To Think, To Write, To Publish

Program Areas –

TWP Part 1 Bios

Principal Investigator (PI)

Lee Gutkind, Professor, ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and CSPO Distinguished Writer in Residence
As the distinguished writer in residence at CSPO, Lee Gutkind continues to engage writers and readers through creative nonfiction writing. Gutkind is the founder and editor of the popular journal, Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to exclusively publish nonfiction, now celebrating its 15th year of publication. He has pioneered the teaching of creative nonfiction, chairing the writing program and founding the first in the world MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh, directing the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference at Goucher College for 11 years, and conducting workshops and presenting readings throughout the world. Dr. Gutkind has written and edited over 25 books. He has been featured on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation,” the BBC “World,” and Gutkind was appointed the inaugural Virginia G. Piper Distinguished Writer in Residence at Arizona State University in 2007. He frequently crosses genres as a writer, editor, reporter, novelist and filmmaker. In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Chatham University.

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)

David Guston, CSPO Co-Director
David Guston is professor of politics and global studies and is principal investigator and director of the NSF-funded Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, which studies the societal implications of nanoscale science and engineering research. He is widely published and cited on research and development policy, technology assessment, public participation in science and technology, and the politics of science policy. His book, Between Politics and Science: Assuring the Integrity and Productivity of Research, was awarded the 2002 Don K. Price Prize by the American Political Science Association for best book in science and technology policy. Dr. Guston is the former North American editor of the peer-reviewed journal Science and Public Policy and has held visiting positions at Columbia University, the Copenhagen Business School, and the Kent School of Law. In 2002, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He co-chaired the 2008 Gordon Research Conference on Science and Technology Policy, “Governing Emerging Technologies.” He holds a doctorate from MIT.

Participant Bios:

Next Generation of Science Communicators

Jason Bittel
Jason Bittel is an Acme, Pennsylvania native currently completing an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to graduate school, he volunteered two terms with the Student Conservation Association. His writing interests include black bears, Eurasian wild boars, salamanders, poison ivy, bioluminescent fungi and, well, everything.

Victoria Blake
Victoria Blake is the founding publisher of Underland Press, located in Portland, Oregon. She has worked as an editor for Dark Horse Comics, as an art critic for The Oregonian, and as a pen-for-hire at home and abroad. Her work has been published in Conjunctions online and Glimmer Train, among others. Her publishing company, distributed by PGW, has distinguished itself with award-winning works of science fiction, fantasy, and dark fantasy.

Ross Carper
Ross Carper is a writer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where his work focuses on science, technology, and policy aimed at addressing energy and environmental challenges. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, and has also published fiction, poetry, and journalism.

Deborah Gardner
Deborah (Debs) Gardner is working on an MFA in Fiction and an MPH in Maternal & Child Health at the University of Washington. She writes the blog Seattle Local Food ( Inspired by the intersection of art and science, she is authoring a story collection about land, sea and sky.

Stephanie Harris
Stephanie Harris is a marketing editor for an engineering and architectural firm in Chicago and is pursuing a Master’s degree in writing and publishing from DePaul University. She has held editorial positions with Roads & Bridges and Water Quality Products magazines. Ms. Harris received a B.A. in English from DePaul in 2006.

J.D. Ho
J.D. Ho recently completed an MFA in Writing at the University of Texas in Austin. Her writing has appeared in several literary journals, and she was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize. Her collaborative projects include short films and work with both sculptors and illustrators.

Mason Inman
Mason Inman is a freelance journalist currently based in Karachi, Pakistan, who focuses on climate, energy, and development. A graduate of the science writing program at the University of California Santa Cruz, he’s lived in and reported from half a dozen countries so far. He blogs about building resilience at

Mary McGrath
Mary McGrath is a master’s student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Her work focuses on political identity as it relates to environmental choice and behavior. She is interested in learning how science communication can better promote productive public dialogue around environmental challenges.

Lauren Oakes
Lauren Oakes is pursuing her doctoral degree at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. She is interested in land use changes and freshwater management and previously worked in fisheries conservation in Alaska. Lauren has produced documentary films and plans to incorporate narrative story and science writing with research.

Meera Lee Sethi
Meera Lee Sethi is an inquisitive nonfiction writer and part-time bird taxidermist. She brings insight from a background in comparative literature and education to her current work: reporting and reflecting on science in the pages of national publications, for the online magazine Inkling, and at her website,

Sarah Whelchel
Sarah Whelchel is originally from Atlanta, GA. She majored in the History of Science at Princeton University. She currently is employed as a pharmaceutical advertising copywriter in New York. She is particularly interested in neuroscience, health care, and the pharmaceutical industry, and plans to continue writing about science in one way or another wherever life takes her.

Rachel Zurer
Rachel Zurer is a freelance writer and radio producer in Berkeley, CA. Her reporting on science and the environment has appeared on Pacifica Radio and in Terrain magazine. This summer she will receive her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her hobbies include backpacking, pottery, and vegan cooking.

Participant Bios:
Next Generation of Science & Technology Policy Leaders

Adam Briggle, Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas
Adam Briggle completed a bachelor’s in Biology from St. John’s University in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006 with a PhD in Environmental Studies, where his dissertation focused on the Kass Bioethics Council. He then accepted a position at the University of Twente in the Netherlands in the Philosophy Department, the only humanities department in what is otherwise an entrepreneurial and engineering institution. At the University of North Texas, Dr. Briggle is currently teaching classes related to ethics of science and philosophy of science and getting ready for the publication of his forthcoming book, A Rich Bioethics: Public Policy, Biotechnology, and the Kass Council.

Samuel Evans, Postdoctoral Fellow, Program on Science, Technology and Society and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Samuel Evans received both a Masters of Science in Management Research in 2004 and a Doctorate in Philosophy in 2009 from the University of Oxford under the New College & Institute for Science, Innovation, and Society. He earned his BA in Philosophy and Physics from St. Olaf College in 2002. His Masters thesis, “The Governance of Technology at the World Trade Organization: a cultural theory framework,” won the Dan Gowler prize. During his time at Oxford, Dr. Evans worked as a research assistant in the Policy Foresight Programme, working on a series of workshops with Sir Crispin Tickell about science and technology, environment, and society. In 2006-200, He was a visiting researcher at Georgetown University as part of the Center for Peace and Security.

Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins, Postdoctoral Scholar and Research Associate, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington
Kiki Jenkins graduated with Honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a B.S. in Biology and then, as an NSF Graduate Fellow, she received her PhD in 2006 from Duke University by pioneering a new field of study into the invention and adoption of marine conservation technology. Dr. Jenkins worked as an environmental consultant for the Natural Resource Defense Council, helping to change regulatory measures on how fishing gear is used on the US west coast. She spent two years as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of International Affairs. Dr. Jenkins currently studies the process of conservation in order to distill conservation theory and codify best practices.

Florian Kern, Research Fellow, SPRU-Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex
Florian Kern earned his PhD in 2009 from SPRU at the University of Sussex, where he analyzed innovation policies in the UK and the Netherlands, explaining the different ways in which both countries tackle this challenge and formulating policy recommendations to foster sustainable energy systems. He has a Masters in Science in Socio-Economic and Technological Planning from Roskilde University, Denmark in 2005 and studied Political Science at the Free University of Berlin from 2000-2003. Dr. Kern’s research looks at policy analysis in the fields of energy, technology, environment and innovation, looking specifically at socio-technical transitions and shifting towards sustainable electricity systems.

Jeremy Littell, Research Scientist, JISAO/CSES Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington
Jeremy Littell’s research focuses on climate change and variability on forest ecosystems. He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and terrestrial ecology from Western Washington University in 1998, followed by a master’s degree in land resources and environmental science from Montana State University in 2002. Dr. Littell has also worked as a general science adviser to the forest sector, as well as being part of the Washington Governor’s Climate Action Team. He earned his PhD in 2006 in forest ecosystem analysis from the University of Washington.

Jennifer Liu, Freeman Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois
Jennifer Liu studies the intersection of medical anthropology and science and technology studies. She earned bachelor’s degrees in zoology and French from UC Berkeley, followed by a master’s degree in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Her doctorate degree is from the UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Joint Program in Medical Anthropology Program, where her dissertation was funded by fellowships including a Fulbright Fellowship and as the 2007-2008 social science and humanities California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Fellow. Much of Dr. Liu’s research looks at how bioethics, science policy, and the communication between the public and scientific communities interact.

Dean Nieusma, Assistant Professor, Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
After completing undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering and interdisciplinary social sciences, Dean Nieusma worked as an engineer in the auto industry. He received his PhD from Rensselaer in 2004 in Science and Technology Studies (STS). Dr. Nieusma worked as an assistant professor at University of Virginia before returning to Rensselaer in 2006. His research is interdisciplinary, leading to much collaboration and his current research focuses on increasing public participation in decision making. He is interested in design and the social studies of design, the development of appropriate technologies, and the relationship between expertise and democracy.

Gwen Ottinger, Program Researcher, Center for Contemporary History and Policy, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Gwen Ottinger turned her research towards science and the community after being confronted with the question, “who decides?” She earned her dual bachelor’s degrees in Science, Technology, and Culture and Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1997 before continuing on to graduate studies. Her 2005 PhD from the University of California at Berkeley is in Energy and Resources. Her research focused on a community next to an oil refinery, and how they monitored air quality using bucket monitors. After completing her dissertation, Dr. Ottinger still looks air quality monitoring and its effects on community health and justice. This fall, she will start a new position as Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program at the University of Washington-Bothell.

Elizabeth Popp Berman, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Department of Public Policy, University of Albany, SUNY
Elizabeth Popp Berman’s research looks at why academic science has shifted towards the marketplace. She completed her BA in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and both her MA (2000) and PhD (2007) in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation was funded by the Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for Research Related to Education, the Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship for the Corporation as a Social Institution Program and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her forthcoming book is Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine.

Sonja Schmid, Assistant Professor, Department of Science and Technology in Society, Virginia Tech
Sonja Schmid received her PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell University. In 2007-08, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in the Monterey Institute for International Studies. Previously, she was a social science research associate at Stanford University, a science fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a lecturer in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford. Her research focuses on understanding complex decision-making processes at the interface between science, technology, and the state in the Cold War Soviet context. She is currently working on a book about reactor design choices and the development of the civilian nuclear industry in the Soviet Union.

Mark Shafer, Director of Climate Services, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, The University of Oklahoma
As Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the state climate office for Oklahoma, Mark Shafer manages a group that provides high-quality weather and climate information tailored to meet the needs of individual citizens and decision-makers in Oklahoma. He is a Principal Investigator for the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, one of the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments programs, a member of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program Implementation Team, and contributed to the development of Oklahoma’s drought monitoring decision-support system. Dr. Shafer serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Board on Societal Impacts and has co-chaired the annual Symposium on Policy and Socio-Economic Research for the past three years. He blends physical and social sciences, holding a Masters Degree in Meteorology and a Ph.D. in Political Science. His research interests focus upon communication between the scientific community and policy makers, particularly in managing societal response to extreme events, institutional factors governing selection of information, and the influence of scientific and technical information on the policy process.

Jeannette Sutton, Disaster Sociologist, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder and Assistant Research Professor, Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center, National Institute for Space, Science, and Security Centers, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Jeannette Sutton received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder specializing in environmental sociology with an emphasis in hazards and disasters. Her dissertation examined collective behavior and the construction of social problems during the response to the September 11, World Trade Center attacks. She was then a post-doctoral researcher at the Natural Hazards Center where she conducted research on the barriers to adopting new technologies within public sector agencies, earthquake early warning systems, and the uses of information and communication technology for communication in disaster events. Dr. Sutton has worked as a research faculty member at the Natural Hazards Center on community preparedness, regional collaboration and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, warning systems for extreme events, and most recently, the uses of social media during disasters and crisis events.