Capital Science Communicators in 2016: New Board, New Friends, New Possibilities

CapSciComm newsletter

The Pepper
January 3, 2016

Welcome to a special issue of The Pepper! Help keep everyone updated on science communications news and events in and around the Capital Region by sending your updates to capscicomm@gmail.comWhether you’re on our member list as a professional or an enthusiast, let us know if you find The Pepper to be a helpful resource, and your ideas on how to improve it. Thanks!

The idea for Capital Science Communicators first began in the Autumn of 2012. I had just returned from the ScienceWriters2012 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I met up with friends and colleagues from my days living in the Research Triangle region.

The Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC) was a fantastic professional and social network that buoyed my career, and I had been curious about building a similar community for the greater Sacramento and Davis area. We are, after all, the state capital of California—the eighth largest economy in the world—and the need for clear communication of science permeates the local and state professional community, from policy to media to public outreach.

Another chance conversation I had at ScienceWriters2012 sealed the deal. Shouting over the reception cover band, I bounced the idea to Bob Sanders, Sarah Yang, and Bob Finn of the Northern California Science Writers Association (NCSWA)—a great organization with much of its membership in the Bay Area. The NCSWA crew was supportive of a sister network to better serve our inland community, and so too were the various Sacramento journalists and press officers I hit up to gauge interest.

In June 2013, we held our first-ever networking social, and we’ve been spicing up science ever since. And I am so excited to bring you even more in 2016.

I have loved every moment of bringing CapSciComm into being, from creating our name and logo to reaching out to new members. But a professional community as diverse as Sacramento’s shouldn’t just be led by one voice. That’s why I am thrilled to announce that starting 2016, I will be joined by a group of dedicated colleagues to serve the inaugural Board of Officers to lead and organize Capital Science Communicators:

2016 CapSciComm Board of Chairs
Top Left to Right: Ben Young Landis; Andrea Graffis, Becky Oskin, Don Gibson. Bottom Left to Right: Candace Spier Bever, Dharia McGrew, Nick Gray

Executive Chair
Ben Young Landis, Communications Consultant
I will continue to advise and steer our operation and activities, so that CapSciComm continues to stay apace of the needs of the Capital Region community.

Managing Chair
Andrea Graffis, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Andrea will organize our board and direct our strategy, so that CapSciComm activities and events continue to serve our mission.

Professional Membership Chair
Becky Oskin, UC Davis

Becky will be our point contact in reaching out to members in journalism, public relations, and creative fields, and in ensuring that the needs of our professional membership are being served.

Student Membership Chair
Don Gibson, UC Davis

Don will be our point contact in reaching out to members in undergraduate and graduate student bodies, and help keep pulse of needs of our student colleagues.

Professional Development Chair
Candace Spier Bever, UC Davis

Candace will be our point contact to bridge our professional expertise as communicators with the needs of professional scientists who want to gain skills and experience in communicating science.

Capitol Chair
Dharia McGrew, Assembly Health Committee

Dharia will serve as our liaison in the State Capitol community, keeping pulse of intersections and opportunities between the public policy community and our science communicators network.

Public Science Chair
Nick Gray, World of Wonders Science Museum

Nick will serve as our liaison in the science outreach community, keeping pulse of intersections and opportunities for our membership to help with informal science and public education in the greater Sacramento region.

You can learn more about our new board members here, and read our updated mission and vision here.

There are so many exciting possibilities for our CapSciComm community to explore in the coming year. In 2015, we broke much new ground. We held networking soirees with the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, the California Council on Science and Technology, and the New Leaders Council. We hosted our first student journalist intern, who filed stories on scicomm community news and wrote member profiles. We helped steer great speakers to Nick Gray’s Science Night Live for their first full year of programming, and to Jared Shaw’s Davis Science Café for their fourth year of programming. And we’ve assembled the early stages of our “Science PIO Directory” for the Sacramento Regiona contact directory that Becky Oskin will improve upon and grow in 2016.

With the collective help of our new Board, and the ideas, energy, and enthusiasm of everyone in our CapSciComm community, 2016 is certain to be another great year. We’re already in talks to do more jointly hosted socials with other professional organizations in our region. And in September, we hope to help welcome the Society of Environmental Journalists when they bring their annual meeting to town.

Our mission is to connect science communicators across all professions in the Capital Region with resources and networks for professional advancement. CapSciComm is here to serve you—so that through our individual career success, we all help play a part in sustaining science literacy among citizens and decisionmakers in the Capital Region. If you ever have a wishlist, a question, or feedback on CapSciComm activities and events, just reach out to any one of us on the Board, or shoot an email to

Thank you again for your continued support of CapSciComm. I am thrilled to see my vision for this professional and social community come true, and I hope you have made it your community as well. Please save the date for our first networking event of the year, on Wednesday, January 20th, in Downtown Sacramento—and let’s keep spicing up science for the Sacramento region.

Ben Young Landis
Founder and Executive Chair
Capital Science Communicators



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