Our People

SciLine is led by a director with decades of experience at the intersection of science, journalism, and public affairs. We are staffed by experienced scientists, communicators, reporters, and technologists. Our volunteer Advisory Board, comprising journalists, scientists, and communications professionals, regularly advises SciLine on strategy and operational issues and provides guidance in support of our commitment to accuracy, quality, and impartiality.


Rick Weiss


Rick founded SciLine in 2017 in response to changes in the journalism landscape that saw a loss of specialty science reporters from many local newsrooms and a need to help local and general assignment reporters integrate more research-backed evidence into their reporting. He has more than three decades of experience in journalism and media affairs, including 15 years as a science reporter at The Washington Post, where he wrote more than 1,000 news and feature articles about the economic, societal, and ethical implications of advances in science and technology. He has led science and technology strategic communications operations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including within the White House and the Department of Defense. Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sara Brinda

Local media outreach manager

Sara is a science communications professional who leads SciLine’s outreach to local journalists, with an emphasis on local TV news. She works on projects—including SciLine’s Experts on Camera—to help busy local and general assignment reporters easily and conveniently connect with expert sources and include science in their stories. Previously, she served in strategic communications roles in nonprofit and academic settings, most recently at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Prior to her communications career, she held a research fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, where she studied fruit fly chromosomes. Sara attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she earned a B.A. in biology, with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.

Hilary Crichton

Visiting scientist outreach specialist

Hilary has a background in chemistry and has long appreciated public scientific outreach. At SciLine she helps facilitate the Expert Matching service connecting journalists with scientists. Prior to joining SciLine, Hilary was an academic journal editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Nature Materials, and Wiley, covering a range of topics across the physical and life sciences. Hilary earned an MChem in chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and completed a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Heriot-Watt University, where she had fun firing lasers at gas to study the forces that act between atoms and molecules when they collide.

Lane Ebrill

Operations manager

Lane is an accounting and program management professional leading the operations side of SciLine. With over a decade of experience working within nonprofit organizations, Lane is here to keep SciLine running smoothly and efficiently. Lane works behind the scenes, serving as SciLine’s internal communications hub to keep everyone on the team connected, coordinated, and organized. Additionally, Lane writes and manages SciLine’s budget and contracts; organizes and hosts in-person and virtual events; edits videos; and maintains SciLine’s website. Prior to joining SciLine, Lane worked as an accounting manager at the American Physical Therapy Association. Lane has a B.A. from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and double majored in cultural anthropology and studio art.

Karl Eisenhower

Managing editor

Karl brings to SciLine extensive experience in public policy, editing, and the technology of publishing. In addition to his editing duties as managing editor, he manages the development and maintenance of key technologies for the team, including database and web publishing systems. Before joining SciLine, Karl was the communications director at the Alliance for Health Policy, the health editor at RealClear Media Group, and a senior web editor at Kaiser Health News. He also served as new media strategy editor at National Journal and as assistant managing editor for newsroom operations at washingtonpost.com. Karl has a B.A. in political science from the College of Wooster and did graduate-level studies in political science at Duke University.

Becky Elmuccio

Marketing manager

Becky is a marketing professional with an extensive background in digital marketing and analytics for non-profit organizations and academic publishers. At SciLine, she builds brand awareness and facilitates growth in demand across SciLine’s full spectrum of services, which already engages thousands of U.S. journalists and North America-based scientists. Prior to this role, she was the social media manager at Princeton University Press for over three years and has worked in digital marketing for over ten years. Becky received her bachelor’s degree in U.S. history, as well as a certificate in teacher preparation from Princeton University and her master’s degree in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tori Espensen

Scientific outreach manager

Tori is a neuroscientist and science communicator with a background studying how the brain functions in severe mental disorders. She completed both a Ph.D. in biological psychopathology and a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and has written about science as a blogger, journalist, and scriptwriter. In her role as scientific outreach manager, Tori applies her scientific and communications expertise to finding interview-ready scientists to connect with journalists looking for expert sources. She also leads the curriculum development and instruction of workshops aimed at increasing journalists’ understanding of science and their comfort with incorporating scientific evidence into news stories.

Becky Hazen

Deputy director for news & operations

Becky is a public affairs strategist and speechwriter with more than a decade of experience in the science, health, and environment space. At SciLine, she oversees the team that works directly with journalists to support their day-to-day reporting needs. This includes rapid response to on-deadline requests for sources, facilitation of on-camera interviews with experts, and outreach to the journalism community about events, resources, and training opportunities. Previously, Becky served in various communications roles in the federal executive branch, including deputy director of strategic communications at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and director of speechwriting at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most recently, she was the chief speechwriter at Children’s National Health System. Becky has a B.A. in environmental policy, an M.A. in earth & environmental science, and an M.S. in journalism, all from Columbia University.

Mags M. McLaughlin

Data analysis intern

Mags is a data scientist and budding astronomer who enjoys sharing their excitement about science with others. As an intern at SciLine, Mags supports projects to understand the experiences of journalists and scientists using SciLine’s matching services. Before joining SciLine, Mags worked as a Data Science Corps fellow studying survey design and analysis, in addition to researching how social advocacy shapes federal government datasets. Mags studies statistical and data sciences and astronomy at Smith College, where they will graduate with a B.A. in 2025.

Emily Mueller

Scientific outreach manager

Emily is a chemist with a background in polymer science and a passion for science communication. In her role as scientific outreach manager at SciLine, Emily works to connect scientists with journalists who seek technical experts on deadline. Prior to working at SciLine, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where she studied additives that help flexible solar cells last longer. There she also led science communication training for graduate students and postdocs, and she wrote about science research, education, outreach, and her graduate student experiences for various outlets.

Elena Renken

Manager, journalism projects & multimedia

Elena is a writer and editor focused on science. At SciLine, she works with journalists to provide them with scientific expertise and information. She leads SciLine’s research and production of Quick Facts, which offer background on science topics in the news, and manages SciLine’s region-specific initiatives to reach more journalists with offerings tailored to their reporting needs. She also directs SciLine’s multimedia strategy, including producing video clips for journalists’ use, and organizes on-camera interviews between scientists and journalists as part of SciLine’s Experts on Camera program. Elena earned a degree in science, technology, and society at Brown University, and her work has been published by NPR, Quanta Magazine, Nautilus, and PBS “NOVA”, among other national and local outlets.

Alana Rios

Program associate, operations and digital support

Alana is an administrative and program management professional. She works on the operations side of SciLine, including performing a variety of administrative functions and technical tasks ranging from accounting and billing to event support. Additionally, Alana manages and documents the news stories produced by users of SciLine’s services to track and understand SciLine’s impact. Prior to this role, she was the administrative coordinator at the Schwartz Communication Institute at Baruch College for over three years. Alana received her B.A. in biology from Manhattan College, with minors in chemistry and psychology.

Andrew Saintsing

Experts on Camera intern

Andrew recently earned a Ph.D. from the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. This summer he will be an intern working on SciLine’s Experts on Camera project. During his time in graduate school, he found a variety of opportunities to practice science journalism. He wrote and edited for a graduate-student-run magazine called Berkeley Science Review, he interviewed other graduate students about their research on a radio talk show called “The Graduates,” and he blogged for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. He has just completed an Audio Academy Fellowship at KALW Public Radio in San Francisco, and he is continuing to contribute Outside JEB articles to the Journal of Experimental Biology. After this summer, he plans to apply the skills and knowledge he gains during the internship towards a career in science journalism.

Taylor Seitz

Visiting scientist outreach specialist

Taylor is a biologist with a background in environmental microbiology and a love for teaching others about science. At SciLine, Taylor supports the Expert Matching service, where she helps facilitate connections between journalists and scientific experts. Before working at SciLine, Taylor lived up north in Alaska, where she studied science pedagogy and researched the interaction between climate change, plant growth, and soil microbiomes in boreal forests. During the time she spent digging up soil in the forest and teaching people science and math, Taylor earned a B.S. and an M.S. in biological science, both from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Sara Whitlock

Scientific outreach manager

Sara is a biologist with a background in synthetic biology and microbiology who is excited about scientific storytelling. She interacts with scientists on a variety of opportunities related to SciLine’s services for print journalists—editing and producing Quotes from Experts, facilitating expert review of Quick Facts, working with scientists to pitch the stories they submit to the Tip Line, and connecting scientists with interview opportunities on deadline. Before landing at SciLine, she bounced around the country designing antimicrobial peptides, studying a flu-like disease called Q fever, and tackling HIV replication. These experiences led her to earn an M.S. in biophysics & structural biology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied how bacteria organize their insides. While elbow deep in bacterial cultures, Sara wrote about research and her experiences as a graduate student for STAT News, Pitt Med Magazine, and Scientific American.

Mohamed Yakub

Scientific outreach manager

Mohamed is a biologist with a background in evolutionary ecology and plant genetics and a deep commitment to science outreach and education. At SciLine, Mohamed serves as a liaison with scientists when connecting them with reporters on deadline. He also leads SciLine’s production of Media Briefings, overseeing topic development, speaker selection, and event coordination. Prior to joining SciLine, Mohamed was the science outreach and education coordinator at the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. He created and launched Market Science, an outreach initiative through which graduate students host hands-on booths at local farmers markets to share their scientific expertise with market-goers. Mohamed earned his Ph.D. in plant biological sciences at the University of Minnesota, where his research was on characterizing effects of urban heat islands on the evolution of plant growth and development.

Advisory Board

Nsikan Akpan

Health & science editor, New York Public Radio

Nsikan Akpan is the health & science editor at New York Public Radio (WNYC/Gothamist). Nsikan was previously at National Geographic where he worked as the science editor, overseeing COVID-19 coverage in addition to other types of science, health and technology news. Before National Geographic, he worked for more than four years at PBS NewsHour, where he co-created an award-winning video series named “ScienceScope.” He shared a 2020 Emmy for the PBS NewsHour series “Stopping a Killer Pandemic” and in 2019 received a George Foster Peabody Award for the PBS NewsHour series “The Plastic Problem.” Nsikan has also worked for NPR, Science News, Science, KUSP Central Coast Public Radio, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and as a writer at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. He holds a doctorate in pathobiology from Columbia University and is an alum of the science communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Tracy Day

Co-founder & CEO, World Science Festival

Tracy Day serves as CEO of the World Science Foundation, overseeing the creative and programmatic offerings of the World Science Festival and producing original theatrical, musical, and multimedia works at the intersection of science and art.  She is a four-time National News Emmy award-winning journalist and has produced live and documentary programming for the nation’s preeminent television news divisions for over two decades.

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux

Professor of climatology, University of Vermont; Vermont State Climatologist

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux is a professor of climatology in the Department of Geography at the University of Vermont. Her work sits at the nexus of hydroclimate hazards of flooding and droughts, climate variability and change, and the use of geospatial technologies. As the state climatologist for Vermont, she engages directly with community groups, K-12 schools, state legislators, federal and state agencies, and national climate organizations. She is currently serving on the Vermont Climate Council to assist in the creation of its Climate Action Plan. She is also the president of the American Association of State Climatologists and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Maggie Fox

Former CNN senior health editor and Reuters global health and science editor

Maggie Fox’s passion is writing what’s true about medicine and science. She is a journalist with more than 35 years’ experience in reporting from around the world and has been focused on health and science for more than 20 of those years, focusing on simple, straightforward explanatory journalism and telling stories. For Maggie, it’s all about the people, and it’s all about making it clear. She is a former senior editor at CNN Health, the former senior writer for NBC News, former global health and science editor for Reuters, and former health care and technology editor for National Journal.

S. James Gates Jr.

Ford Foundation Professor of Physics and affiliate professor of mathematics, Brown University

Sylvester James “Jim” Gates Jr. is an award-winning American theoretical physicist. He is a Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University and College Park Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, and he is president of the American Physical Society. He has authored over 200 scientific publications and has been featured in several popular physics documentaries, including: “The Elegant Universe,” “Fabric of the Cosmos,” and “The Hunt for the Higgs.” Jim co-wrote Superspace, the first comprehensive book about supersymmetry, and was the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major U.S. research university.

Margaret Hamburg

Former commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg is an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine. She has devoted most of her career to public service, including such significant roles as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health commissioner for New York City, and assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Hamburg is past-president and former board chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Laura Helmuth

Editor-in-chief, Scientific American

Laura Helmuth is the editor-in-chief of Scientific American and a past president of the National Association of Science Writers. She has previously worked as an editor for The Washington PostNational GeographicSlateSmithsonian, and Science magazines. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley.

Bill Manny

Documentary writer/producer, Idaho Public Television

Bill Manny a writer/producer for Idaho Public Television’s documentary series, “Idaho Experience.” He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, D.C. He is a bicyclist, backpacker, and peak-bagger, and he is past president of Boise City Club. He lives in Boise, Idaho.

Kathryn Murdoch

Co-founder and president, Quadrivium Foundation

Kathryn Murdoch is co-founder and president of the Quadrivium Foundation, which supports practical, evidence-based solutions to societal problems. She is an advocate for improving science communications and is a trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Central and is co-chair of Unite America and the Climate Leadership Council.

Dietram Scheufele

Professor of science communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dietram A. Scheufele is the Taylor-Bascom Chair in Science Communication and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering, a lifetime associate of the National Research Council, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Communication Association, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. His consulting experience includes work for DeepMind, Porter Novelli, PBS, WHO, and the World Bank.

Mark Schleifstein

Environment reporter, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate

Mark Schleifstein is the environment and hurricane reporter for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate and a leader of its Louisiana coastal reporting Team. Schleifstein’s reporting on Katrina was among the newspaper’s stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting. He’s the co-author with John McQuaid of the book Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms, about Katrina. He also was co-author of the 1996 series, “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?”, which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Natalie Stroud

Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Former Advisory Board Members

Alan Alda

Actor, writer, and visiting professor, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University

Alan Alda is an actor, writer, and co-founder of The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where he is a visiting professor. The Center has trained nearly 10,000 scientists in improv-based communications skills in the United States and abroad since its inception in 2009.

Nancy Baron

Director of science outreach, COMPASS Science Communication

Nancy Baron leads communication workshops for environmental scientists in academia, government, and non-governmental organizations for COMPASS. She guides scientists on how to engage in society’s conversations and to make their research more relevant to journalists, policy makers, and the public. Her practical communications book, Escape from the Ivory Tower: A guide to making your science matter, is widely used by environmental scientists. Nancy received the 2013 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in the Media for her work at the intersection of science and journalism. Since COVID-19 curtailed travel, she has been enjoying writing a local newspaper column called “In the Naturehood,” communicating science locally, as well as working with scientists  virtually, around the world. She is an adviser to the Liber Ero Fellows and Sitka Foundation in Canada.

Geneva Overholser

Independent journalist; senior fellow, Democracy Fund

Geneva Overholser is a longtime newspaperwoman (The New York Times editorial board, The Washington Post ombudsman, editor of the Des Moines Register) whose last full-time gig was running the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  She now serves on boards (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, Rita Allen Foundation, Northwestern University in Qatar) and advises Democracy Fund, Report for America, Trust Project, and American Academy of Arts & Sciences Public Face of Science.

Kathleen Richardson

Dean, Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Kathleen Richardson is the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to earning her law degree and entering academia, Richardson worked at The Des Moines Register for 20 years in a variety of newsroom jobs, including news editor and columnist. She was the executive director of the non-profit Iowa Freedom of Information Council for 15 years. She was also a founding member of the Iowa Public Information Board, a state agency that helps enforce the open-government laws. She serves on several Iowa Newspaper Foundation committees.

Arvind Suresh

Director of communications, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Arvind Suresh is the director of communications at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh. A scientist turned communicator, he previously worked in public relations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. He also helped run the Genetic Experts News Service, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that connected reporters with experts on genetics and biotechnology issues, and he served as managing editor for SciStarter, a citizen science platform. Arvind holds a master’s degree in cell biology from the University of Pittsburgh and conducted graduate research in molecular physiology at Pitt’s School of Medicine.