We have a full slate of fine candidates. Please take the time to read their statements and vote.

Voting is open to all current members. A link to the online ballot and a password were sent to all current members. The ballot must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5.


President – Jane Hu
At the annual Science Writers’ conference in October, regional groups like the Northwest Science Writers got together for the first-ever “congress” of science writer organizations. It was a great opportunity for groups to share ideas and tips — and helped me see how special it is that Paciic Northwest writers have built an organization as vibrant and active as NSWA.

I’m an independent journalist, and it’s my been pleasure to serve as NSWA’s president over the last year, as well as in other board roles in the previous 3 years. Our board has put together a variety of stellar events this year, from panels on interviewing, feature writing, and science illustration to using more creative formats, like a walking tour of a Seattle neighborhood’s rain gardens and green infrastructure and a pub trivia night. We also hosted a panel at the Society for Professional Journalists’s Oregon chapter conference this fall, as part of our ongoing efforts to have more events across the region.

Over the next year, I’d like to continue the fantastic work our hard-working board has engaged in this year: partnering with other regional writing and journalism groups, finding new ways to engage writers across our region, and planning tours, talks, and other outings for writers to learn new skills and talk shop with one another.

Vice-President – Wayt Gibbs
I currently serve as vice president of NSWA and have served on the NSWA board for three years. I have enjoyed being an active NSWA member since arriving in Seattle in 2006. I am a contributing editor for Scientific American and for Anthropocene magazine, and I freelance as a science writer and editor for many publications, includuing SciAm, Science, Nature, Discover, Wired, IEEE Spectrum, and NBC News. I also have a full-time job as editorial director at Intellectual Ventures, a research and invention company in Bellevue. Prior to IV, I worked for almost 14 years as senior writer and editor at Scientific American magazine, where I primarily produced feature articles.

In the past year as VP and member of the NSWA board, I led planning for the the January holiday party at Pacific Science Center, organized the April science trivia night, participated as a mentor in our July Share Your Science workshop, hosted drinks with author David Quammen, and arranged for the Living Computer Museum to host and sponsor NSWA’s coming holiday party. I also recruited IV and AAS as party sponsors and helped create a new benefactor membership level to raise funds for additional member events and awards. At the national ScienceWriters conference, I was among those representing NSWA at a congress of regional science writing groups. We gathered many exciting ideas from that exchange for ways to expand the services and events that NSWA offers our members. This has been a good year for NSWA, thanks in large part to the talent and hard work of my fellow board members. I look forward to working with them in 2019 to add even more relevant, challenging, and fun events for science communicators throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Treasurer – Matt Vivion
I’m a Web Marketing Manager for the University of Washington (UW) with a background in science communication. I’ve been NSWA’s treasurer for two years and served as an at-large board member for the previous four years. I joined in 2008, worked as calendar editor in 2009, and redesigned our website in 2010 and 2015.

I currently work for the Center on Reinventing Public Education at UW Bothell, where I develop engaging new formats for research papers traditionally released as PDFs. 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 in the early 2000s. 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 2019 will be to continue refining our online presence and contribute to NSWA’s goal to foster science communication in the Pacific Northwest.

Secretary – Ashley Braun
Roughly five years ago, I decided I was going to become more engaged in the science writing community—my community—here in the Pacific Northwest. Soon I felt the pull to run for this board, which I’ve now served on for three years. That sense of community has been essential to my development from a science writer with NOAA to a freelance science and environmental journalist, and again and again I hear what an amazing community we’ve built here. That was evident this past October when I met with other regional groups like ours at the National Association of Science Writers conference, where I shared NSWA’s ideas, successes, and experiences and spearheaded a discussion on a “brain trust” digital platform where groups can share ideas and templates for events, organizational structure, and more.

Still, I know we have so much more room to grow and improve, and I’m dedicated to making that happen, in part by continuing to make NSWA a more inclusive community. Next year I hope to organize a discussion on decolonizing science and science communication and make our programming more available to those outside the Seattle area. In addition to acting as secretary, in 2018 I again chaired the selection committee for our $1,000 awards for career development travel, and pushed to disperse these funds in two portions, to cover some expenses accrued ahead of time and increase this profession’s accessibility. I also coordinated a Burke Museum fish collection tour and salmon and stormwater green infrastructure tour.

At-Large Board members – candidate statements (vote for 5 candidates)

Wudan Yan

I’m an independent magazine journalist in Seattle reporting on science, health, environment, and human rights in the US and abroad. My work has appeared in Discover, High Country News, Huffington Post, Harper’s, Nature, The New Yorker, Science, STAT, among others.

In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, I felt that the best way for me to keep my head above water was to help those in my direct community, and joined the NSWA board as an at-large board member last year. In the past year, I’ve served on the travel awards committee, helped NSWA maintain its social media presence on Twitter, and set up the November panel on feature writing — one of the most attended events in the last year. In addition, I’ve deepened my ties with local chapters of other groups around Seattle, such as the Solutions Journalism Network, Asian American Journalists Association, and Online News Association. Together, we’re looking forward to bring new programs about diversity to the journalism and writing community in 2019. I hope my continued service can help strengthen the great science writing community here in the Pacific Northwest.

Breanna Draxler
II have had the pleasure of serving on the NSWA board for the past year and would very much appreciate the opportunity to continue contributing my time, energy, and ideas to this great organization.

I am currently an independent science and environment editor who contracts with NationalGeographic.com, Grist, and Knowable, among others. Previously, I was on staff at bioGraphic, Popular Science, and Discover. I have a Master’s degree in science journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I also worked for the Center for Environmental Journalism.

I also serve on the board for the Society of Environmental Journalists, which has provided me with valuable leadership experience and insights into nonprofits. I hope I can apply what I’ve learned there in order to help our NSWA community grow and thrive.

My time on the NSWA board has been really inspiring so far. I have been able to spearhead the membership survey, help organize local events, and assist with the travel grant program. I very much enjoy being able to contribute to the many great opportunities NSWA provides. It would be an honor and a joy to continue doing so.

Elizabeth Sharpe
I’ve been writing about science for more than 15 years at the University of Washington, with stints in bioengineering, genetics and genomics, nursing, and environmental and occupational health sciences. Now, I write for UW Information Technology, which provides technology support to all three campuses, UW medical centers and global research operations.

This past year on the NSWA board, I put together a panel on the art of interviewing at The Seattle Times, where I moderated a lively discussion among four radio and print journalists. In the heat of the summer and fire season, I also helped organize an evening with wildfire researchers at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Fremont. In 2017, I was on the planning committee for the Compelling Science Storytelling conference in Seattle.

It would be an honor to continue to serve on the NSWA board and help plan programs of interest to the science writing community, particularly those focused on topics of interest and craft.

Mark Harris
I’m a freelance investigative science and technology journalist, writing for a broad range of clients including Wired, The Guardian, IEEE Spectrum, New Scientist and MIT Technology Review.

I joined NSWA in 2013 and almost immediately felt right at home. I really value both the professional and social sides of the organization, and feel that it has made me a better journalist, as well as introducing me to people, topics and places I would not otherwise have encountered.

I joined the board last year as a member at-large to pay my experiences forward. I organized the science and art panel in March, exploring the power of art and illustration in science storytelling, and am helping to put together the 2019 annual party at the Living Computer Museum. I am working to arrange a data visualization training event for early 2019. I also managed to secure additional sponsorship for the party and Career Development Awards.

In the year ahead, I’m looking forward to continuing to schedule compelling events for our members, provide useful trainings and other development opportunities, and particularly to find, encourage and welcome new members to the Association.

Carol Morton
I’m an independent journalist in Oregon who has served one term on the NWSA board. My goal on the board is to find ways to extend some of NWSA’s fabulous events in the Seattle area to those of us scattered elsewhere throughout the Pacific Northwest, perhaps via Internet and an event or two in Oregon.

Toward that end, in Oregon this year under the NSWA banner, I organized a health-science workshop at the annual meeting of the state’s Society of Professional Journalists. The workshop featured Oregon-based reporters in print (Markian Hawryluk, Bend Bulletin), television (Matt Zaffino, KGW), and radio (Jane Greenhalgh, NPR). In the next few months, we hope to start a meet up of science writers in the Eugene-Corvallis area. We are building community among science writers and reaching out to other local journalism groups for events in the Portland area. We’ve also expanded the NSWA calendar to include more events in Oregon, such as the many popular science pub series around the state.

For the last 30-plus years, activities with local journalism groups have enriched my life in innumerable ways. I have served on the boards of New England Science Writers, Northern California Science Writers Association, and the National Association of Science Writers. In these roles, I also partnered with other local and national journalism groups to develop and host mid-career professional development and social activities, including workshops on data journalism, blogging, investigative reporting, meet-the-editors, multimedia training, and more.

The NSWA board reflects the best of our profession. Other board members embrace the goal of reaching out beyond Seattle and graciously have accommodated remote attendance at board meetings from this Oregon board member.