About

Hello, nice to meet you virtually.

Some of my backstory…Q & A style:

What are you working on now?

Lots of great projects. I am developing a new online community, and I continue to write about health, travel and create science education programs. And I also help scientists use digital and social media to promote their work and reach the public.

How did you become a journalist?

I learned the skills of a journalist on the job, the old-school way, without formal training or an academic degree in journalism, thanks to patient editors and persistent self-study.

What did you study in school?

My formal academic training was in biomedical sciences, not journalism, culminating in a Master’s at the University of Hawaii. My thesis project focused on identifying molecular markers of drug resistance in the parasites that cause malaria. A key part of the project was maintaining a culture of malaria parasites in the lab, and I literally gave blood weekly for my graduate research. Prior to that, I studied biology, chemistry and anthropology at Boston University, where I earned a B.A.

How did you get started as a writer?

I answered an ad for a science writer at an international astronomical observatory. I worked there for a year, then made the leap to freelance. I started freelancing for an independent newspaper in my hometown, The Haleakala Times, and went on to become a regular contributor to Nature Medicine and Nature. My work has also appeared in Science, Eye on NEIHana Hou!Dog Fancy and The New York Times.

I also author two popular news sites:3-Minute Vacationcovers travel and news about Maui and Hawaii; andThe Daily Smelltransforms the olfactory experience into voice and community.

How have you grown in your career?

By embracing technology and my inner geek! I love to use digital and social media in my work, and I am fascinated by the direct engagement and community creation now possible with these tools.

I also have continued to develop and hone my reporting and writing skills by participating in workshops and conferences. For example, in 2010 I attended three major events: the Santa Fe Science Writers’ Workshop, the first-ever Future of Freelance conference and that National Association of Science Writers’ annual conference. I also took an online course in advanced essay writing from Mediabistro.com . From all of these activities I gained valuable contacts, feedback and expanded the scope of my work.

Which awards have you won?

I don’t spend a lot of time applying for awards; I’d rather write. In 2011 I won a fellowship to the Knight Digital Media Center on the campus of UC Berekely and NASW’s Career Grant to develop a digital media project. Prior to that I was a CASW fellow in 2008, and in graduate school, I won a graduate assistantship and a research grant from the National Institute’s for Health for my work on malaria.

Thanks for reading.

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