channels at Rush University Medical Center. He joined UTHSCSA after nine years as a senior fellow at the University of Washington. His current research spans the physiology and modulation of many different ion channels in neurons and other excitable cells. Many widespread illnesses, including epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders and diabetes, have ion channel dysfunction at their core. The Shapiro lab studies ion channels in nerve and cardiac cells using patch-clamp electrophysiology combined with biochemistry, novel types of microscopy, molecular biology and live single-cell imaging. He also uses super-resolution nanoscopy to probe the multi-protein complexes underlying these actions.


  • WK
    Matt Shipman

    Research communications lead, N.C. State University

    Matt Shipman is the research communications lead at N.C. State University. He previously worked as a reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., covering the nexus of science, politics and policy. Shipman is the author of The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers (2015, University of Chicago Press) and a contributing author to Science Blogging: The Essential Guide (2016, Yale University Press). He writes the Communication Breakdown blog for Nature and Spektrum’s SciLogs site, and has written about science communication for both Nature and Scientific American blogs. He is also a reviewer for HealthNewsReview.org.


  • WK
    Jamie Shreeve

    Deputy Editor in Chief, National Geographic

    James (Jamie) Shreeve is Deputy Editor in Chief of National Geographic. Before joining the Geographic staff in 2006, he was a freelance science writer and author specializing in human evolution and biology. His books include The Genome War (Knopf, 2004); The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins (William Morrow, 1995); and Lucy's Child: The Discovery of a Human Ancestor (William Morrow, 1989, with Donald Johanson).

    Mr. Shreeve received his B.A. in English from Brown University in 1973. A 1979 graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, he contributed fiction to various literary magazines before turning to science writing. From 1983 to 1985, he was Public Information Director at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and founding director of the MBL Science Writing Fellowship Program. He has been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, and the Knight Foundation. Mr. Shreeve lives in Bellport, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.


  • WK
    Ashley Smart

    Associate Editor, Physics Today

    Ashley Smart is an associate editor at Physics Today, where he edits features and writes about all things physics. Ashley was a 2015-16 Knight Science Journalism fellow, and he’s a co-founding editor of HBSciU, a science news blog that spotlights research done at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


  • WK
    Maia Szalavitz

    Author, freelance

    Maia Szalavitz is a journalist and author who has covered drugs, addiction and neuroscience for nearly three decades. She is a 2015/16 Soros Justice Fellow.

    Her most recent book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, was published in April, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press. A previous book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, is the first history of “tough love” programs and helped spur Congressional hearings, investigations and proposed legislation.

    She has written for many major publications including TIME, the New York Times, Elle, Scientific American, the Washington Post and Pacific Standard.

    A former heroin and cocaine addict herself, her compassionate and evidence-based approach has been recognized with awards from the American Psychological Association, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Drug Policy Alliance.


  • WK
    Gary Taubes

    Co-founder, Nutrition Science Initiative

    Gary Taubes is an investigative science and health journalist and co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI.org). He is the author of Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It and Good Calories, Bad Calories (The Diet Delusion in the UK). Taubes is the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, and has won numerous other awards for his journalism. These include the International Health Reporting Award from the Pan American Health Organization and the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award, which he won in 1996, 1999 and 2001. (He may still be the only print journalist to win this award three times.)


  • WK
    John Tedesco

    Investigative reporter, San Antonio Express-News

    John Tedesco is an investigative reporter with the Express-News projects team, which tackles a variety of in-depth articles. John's investigations have included stories about shady telemarketers at the Texas Highway Patrol Museum, bribery scandals at City Hall and the deaths of oil-and-gas workers on the Eagle Ford Shale. John got the journalism bug 20 years ago writing for Incarnate Word University's student newspaper, the Logos. He still loves working in a field where you never stop learning. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors.


  • NH
    Andrea Thomaz

    Associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, University of Texas at Austin

    Andrea Thomaz joined the University of Texas faculty in January 2016 after serving as associate professor of interactive computing at Georgia Tech for nine years. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from MIT in 2002 and 2006. Thomaz works in artificial intelligence, robotics, and human-robot interaction. Her research aims to computationally model mechanisms of human social learning in order to build social robots and other machines that are intuitive for everyday people to teach. She received an NSF CAREER award in 2010 and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2008. She was named to the MIT Technology Review Top Young Innovators Under 35 in 2009 and to Popular Science magazine’s Brilliant 10 List in 2012.


  • WK
    Claudia P. Tibbs

    Science educator/Bilingual communicator, Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Claudia P. Tibbs is a science educator and bilingual communicator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. Throughout her work and personal life, Claudia strives to create a culture that promotes sharing, collaboration and inclusivity in order to empower members of the global community to do great things. As a lifelong learner, Claudia seeks opportunities where she can continue to grow creatively as a communicator and educator. Claudia’s professional experiences and personal interests are rooted in marine science and conservation, storytelling and visual communications, as well as cats and whiskey.

    At the Aquarium, Claudia works to empower students and teachers to take action on behalf of the ocean. Claudia has been featured on local and national English and Spanish-language programing such as the Disney Channel and ¡Despierta América! on Univision. Claudia has served as a contributing writer for the National Resource Defense Council’s Spanish language blog, “La Onda Verde” and launched the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Spanish-language Facebook page, “Tu Monterey Bay Aquarium”, resulting in the first Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited institution to have a bilingual social media presence. Claudia advises the Aquarium on culturally and developmentally appropriate messaging to maintain Spanish-language consistency, resulting in more powerful and emotional experiences for guests to deepen their connection to the ocean and further the aquarium’s reach on and off-site.

    Before joining the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Claudia held various community outreach and multicultural education positions along the central coast of California. Claudia received her B.S. in Earth Systems, Science and Policy with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Ecology from the California State University, Monterey Bay. Claudia attributes her passion for environmental advocacy, environmental justice issues and passion for education to her high school science teacher, Ms. Stevens from South Gate High School.

    Claudia P. Tibbs can be reached via Twitter at @cptibbs. Follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium at @MontereyAq and @MontereyAq_PR.


  • LS

    Co-founder, President and Director of Clinical Research, South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics

    START (South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics) operates the world’s largest Phase I Clinical Trials program, from its home base in San Antonio, Texas. The organization has clinic sites on four continents: San Antonio, Texas, and Grand Rapids, Mich., in the U.S., two in Madrid, Spain, one in Shanghai, China, and one in Taipei, Taiwan.

    Dr. Anthony W. Tolcher is the co-Founder, President and Director of Clinical Research at START. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Toronto and his fellowship in oncology at the University of British Columbia. He followed this with a research fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.

    Dr. Tolcher previously served as the Director of Clinical Research at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio from 2003 until April, 2007, and prior to that served as the Associate Director at the CTRC from 1999 to 2003.

    Dr. Tolcher's major interest is in the development of new anticancer agents. He has a special interest in molecular genetic targets for cancer therapy and is considered a leading authority on those subjects.

    He was a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institute of Health, and received the Murray Muirhead Award for humanitarian and academic excellence and the Goel Prize in Medicine for excellence in the Clinical Disciplines. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada; a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology; and a member of the American College of Physicians, and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. He also has served as a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Scientific Program Committee including chair of the Experimental Therapeutics selection committee and the Cancer Education Committee.

    He has been a scientific grant reviewer for the National Cancer Institute NIH, Department of Defense, and the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

    Dr. Tolcher has authored numerous publications, including over 120 peer reviewed publications, 143 conference proceedings, and 9 book chapters.  He serves as a reviewer for the following journals: Anti-Cancer Drugs, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Oncology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Clinical Lung Cancer, Clinical Prostate Cancer, Human Gene Therapy, and the Journal of Cancer.

    He is a regular speaker at medical conferences and symposia on the current state of cancer research and the prognosis for a cure in our lifetime.


  • LS
    Adam Urbach

    Professor of chemistry, Trinity University

    Adam R. Urbach is Professor of Chemistry at Trinity University. A native Texan, he took to science and technology at an early age. At the University of Texas at Austin, his fascination for organic chemistry was kindled by Prof. Jonathan Sessler, first in class and then in undergraduate research on the chemical synthesis of porphyrins and expanded porphyrins. Urbach pursued graduate studies in chemistry at Caltech under Prof. Peter B. Dervan, studying the molecular recognition of DNA with small molecules. He then studied nanoscience and protein biophysics under Prof. George Whitesides at Harvard University as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow before joining the faculty at Trinity University, a primarily undergraduate, liberal arts institution. Over the past twelve years, Prof. Urbach has developed a research program in the area of bioorganic chemistry, focused on the molecular recognition of peptides and proteins with synthetic receptors, and funded by the National Science Foundation, Welch Foundation, Research Corporation, Dreyfus Foundation, and American Chemical Society. Urbach recently completed a term a vice-chair and then chair of the faculty senate at Trinity.



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