Student Profiles | SHERP 28

Ariel Bleicher earned a B.A. in mathematics and comparative world literature from Scripps College. In pursuit of adventure, she moved to Alaska, where she freelanced for the Arctic Regions Supercomputing Center, explored glacier caves for the Anchorage Press, and endured the long winters by climbing in the Alaska Range. Before joining SHERP, she spent six months in Oregon interning at Portland Monthly magazine and hanging out in coffee shops reading Nature and The New Yorker.

Michael Glenn Easter holds a B.A. from Wheaton College, where he created an independent major that investigated politics, economics, and science; he is particularly interested in writing about the intersection of those three topics. A Utah native, he spends spare time having fun with his friends, family, dog Benny, and mountain bike Janeen. Michael is excited to trade the mountains of Utah for skyscrapers of New York. However, he refuses to root for the Yankees.

Emily Elert graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English literature and earth sciences. After college, she taught those subjects as a New York City Teaching Fellow and got an M.S. in high school education. In 2008 she bicycled across the country, saw some amazing geology and met some amazing people. In the evenings, she wrote. When she got back to NYC, she started writing about science, and applied to SHERP.

Joanna Foster recently graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in ecology and evolutionary biology. While at Princeton, she spent three months in Kenya learning field research techniques, including the best way to accurately age elephant dung. She has since returned to East Africa where she spent the last year traveling and working for various environmental organizations. Her primary intellectual interests include animal behavior and the ethics and economics of conservation.

Zach Gottlieb holds a B.A. in neuroscience from Skidmore College. He spent the past year working at the Rockefeller University, where he helped study the genetics of neurodegenerative disease. Seeking to analyze and understand science beyond the scope of bench work, Zach started writing for Natural Selections, an unofficial Rockefeller newsletter. He is excited to further his journalistic pursuit at SHERP, and hopes to help demystify science's complex discoveries through his writing and reporting.

Mara Grunbaum grew up poking at tidepools in Seattle. She earned a B.A. in English with a minor in environmental science from NYU, and her first attempt at merging her interests - an honors thesis involving Virginia Woolf and Albert Einstein - hooked her on the idea of translating science into stories. After two years reporting local news for independent media in Portland, she's excited to jump into the science beat at SHERP.

Ferris Jabr has a B.S. from Tufts University, where he double majored in psychology and English. As an undergraduate he worked at the Interpersonal Perception and Communication Laboratory, contributed to The Tufts Daily, and explored consciousness in fiction through a capstone writing project. He further pursued his interest in uniting science and the humanities with internships at Psychology Today and the PBS show NOVA. Ferris is excited to continue training in professional science communication.

Alyson Kenward completed her B.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Calgary. While doing academic research at her bench, she found herself fascinated with how research is communicated and justified to the public. Wanting to couple her love of storytelling with her shameless delight in all things science-related, she has permanently traded her lab coat for her laptop. She is ecstatic that her transition into science journalism has led her to SHERP.

Olivia Koski joins SHERP from MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, where she was a visiting researcher for a large defense contractor working on a laser program she can't really talk about (or else, you know...). While she loves playing around with lasers, she is excited to pursue her passion for bringing science to the public. She holds a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in Germanic studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Alex Liu studied toxicology at the University of California at Berkeley and then spent three years developing oncology medication at Genentech. He also worked as an organizer in the San Francisco LGBT community. With his SHERP training, he hopes to bridge the gap between science and public policy. In his free time he enjoys powering through seasons of television shows, traveling, rooting for Oakland sports teams, and stepping out onto the dance floor.

Mike Orcutt's fascination with life science is almost as old as he is. It started with dinosaur pop-up books, and by the time he collected his B.A. in biology from Whitman College it had evolved into a fundamental passion for scientific thought and discourse. After graduation, formative work experiences in healthcare and politics focused his attention on the media. He comes to NYU determined to learn how to make urgent scientific concepts resonate with non-scientists.

Kathryn Peek is a scientist by nature, an astronomer by training, and a recent convert to the creative power of journalism. She holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, where she investigated extrasolar planets and the Milky Way's chemical evolution, but where writing and editing for the Berkeley Science Review magazine coaxed her away from the observatory. She enjoys applying the scientific method in unlikely places, like breakfast.

Valerie Ross has a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University, where she also completed a minor in poetry. She has worked as a research assistant in cognitive neuroscience labs at Stanford and the University of Illinois. Eager to keep up with new research but disappointed that alliteration goes largely unappreciated in academic journals, Valerie is looking forward to bringing together her scientific and syntactical interests at SHERP.

Anna Rothschild graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in biology. For the past two years she has worked in a comparative genomics lab at the American Museum of Natural History, where she conducted conservation research on caviar and humpback whales. Through her research experiences, Anna has learned that her passion for the story of science overshadows her fondness for pipetting. She once spent a summer lassoing lizards and testing their blood for malaria.

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