We have a full slate of fine candidates (including two for Treasurer), and I urge everyone to take the time to read their statements and vote.

Balloting is open to all current members. The ballot is an online form; it must be completed by noon on Jan. 1.

A link to the ballot has been emailed to each member.

Candidates’ Statements


There is one declared candidate, Keith Seinfeld. Here is his statement:

I am a communications officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, where I’ve been since 2013. Prior to that, for about 16 years, I was a Health & Science reporter and assistant news director at the local NPR station in Seattle formerly known as KPLU (and now, KNKX, but that’s another story). I’ve also had brief stints at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune, and spent 2007-08 with the Knight Fellowships at MIT. I joined the NSWA board in 2011.

While I’m not getting many bylines these days, I’m deeply involved with communicating about diseases, risk, and research. I’m an advocate for science writing that treats science as a human enterprise, rather than a holy priesthood. And I care about nurturing and advancing quality science writing aimed at the wider public.

As NSWA President, I’m committed to keeping a balance between programs that delve into the craft of writing/publishing and programs that introduce us to local scientists and help us explore emerging science. I plan to continue the recent tradition of having an NSWA gathering every month, with a mix of panels and presentations, along with local tours, partnering with other groups holding events, and meet-ups with visiting authors, etc.

Vice President:

There is one declared candidate, Jane Hu. Here is her statement:

I’m a freelance science journalist, and work in science outreach at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS). I’m currently an early career fellow at The Open Notebook, and have written for publications like Slate, the Atlantic, Aeon, and Science.

I joined the NSWA board shortly after I moved to Seattle in 2014, and have served as Vice President for the last year. In the last couple years, I’ve been pleased to see NSWA move forward with some exciting new endeavors, like exclusive tours of local companies like Copperworks Distilling and Nucor Steel, get togethers with visiting authors like David Quammen and Hope Jahren, and a more active social media presence using tools like Storify, Twitter, and Facebook. Meanwhile, we’ve been hosting our usual line-up of excellent panels and craft-of-writing lectures and featuring our members’ work through ScienceWire.

In the next year, I look forward to working with the rest of the NSWA board and our members on projects like more events and resources for our local freelance community, making connections with other science communication and journalism organizations in the area, and supporting the NASW’s Regional PIO conference. I (and the rest of the board) are eager to hear members’ suggestions about how to improve or expand NSWA’s offerings, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have an idea to share.


There are two declared candidates, Samantha Larson and Matt Vivion.

First here is Samantha’s statement:

I’m a freelance journalist who specializes in science, the environment, and outdoor adventure. I’m a contributor to the local Seattle news site Crosscut.com and to the outdoor recreation site RootsRated.com, and have written for several other publications as well (you can check out some of my work at www.samanthalarson.com). I am running for this position because I’ve loved the NSWA events I’ve gone to since becoming a member about a year ago, and I would like to get more involved in the local science writing community.

Here is Matt’s statement:

I’m a Seattle-based Web designer and aspiring sci-fi screenwriter. I’m currently NSWA’s webmaster and have served as an at-large board member for four years. I built our website in 2010, redesigned it in 2012 and made it mobile-friendly in 2015. The website features a calendar of science events, social media integration, a blog highlighting recent writing by members, a member directory and more. I joined NSWA in early 2008 and also worked as our calendar editor during my first year as a member. Additionally, I established our Facebook and Twitter accounts and help maintain them.

I’m currently the web manager for the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington (UW) Bothell. Previously I had a similar role for the fundraising team at Swedish, where I worked for four years. I’ve also filled communications roles for science departments at the UW and worked as a secretary for the communications director at The Seattle Public Library during an ambitious capital campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in screenwriting from the University of California, Riverside. I’m from Colton, California and moved to Seattle in 2000.

My goals as treasurer in 2017 will be to improve integration between our website and member management system, continue helping promote events, and contribute to NSWA’s goal to foster science communication in the Pacific Northwest.


There is one declared candidate, Michelle Ma. Here is her statement:

I am a science writer and assistant director in the University of Washington’s news office, where I cover environment and marine science research. I got my start in science reporting at a small newspaper on the Northern California coast, and I then delved into web and video production at the Seattle Times as well as nonprofit work before arriving at the UW. I have served in the position of secretary for NSWA for almost two years. I enjoy both the nuts-and-bolts aspects of this role — taking notes at board meetings and producing monthly minutes — as well as the collaborative task of coming up with interesting, inspiring monthly programs and social events. As a science writer, I appreciate the support of the NSWA community, and I hope to continue contributing fresh ideas, camaraderie and passion to our organization by serving as secretary of the board.

At-Large Board Members:

There are five declared candidates for these five seats. Their statements follow:

Ashley Braun:

2016 was a weird year. The future of science and journalism are both in flux now, perhaps more than ever. That means we need to band together and support each other in our endeavors to deliver clear, factual information about science and the world in which it happens.

This past year was my first as a board member with the Northwest Science Writers Association, and I still have a slew of ideas I’d love to explore. In the so-called “post-truth” era, fact-checking is an absolutely essential skill for science communicators, no matter where you work, and as a fact-checker for publications such as Discover Magazine, I hope to feature ways anyone can be a better fact-checker at a future event.

I also want to continue bolstering the freelancer community, which I recently surveyed, by highlighting more opportunities for regional science reporting events and sharing information on editors and publications to pitch. In addition, I’d like to organize more in-person events for freelancers to connect and learn from each other, including a potential regional workshop covering the business of freelancing and the craft of writing and editing.

Having recently transitioned from a staff writer with NOAA to a full-time freelance science and environmental journalist, I’m tuned into the breadth of issues facing science communicators today. Thanks for the chance to continue serving you on the NSWA board!

Maria Dolan:

I have been a freelance writer in Seattle for more than 15 years, writing on subjects including natural history, the environment and health, for publications including Seattle Magazine, Seattle Times, Slate, Sierra, and Smithsonian.com. I have also worked as a copywriter, book reviewer, ghostwriter and guidebook writer. As an NSWA board member for the past two years, I’ve enjoyed the chance to support our science writing community through event planning, calendar support, and other board duties. Now more than ever, Northwest science writers need tools and inspiration, and I would appreciate the opportunity to support my fellow writers again in 2017.

W. Wayt Gibbs:

I am currently an at-large member of the NSWA board and have enjoyed being an active NSWA member since moving to Seattle in 2006 to take a job as executive editor at Intellectual Ventures, a research and invention company in Bellevue. I work there now as the editorial director with a wide range of scientists and inventors (most commonly Nathan Myhrvold, the founder and CEO) on editorial projects ranging from scientific papers to YouTube videos and TED talks. I was editor-in-chief and editorial director for the Modernist Cuisine series of books. From 1993 through 2006, I was a staff writer, senior writer, and editor at Scientific American magazine, where I primarily produced feature articles. The Economist gave me my big break in journalism, with an internship on their science desk in London.

In addition to my day job at IV, I am a contributing editor for Scientific American, and I freelance as a science reporter, editor, and publishing consultant. I’ve written in recent years for SciAm, Science, Nature, Discover, Wired, IEEE Spectrum, Conservation, Taschen books, and others.

In the past year, I served on the travel awards committee, organized the June NSWA social event at a local distillery, hosted post-Town Hall member hangouts with George Musser and Erik Vance (and set up a hangout with David Quammen), proposed the Nov. event with Luke Timmerman, and arranged for IV Laboratory to both host and sponsor NSWA’s coming holiday party. I look forward to contributing more to NSWA in the year to come.

Lynne Peeples:

I’m a Seattle-based science, health and environmental journalist. I recently returned to full-time freelancing after nearly five years as the environmental health reporter at The Huffington Post. My work has also appeared in Scientific American, Undark Magazine, Reuters Health and Pharmacy Practice News, among other outlets. In a former life, I crunched numbers as a biostatistician for HIV and environmental health studies. I’ve very much enjoyed serving on the board these past two years, and hope to use my experience to help NSWA maintain and strengthen our vibrant band of science writers. I see many more thought-provoking panels and community-building events (tours, films, drinks) in our future!

Eric Sorensen:

I’ve been a science writer for almost 30 years now with stints at the Spokesman-Review, The Seattle Times, and several universities. I’m now the lead science writer for Washington State University. Working as I am in the windswept reaches of eastern Washington, I’d like to have more social and professional interactions with other science writers and do what I can to sustain the craft. I also think it would be nice for the association to have some representation from this part of the Northwest.