The San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA) is a growing group of writers, including staff journalists, freelance journalists, public information officers, students and other science communicators in the region.

After several years of dormancy, the San Diego Science Writers Association was relaunched in the summer of 2018. The San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our bylaws are available upon request.

2023-2024 Board Members

  • Nicole Mlynaryk, President
  • Josh Baxt, Vice President
  • Mike Miller, Treasurer and Membership Coordinator
  • Miles Martin, Newsletter Editor
  • Brittany Hook, Website Editor
  • Melissa Miller, Social Media
  • Mario Aguilera
  • Susanne “Clara” Bard
  • Niko Komin

Previous Board Members

  • Xochitl Rojas-Rocha, President, 2022-2023, and Newsletter Editor
  • Monica May, Vice President and SANDSWA Social Justice Club Leader, 2022-2023
  • Mike Price, Treasurer, 2021-2023
  • Laura Trethewey, Membership Coordinator, Book Club Leader, and Newsletter Editor, 2021-2023
  • Nicole Woolcock, Member at Large, 2022-2023
  • Jared Whitlock, Member at Large, 2021-2022
  • Brittany Fair, MS, President, 2021-2022, and Newsletter Editor
  • Patricia Fernandez, MS, Vice President and Newsletter Editor, 2020-2021
  • Jeff Berkwits, Member at Large, 2020-2021
  • Lynne Friedmann, SANDSWA Senior Advisor, 2018-2019
  • Ramin Skibba, PhD, President, 2018-2020
  • Tiffany Fox, Vice President, 2018-2020
  • Josh Baxt, Web Editor, 2018-2020
  • Allie Akmal, Treasurer, 2018-2020
  • Heather Buschman, PhD, Newsletter Editor, 2018-2020
  • Katherine Leitzell, MS, Secretary, 2018-2020
  • Steve Murray, Member at Large, 2018-2020


Beginning in the 1980s, the San Diego Science Writers Association was a loose confederation of science news reporters and university PIOs who met regularly at the 5 o’clock dinner hour – rush-hour traffic was unheard of in those laid-back days. A researcher would be invited to share a sandwich with the scribes at a local eatery and – between bites and passing the mustard – answered questions about his/her research. By the mid-1990s, the group shifted the meetings to a breakfast format for a while and then went quiet for a couple of years.

In 1998, the group reemerged with the sassy acronym SANDSWA and a stated mission to “provides professional networking and social events for science writers in San Diego County.” With a new sense of vigor and purpose, for more than a decade a diverse group of newspaper reporters, radio and TV broadcasters, consumer and trade magazine writers, PIOs, PR professionals, technical writers, and students met on a regular basis at events hosted by virtually every research institute on Torrey Pines Mesa as well as the SD Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Birch Aquarium, and wandered as far afield as the Palomar Observatory. There were even special-interest groups. An example of which was the equestrian-loving “Science Writer Riders.”

In 2007, SANDSWA held a one-day professional development workshop that drew speakers and attendees from throughout Southern California.

SANDWA was relaunched in Summer 2018.

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