A product of Raleigh, NC, Josh writes bio blurbs with casual flair and a knack for subtle self-promotion. Josh graduated from Swarthmore College in 2011, where he majored in English Literature and Astronomy. He then took his talents to the land of acronyms as a Research & Instrument Analyst (RIA) at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), where he helped calibrate the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for NASA (NASA). His non-astronomical interests include oceans, literature, bad movies, fossils, “taking his talents,” and his succulent plants, which he will also take, along with his talents, to MIT.
Christina Couch is a human interest and finance journalist who’s making the transition into science writing. Her writing credentials include work for Wired Magazine, Discover Magazine, The AV Club, Playboy.com, Time Out Chicago and Entrepreneur Magazine and she’s the author of a financial aid guidebook that came out in 2008, but what she’s most proud of is getting to gesture wildly and say “TODAY I INTERVIEWED THE MOST AMAZING PERSON ON EARTH!” to family and friends at least once a week. Christina has spent the last five years living as a permanent traveler and moving to a different city or country roughly every three months (thank you remote work technology). Aside from travel and space and robots (and traveling space robots), Christina’s interests include awkward dancing, indie video games and the first three Die Hard movies.
Michael Greshko grew up in Huntersville, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte. Ever since he first sported a bowl cut—thankfully, many years ago—he’s been interested in both creating and sharing moments of wonder with others, leading him to science, writing, and performance. Michael recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Spanish, and maintaining his schedule was perhaps the biggest wonder of all: Outside of the classroom, he split his time between working in a paleoecology lab, writing award-winning article series for the student newspaper, and performing in student-produced musicals. Needless to say, he’s most comfortable at the nexus of the arts and the sciences, and for this reason among many, he is thrilled to be at MIT this year. Michael is currently orbiting the binary stars of journalism and research science, hoping to live happily on this professional Tatooine as a science communicator and academic. That said, he admits that being a moisture farmer would have its perks.
In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, graphic design, SyFy Channel Original Movies, and hiking. He is also a part-time magician and maintains a respectable playing card collection.
Sarah was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She spent her childhood getting lost in redwoods and stories, collecting wood sorrel and novels, and learning how to identify constellations and split infinitives. Dreading that someday she would have to make a career decision between the sciences or writing, she studied both fields at the University of California, San Diego, where she earned her B.S. in Environmental Systems while taking Revelle College’s rigorous Humanities series and as many writing courses as possible. She has worked in laboratories at UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, learning about bacterial aging, natural sunscreens, neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, marine sponge biochemistry, and what to do when you set the ethanol on fire. These experiences fostered her deep respect and appreciation for scientific research and professional scientists; they have also left her eager to keep studying, supporting, and contributing to the natural and physical sciences. Though her primary interests lie in the areas of environmental and human health, Sarah hopes to explore various fields and interdisciplinary challenges, and to generate a broad dialogue about important, exciting science.
In her free time, Sarah loves to bake, sing, hike, and obsess about Giants baseball.
Cara Giaimo graduated from Amherst College with a double degree in English and Biology, a thesis that attempted to illustrate biological principles using techniques gleaned from experimental literature, and several rescue planarians. They all moved to Boston straight away and have pretty much stayed put. Cara has held (with varying degrees of firmness) jobs in gardening, marketing, farmer’s market hummus-hawking, travel writing, genetic researching, and newspaper delivery. Her professional interests include conservation and its movements, bio- and enviro-ethics, and how different cultures view nature (since we can’t know the reverse); some more leisurely ones are gender theory, electric guitars, and weird ice cream. You can find her writing at Autostraddle, Case Magazine, and the Boston Hassle, and her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @cjgiaimo. If you just can’t find her anywhere, she’s probably on her bike.
Anna spent her childhood amid the black raspberries, creeks, and cornfields of central New York. Though in seventh grade she made a future business card that read “Anna Nowogrodzki, botanist,” she always found the written word as captivating as the natural world. At Dartmouth College, she majored in being out in the woods (Environmental and Evolutionary Biology) and minored in curling up with a good book (English). Post-college, she found purpose in tracking southern pine beetles in the field, editing elementary school science textbooks, studying flower development genes at the New York Botanical Garden, teaching gardening to children in the Bronx, and searching for disease resistance in grapevines at Cornell. In science writing, she is thrilled to have found a field where her inability to shut up about science is actually an asset. Her current interests include agriculture, ecology, plants, why misinformation persists, flawed systems, and how to affect change. She firmly believes in singing with people, goat cheese, mental health advocacy, Excel spreadsheets, and expansive views.
Rachel is a Boston transplant originally from the Bay Area, California. Her love for science started during college at Stanford University with archaeology, anthropology, and osteology, and grew to include infectious diseases, epidemiology, and finally immunology. Her undergraduate thesis investigations into a novel therapeutic pathway for treating multiple sclerosis inspired Rachel to settle on neuroimmunology for her master’s degree research at Harvard, where she studied how the maternal immune environment shapes fetal neurodevelopment. After years of trying to restrict herself to just one -ology, Rachel realized that she didn’t have to: she loves that being a science writer means being able to indulge all of her scientific curiosities, and is thrilled to be a part of MIT’s GPSW Class of 2015. In her free time, Rachel can be found outside, reading, or at the gym lifting things up and putting them down.
Kendra Pierre-Louis hails from Queens, New York. Not only is Queens New York City’s (and arguably the country’s) most homo-diverse borough (county) but this bit of Gotham also teems with biodiversity. In fact, Kendra credits her interest in environmental science, at least in part, to the cicada songs that provided the soundtrack of her childhood and their molted remains that haunted her nightmares. The rest of the credit probably goes to Captain Planet; as a child she watched a lot of television. Kendra believes in being awed and terrified by nature on a semi-regular basis which is probably how she wound up running from a polar bear in the Arctic. Fun fact: polar bears can outrun you. Kendra holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, an M.A. in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute, and a Master Composter Certificate from the Queens Botanical Garden. Kendra is the author of “Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet” (Ig Publishing, 2012). You can also find her writing at In These Times, Newsweek, Modern Farmer, and Slate. You can find Kendra at email@example.com and @kendrawrites on twitter. She also exists in the real world.
Hailing from the suburbs of Boston MA, Catherine first realized she might have an affinity for words when, at age ten, she missed the Grand Canyon because she couldn’t put down her book (ironically, Brighty of the Grand Canyon). One fateful July she was completely sucked into Shark Week, and from there she developed a particular interest in marine biology (along with a particularly intricate color-coded Shark Week viewing schedule). She graduated with a biology degree from Wellesley College, followed by a stint working at the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA where she found it delightfully impossible to escape science talk. Catherine just finished her M.S. at the University of New Hampshire, with the informal title plumber/fish husbandry specialist/molecular biologist/lab technician/lab instructor/writer/editor. She has long suspected that she belongs at the intersection between writing and science, and she is excited to test this theory at MIT. She thinks aquaculture is an evolving industry that more people need to know about, but she plans to throw herself into any and all scientific topics that cross her path.
In her free time, Catherine alternates between total nerd and total jock, which involves podcast listening, Wikipedia scouring, running (preferably after a soccer ball), rock climbing, and explaining the complexities of American football to unsuspecting victims.
One flight, one very long car ride, and one rickety boat trip later, Margaux arrived at a tiny research station island in the Atlantic. She was far from the mountains of Colorado, bitter neighbors New York and New Jersey, and innocuous suburbs of northern Illinois that punctuated her somewhat nomadic youth. Here, among the coral, rays (sun and marine), and mangrove forests, she was drawn to the life sciences. It was in the great snowy north at the University of Minnesota, however, where she took her B.S. in Biology, working underground in neuroscience laboratories and above ground as a volunteer EMT. Margaux developed a keen appreciation for the intersections of science and medicine with media and information literacy in society. Pursuing science communications made sense. Now, after presenting MRI research for Health and Biological Research News, writing a blog for Halo Neuroscience, and teaching chemistry principles to youth (like how to make elephant’s toothpaste), science writing consumes her. Next thing, Margaux was moving to Cambridge, MA, looking forward to eating bona fide Italian food, immersing herself in the local music scene, and probing the mysteries of science within the halls of MIT.
Equally at home chasing salamanders and scrambling to meet a news deadline, Conor Gearin grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. One day, his sixth grade science teacher read from Stephen Jay Gould’s book of essays about evolutionary biology, The Panda’s Thumb. This seemed to bore all present except Gearin, who now seeks to follow in Gould’s footsteps, writing with humor and insight about complex science. Magic School Bus was also a formative inspiration. He earned his B.A. in English and B.S. in Biology from Truman State University, and has worked as a biology research assistant at Washington University in St. Louis (poking fish brains with electrodes and listening) and University of Maine-Orono (taking water samples and pursuing the aforementioned amphibians.) He has research experience in ornithology, ecology, neuroscience and environmental chemistry. He applies this knowledge during occasional birdwatching trips. His poetry and watercolor paintings have appeared in Mochila Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and Phizzog Review. He likes listening to and playing Irish music. He misses the weather in St. Petersburg. Follow him on Twitter @ConorGearin. He blogs at conorsnotebook.blogspot.com.