Upcoming events

SANDSWA Exclusive Events


When: Wednesday Oct 27, 5:30-6:30 pm
Where: Kate Sessions Park*

*Meeting held on the grass behind the washrooms at the Kate Sessions main parking lot. Bring a blanket!

Book: Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life

Come join the SANDSWA book club as we dive into the award-winning Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures by biologist and writer Merlin Sheldrake.

When we think of fungi, we probably think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. Sheldrake’s mind-bending journey into this hidden world ranges from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that sprawl for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – are changing our understanding of how life works.

NSWA + SANDSWA Trivia Night

When: Thursday, October 28th, from 6pm-7pm
Where: Zoom

Meeting ID: 838 0235 1918

Passcode: 991424

Join the NSWA and SANDSWA for a night of fun, science-based trivia on Thursday, October 28th!

SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing Club

When: Wednesday, November 17th, from 6pm-7pm
Where: Zoom Registration

Join us for this bimonthly gathering where we listen, learn and support each other as we strive to make science writing more equitable and just. At this meeting we’ll discuss “The Photographer’s Guide to Inclusive Photography” by Authority Collective, a group of more than 200 womxn, non-binary and gender expansive people of color working in the photography, film and VR/AR industries, and PhotoShelter, a digital asset management tool. We’ll also continue to share what has been working well for us and anything with which we may be struggling. Please read the article in advance of the meeting.  

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, speakers or educational materials, contact SANDSWA board member Monica May at

Around Virtual Town

Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE)
DBEI Symposium

When: October 12-22, 2021
Where: Online.


IRE is hosting its first symposium online October 21-22 focusing on diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion (DBEI) issues for newsrooms.

The symposium will focus on helping journalists with newsroom diversity issues and with investigating inequality in their communities, from education and health care to housing and climate change.

Kavli Conversations on Science Communication

When: Recurring
More information
Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU

Sunday Sci Wri

Sundays (recurring)
Prompted by Ben Landis from CapSciComm: For fellow writers in need of a fun, no-pressure reason to pen something creatively, join us!

Past Events


When: Wednesday, August 11, 2021 from 6:30-8pm
Where: Amplified Aleworks + Brewery in Pacific Beach, 4150 Mission Blvd #208, San Diego (in-person event)

Book: Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (2000 edition)

In SANDSWA’s first in-person book club since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll discuss renowned sci-fi writer Octavia E. Butler’s classic dystopian novel, Parable of the Sower. Originally published in 1993, Butler’s strangely prescient sci-fi trilogy takes place in a dystopic climate-change ravaged Southern California of 2025.

Summary: In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing Club

When: Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 6pm-7pm
Where: Zoom Registration

Join us for this once-a-month gathering where we listen, learn and support each other as we strive to make science writing more equitable and just. At this meeting we’ll discuss what has been working well for us, anything we may be struggling with, and share thoughts and reactions to this month’s reading.

This meeting will center on the “Conscious Style Guide” website. Please review the website in advance of the meeting.If you have questions or suggestions for topics, speakers or educational materials, contact SANDSWA board member Monica May at

SANDSWA Happy Hour

When: Thursday, July 15, 2021 from 5:30-7pm 
Where: AleSmith Brewing Company, 9990 AleSmith Ct, San Diego, CA 92126

Join SANDSWA for the first in-person happy hour in over a year! We’ll be meeting at AleSmith (which offers plenty of outdoor seating) for friendly conversation and networking. 

Becoming an Ally to the LGBTQIA+ Community

When: Friday, June 25, from 2-4 pm
Where: Zoom

Wesley Paláu (They/Them/Their (English), Élle (Spanish)), assistant director of equity and inclusion at the Pride Center at San Diego State University, will lead a SafeZones training at the next meeting of the Social Justice in Science Writing club. This session is designed to train allies who help create an accepting and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning individuals.

Please register as soon as you can—we will close registration one week prior to the event to ensure we have an accurate sense of attendance. Note the process will take approximately two hours.

In preparation for this conversation, please read the Open Notebook article, “Making Your Writing and Reporting Transgender-Inclusive.”

The training is very generously being offered free of charge. To express our gratitude, we encourage donations to The Pride Center Community Care Fund, which helps students who have been through difficult, life-altering situations as a result of coming out as or for being LGBTQ+. Students who have experienced these situations have also expressed financial hardship, risking their ability to be academically successful. A $20 donation is suggested, but any amount is greatly appreciated. 


When: Wednesday, June 2 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Where: Zoom. Register here:

Ainissa Ramirez’s The Alchemy of Us (MIT Press, 2020)

In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway’s writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track Black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies.

SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing Club

A conversation about DEIR with Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) 

When: Friday, April 23, from 2pm-3pm PT
Where: Zoom

Jessica H. Marshall, Ph.D., (she/her/hers), a science news editor at C&EN and member of the publication’s diversity committee, will join our next Social Justice in Science Writing club meeting and share insights into the publication’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) efforts. Jessica will first discuss tactics the outlet has implemented and lessons learned from the process, and then we’ll open the floor for questions.

In preparation for this conversation, please read the publication’s recent Trailblazers issue, which celebrates Black chemists and chemical engineers and was also fully written and produced by Black writers and communicators.

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, speakers or educational materials that may be helpful, contact SANDSWA board member Monica May at

SANDSWA x SDSU Webinar: Decolonizing Science Writing

When: Thursday, December 3, 12:00-1:00pm
Where: Online: Watch the recording

The eventful year of 2020 has brought with it a reminder of stark racial inequalities and injustices persistent in our society, as well as widespread demands to address them. For science writers, that means taking more care while deciding what stories to write, how to frame them, and which people to highlight in them. This could mean paying close attention to the disproportionate impacts of, say, air pollution or a public health measure on Black, Latinx or Indigenous people. It could also mean amplifying the voices of people of color who play leading roles in newsworthy scientific research. In this webinar, speakers Jane Hu, Shalina Chatlani, Jerry McCormick and David Coddon talked about their experience and recommendations involving these issues, followed by time for discussions and questions.

Ramin Skibba, President of San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA) and an astrophysicist turned science writer and freelance journalist based in San Diego.

Prof. Amy Schmitz Weiss, School of Journalism and Media Studies, SDSU

Jane C. Hu is a freelance journalist living in Seattle. She is a contributing editor at High Country News and a regular contributor to Slate.

Jerry McCormick is an Emmy-winning producer and communications professional with 30 years of combined experience in broadcast, print journalism, and public relations. He is lecturer at the School of Journalism and Media Studies at SDSU. He also works as a Senior Public Information Officer for the City of San Diego.

Shalina Chatlani covers science and technology for KPBS. Her beat includes issues ranging from alternative energy to STEM education.

David Coddon is a longtime lecturer in journalism at San Diego State University.

This webinar is made possible by the San Diego Science Writers Association and the Center for Science and Media at SDSU in the School of Journalism and Media Studies.

SANDSWA Book Club: The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin

When: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 6:30-8pm
Where: Google Meets:

A classic science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest writers of the genre, set in a future world where one man’s dreams control the fate of humanity.

Panel: The Science of Plastics in our Oceans

When: Tuesday, November 10th, 5:00pm
Where: Virtual (watch your email for an invitation)
Join local scientists Jennifer Brandon and Theresa Talley as they speak about their research examining the effects of plastics in our oceans. 

SANDSWA + Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA) Joint Happy Hour 

When: Wednesday, October 28th at 5:30pm
Where: Check your email for Zoom link

The Science of Cheese

When: Wednesday, October 7th,
Where: Virtual
Join Jenny Eastwood from Smallgoods Cheese Shop & Cafe for cheese-tasting and exploring the science behind cheese from the comfort of your home!


When: September 15, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Google Meets or email Jenn MacArthur for a calendar invite
Join us for a discussion of Deep Medicine, in which local physician-author Eric Topolshares how artificial intelligence will empower physicians and revolutionize patient care.

SANDSWA Happy Hour 

When: Wednesday, September 23rd, 5:00pm
Where: Zoom
With special guest Emily Anthes, an award-winning science journalist and author.

SANDSWA + SoCal Science Writers Virtual Happy Hour 

Tuesday, June 23 @ 5 p.m.

This was first joint virtual happy hour with the SoCal Science Writers group.

Members only:
Virtual SANDSWA Happy Hour

May 14, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
SANDSWA Virtual Happy Hour
Join us for Virtual Happy Hour hosted by board member Josh Baxt!
Members Only: For the Zoom link and password please check your email.

SANDSWA Book Club: The Emperor of All Maladies

May 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Google Meets Link or email Jeff Berkwits for a calendar invite at

What: Virtual Happy Hour
When: April 2, 5-6pm
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free – BYO drink & snacks
Members Only: Zoom

SANDSWA Happy Hour

What: Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar—Climate Change Edition
When: March 10, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Pure Project Brewing
2865 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Cost: Food and drink available for purchase

For this happy hour, we’re attending Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar, a popular outreach program led by the Fleet Science Center. This special edition, organized by SANDSWA member Alison Caldwell, PhD, Bigelow Science Communication Fellow at UC San Diego, will focus on climate change. Chat with local UC San Diego experts to learn about the many obvious and not-so-obvious ways climate change will likely touch all our lives — everything from more extreme natural disasters to health issues, water quality concerns and even financial impacts — and what we can do about it.

Bonus happy hour: If you can’t join SANDSWA for the Climate Change Edition, check out a nearby location on March 12 for Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar—Celebrating Women in STEM Edition.
Learn more here

May 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
SANDSWA Book Club: The Emperor of All Maladies
Cutwater Spirits

SANDSWA Members Only: San Diego Zoo Institution for Conservation Research Tour

When: Friday, February 21, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Institute for Conservation Research
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15600 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, CA 92027
Cost: Free for SANDSWA members

The San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research is giving up to 20 SANDSWA members a unique opportunity to tour its Escondido facility. Learn about conservation genetics, reproductive science, recovery ecology and much more. Parking is extremely limited, and we strongly encourage carpools.
Please RSVP here to attend

SANDSWA Member Book Signing

When: December 5, 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Book Catapult
3010-B Juniper St.
San Diego, CA 92104

Meet SANDSWA member Laura Trethewey and hear about her new book, The Imperiled Ocean: Human Stories from a Changing SeaIn this deeply reported work of narrative journalism, Laura follows people as they head out to sea, uncovering inspiring and dire lessons for the life of the ocean and for all of us back on land.

December Happy Hour

When: December 10
Where: AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Court (off Miramar Rd.)
San Diego, CA 92126
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Food and drink available for purchase
RSVP via Facebook Event

Come on out to our last event of the year! Everyone working in or even just interested in science writing and communication is welcome. Bring a friend or colleague.
Wear your SANDSWA gear for a chance to win.

SANDSWA shirts, mugs and more are now available in our online store. Order your items now, wear/bring them at the December 10 happy hour and you’ll be entered in a raffle for a free, one-year membership ($25 value). All proceeds help support SANDSWA events!

Celebration of Life for Bradley Fikes

When: December 12, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Ted Williams Room
Marriott Residence Inn
900 Bayfront Court, San Diego

Everyone is welcome to join us in celebrating the life of Bradley Fikes, San Diego Union-Tribune biotech reporter, who died November 20. Read more about Bradley’s life and work in this tribute written by his colleagues.


When: Tuesday Dec 3, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Where: Board & Brew

SAVE THE DATE for the next San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA) book club. We’re reading/discussing “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh” by Carl Zimmer.

October Happy Hour

When: October 15, 5-7pm
Where: Alesmith, 9990 AleSmith Ct, San Diego, CA 92126

Meet the nominees for the 2020-2022 SANDSWA Board!

SANDSWA Board Election

When: November 4-8
Where: Online

It’s time to expand SANDSWA’s Board with up to five additional members, each serving a two-year term. The existing board will stay on for one more year to guide the transition. Our goal is to include new, diverse voices and build a pipeline for succession that will ensure the group’s long-term success. The nomination form includes the requirements to run and expectations of service. Once the new board is elected and seated, they will hold internal elections for specific positions.


When: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Where: Quantum Brewing
5375 Kearny Villa Rd. #116
San Diego, CA 92123
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Book: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
View Facebook Event

In this third meeting of the SANDSWA book club, we discussed Bad Blood, which offers the “full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes.”

Palomar Observatory Tour

When: Saturday, July 20, 2019
Arrive by 9:30 a.m. for tour 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: 35899 Canfield Rd.
Palomar Mountain, CA 92060

Palomar Observatory, located atop Palomar Mountain in north San Diego County, is a center of astronomical research owned and operated by Caltech. We will tour the Observatory, home to three active research telescopes, with UC San Diego astrophysicist Tom Murphy, who spent many a sleepless night there as a Caltech graduate student. Our tour will center on the 200-inch telescope inside the dome, and will include a walk around the outside catwalk, a review of Palomar‘s history, and a viewing of the drawings of Russell Porter(1871-1949), a member of the design team for the telescope, who is also widely recognized as a leader in the amateur telescope-making movement.

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at Salk

When: September 7, 2019, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Where: The Salk Institute
10010 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037

Only 17.7 percent of English Wikipedia biographies feature women. This number has increased by 2.7 percent in the past five years largely due to Wikipedia edit-a-thons – events in which participants work together to create and edit Wikipedia pages for notable women. These efforts increase the number of female role models.

This edit-a-thon, co-hosted by Salk Institute for Biological Studies, SAID in STEM500 Women Scientists – San Diego and San Diego Science Writers Association, focused on creating and improving Wikipedia pages for women scientists.


When: June 12, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Subterranean Coffee Boutique Hillcrest
412 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Book:Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs by David Grimm
RSVP: Email Mike Price

Southern California Science Writers Symposium 2019

When: Saturday, May 18, 2019, 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: University of Southern California (USC)
Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience
1002 Childs Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: $50 (discounted for volunteers & members)

Join us for the 2nd Annual SoCal Science Writing Symposium, organized by the SoCal Science Writers group. This day-long event will feature sessions on science videos, fellowships, investigative reporting, climate change and data journalism, as well as lots of networking opportunities. Email SANDSWA President Ramin Skibba if you’d like to volunteer to invite speakers, co-chair a panel or act as a greeter. Volunteering is a great way to network, and you’ll earn a discount on registration for the event.

April Happy Hour

When: Tuesday, April 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Where: Ballast Point
9045 Carroll Way (off Miramar Rd.)
San Diego, CA 92121
Cost: No entry fee, food and drinks available for purchase

Inviting all SANDSWA members and non-members to a casual, no-host happy hour. Meet SANDSWA organizers, mingle with fellow science writers and expand your network. Feel free to bring a friend or colleague interested in science communication. No RSVP necessary… just stop by whenever you can!


When: April 24, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Subterranean Coffee Boutique Hillcrest
412 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Book: Big Chicken, by Maryn McKenna
RSVP: Email Ariana Remmel

The first meeting of the new SANDSWA Book Club. We discussed Big Chicken by Maryn McKenna, winner of a 2018 Science in Society Journalism Award from the National Association of Science Writers. Big thanks to member Ariana Remmel for launching and hosting this new opportunity to learn and connect!

SANDSWA members-only event:
Tour the Research Vessel Sally Ride

When: March 14, 4:30-6:30pm

Where: 297 Rosecrans St
San Diego, CA 92106

SANDSWA members had an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the research vessel Sally Ride. Owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the ship has sailed on research missions to the Galapagos, the Gulf of Alaska, and beyond since its inaugural voyage in 2016. Researchers have used the vessel to study topics such as ocean floor geology, underwater acoustics, and climate change. The vessel is home in San Diego in March for maintenance and preparation for 2019 voyages to Sri Lanka, Guam, Taiwan, and Palau.

The tour was hosted by SANDSWA member Melissa Miller, who has traveled aboard the ship assisting with research projects and writing dispatches. Scripps communications staff were also on-hand to answer questions.

Read recap blog posts: Part I by Xochitl Rojas-Rocha, and Part II by Melissa Miller, who led the tour

SANDSWA at Why Storytelling Matters in science: A Talk by Ed Yong

When: February 21, 4:00 p.m.
Where: Scripps Research
Scripps Research Auditorium
10620 John J. Hopkins Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Cost: Free

All SANDSWA members and non-members are invited to join us at this very special event. Science writer extraordinaire Ed Yong will be in San Diego, giving a talk at Scripps Research. RSVP for the Scripps event, then stick around afterward for an informal happy hour and meet-and-greet with Ed. Seats are filling up fast!

Read Recap

SANDSWA Evening at the Fleet

When: January 3, 2019, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park

A special SANDSWA members-only tour and talk with the Fleet‘s CEO and Marketing Director. We got the inside scoop on the museum’s public outreach efforts and what’s new for 2019.  Read the recap blog post by Xochitl Rojas-Rocha

SANDSWA Holiday Happy Hour

When: Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Where: AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Court (off Miramar Rd.)
San Diego, CA 92126
Cost: No entry fee, food and drink available for purchase

Inviting all SANDSWA members and non-members to a casual, no-host happy hour. Meet SANDSWA organizers, mingle with fellow science writers and expand your network. Feel free to bring a like-minded friend or colleague. This will be our last event of 2018!

ScienceWriters Meeting Re-Cap (Members Only)
Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine

Sad you missed ScienceWriters2018, the annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW)? We brought the meeting to you! A few SANDSWA Board members who attended in Washington, D.C. on October 12-16 brought back lots of information, tips and insights into the field of science writing.  Browse our slides for insights on training researchers to communicate, creating science videos, making your writing more inclusive, and more.

Tour and Tasting at White Labs

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm
9495 Candida St.
$10 (non-refundable)

White Labs knows yeast, and we’re going to drop in, learn about their work and quaff a beer or two. You’ll still get the great SANDSWA camaraderie you know and love, plus more science.

White Labs

SANDSWA August Happy Hour

August 15, 2018: 5:30-7:30pm

Inviting all SANDSWA members and non-members to a casual, no-host happy hour. Meet SANDSWA organizers, mingle with fellow science writers and expand your network. Feel free to bring a like-minded friend or colleague. Hope to see you there!

Location: AleSmith Brewing Company

SANDSWA Kick-Off Happy Hour

July 11, 2018: 5:30-7:30pm
Location: Farmer & The Seahorse

More information