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.
- Ramin Skibba (President)
Ramin is an astrophysicist turned science writer and freelance journalist. You can find him on his website, on Twitter, or on his newsletter, Ramin’s Space.
- Tiffany Fox (Vice President)
Tiffany is Communications Manager for the UC San Diego Department of Surgery and a past Public Information Officer for the UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute. Twice per year she co-teaches Science Writing I through UC San Diego Extension. She is also a freelance editor and journalist and writes a science communication newsletter, Research Refined. You can also find her on Twitter.
- Josh Baxt (Web Editor)
Josh writes about biomedical research for anyone who will pay him. Is he being indiscriminate? Probably. But it’s also an addiction.
- Allie Akmal (Treasurer)
- Heather Buschman (Newsletter editor)
- Katherine Leitzell (Secretary)
Katherine is a former neuroscience grad student who followed her broad interests out of the lab and into the realms of climate, sustainability, and ocean science. She now leads communications for California Sea Grant.
- Bruce Lieberman (Event coordinator)
- Steve Murray
SANDSWA Senior Advisor: Lynne Friedmann
Lynne has been a science writer/editor for more than 30 years. As a teacher/lecturer, she has trained hundreds to become successful science writers.
Here’s some SANDSWA history, courtesy of Lynne.
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