2020 Executive Board Candidates

Capital Science Communicators was created by tireless, passionate volunteers who believed in our mission. We are pleased to welcome the following CapSciComm Members who have volunteered to stand for election and lead our professional network for this coming year.

Ballot link will be emailed to current CapSciComm Professional Members and Student Members after August 12th. All ballots must be submitted by August 26th, 2020, 11:59 p.m. in order to be counted. The new board will begin work in September, once elected.

For more on each board position and duties, consult the CapSciComm Charter. For 2020 election procedures, click here.

The following are the 2020 candidates for our six board positions. Their candidate statements follow:

  1. President  – Allie Weill
  2. Vice President – Cory Warshaw
  3. Secretary – Victoria Strait
  4. Treasurer – Laura Gore
  5. Membership Officer – Taran Hunter; Pratik Gandhi, Daniel Erenstein
  6. Communications Officer – Patty Bolan


Candidate: Allie Weill
Title: Outreach Coordinator & Science Writer, Federal Government
Twitter: @Al_R_Wallace

Candidate Statement: I’ve experienced the science communication world as a grad student researcher, a journalist in public media, an environmental educator at a nonprofit, and now an outreach professional for the federal government. It’s been fascinating to see the different perspectives of people in these varied roles and venues, to see our common goals and the ways we misunderstand one another. It’s tempting to see scicomm as a single practice with basic rules–keep it simple, avoid jargon–but I’ve learned that scicomm is really a big, messy space with lots of ideas and no one right way to do it.

The events of 2020 illustrate the many challenges facing the field of science communication: in a global pandemic, how do you promote public health when there is so much uncertainty? How do we grapple with the legacy of scientific racism? How can we encourage people to trust the science when scientists are as human as anyone else?

These are questions that won’t be answered by a training session or a summer fellowship. We can only work on them in ongoing science communication practice, continuing to talk and testing things out, in a community that represents diverse backgrounds and careers. And we can only have such a community if diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in science and scicomm are part of the conversation.

If you’ll have me as president, I’ll work to make CapSciComm a space for that exploration–and give you a place to talk about your cat, make bad science puns, and get a job, too.

Vice President

Portrait photo of Cory Warshaw

Candidate: Cory Warshaw (He/Him)
Title: Project Manager, Independent
LinkedIn: http://linked.com/in/cwarshaw

Candidate Statement: My name is Cory Warshaw, a Project Manger by day and science enthusiast by night. In college I was the Founding Curator of TEDxUCDavis, and grew that organization into an organization with thousands of attendees and millions of view on YouTube. Since then I have continued my advocacy work as the Lead Speaker Coach with TEDxSacramento and March for Science Sacramento.

When I first graduated, I remember having conversations with to all of my speakers about what was happening in the field of SciComm. Despite being accomplished scientist who were motivated enough to give a talk, they didn’t really have any concept of the field beyond that. That is why I was so excited when I moved to Sacramento and was connected with Ben [Landis] and the whole CapSciComm community. There I found people who spoke the same language and were passionate about conveying the beauty and power of science.

I am running for Vice President because I want to give back to this community. If elected I would strive to use my background and experience to create strong professional development opportunities for our members, as well as create content and spaces for more people to join our community.

Thank you, and I look forward to the new future ahead of us.


Portrait photo of Victoria Strait

Candidate: Victoria Strait (She/Her/Hers)
Title: Graduate Student in Physics and Astronomy, UC Davis

Candidate Statement: As a finishing PhD student, I have been active in science outreach, and I have gained experience communicating my research to many audiences, ranging from children to experts. Generally, I am interested in helping sustain and increase the science literacy and science communication skills of every audience in the Sacramento region. I founded Astronomy on Tap, Davis, as a way to do both: give researchers a chance to practice outreach while simultaneously teaching the public about the Astronomy research that is happening in the Sacramento region. Going forward, I am interested in facilitating and publicizing trainings and events that relate to science communication, science writing, and science policy, as well as thinking deeply about making these events as accessible as possible, with a focus on reaching traditionally underrepresented audiences.


Portrait photo of Laura Gore

Candidate: Laura Gore (She/Her)
Title: Research Data Specialist, California Department of Health Care Services

Candidate Statement: I love what CapSciComm does for both for professionals and students. As a professional I appreciate being able to learn more about science beyond my own field such as touring Rancho Seco and chatting with fellow members. I also enjoy talking with students to see what the latest and greatest have to offer as well as offer support whenever I can. I have been a treasurer for two non-profits in the past and would love to support CapSciComm in a way I can do best!

Membership Officer

Candidate: Daniel Erenstein (They/Them/Theirs)
Title: Undergraduate Researcher & Editor-in-Chief, The Aggie Transcript, UC Davis
Twitter: @scicommdaniel
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derenstein15/

Candidate Statement: Hi there, CapSciComm community! My name is Daniel, and I’m thrilled to be included among this year’s candidates for our network’s Membership Officer.

A little bit about me: Next month, I start my final year of undergraduate study in neurobiology and professional writing at UC Davis. My interests in science writing led me to The Aggie Transcript, an undergraduate life sciences journal, and I was elected editor-in-chief in March. A few months ago, I also joined the Calisi Lab, a.k.a. Birds, Brain, and Banter Lab, as an undergraduate researcher. I’ve been assisting in the lab with the development of a science communication training program for UC Davis faculty. Each of these experiences has already inspired me, strengthening my belief in the power of effective science communication to build a healthier, well-informed, and more diverse community. These positions have also taught me about teamwork, listening and responding to feedback, and making decisions with this guidance in mind.

Since I first learned about science communication a few years ago, CapSciComm has been name-dropped by mentors and professional contacts countless times. I view this as a testament to the organization’s impressive reach. I love that CapSciComm brings Davis, Sacramento, and NorCal communicators under its broad umbrella. There is great potential for CapSciComm to extend our impact to undergrads and policy professionals, an initiative that I’d be proud to work towards as an executive board member.

Portrait photo of Pratik Gandhi

Candidate: Pratik Gandhi (He/Him/His)
Title: PhD Student (Astrophysics), UC Davis
Twitter: @astrogandhi
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pratik-gandhi-840b81ba/

Candidate Statement: While I have loved astrophysics since my childhood in India, my interest in SciComm has grown during my undergrad and grad years in the US. I have come to love and appreciate the power of good SciComm, and gained a lot more experience in it through outreach events at local schools and societies. My role as co-organiser of Astronomy on Tap, Davis, has given me real insight into what constitutes effective outreach.

As a PhD student and an astronomer, it is my responsibility to not only pursue my science but also present my work in a compelling manner that’s accessible to all. My academic position allows me to access educational and scientific networks, connections I hope to bring to the board. Additionally, as an international student who has worked in science and SciComm in two different countries, I have a somewhat unique perspective on engaging diverse audiences.

What excites me most about the Membership Officer role is the idea of forming new connections. One of my strengths lies in getting individuals organised, and I genuinely enjoy interacting with people in different settings. I’m excited for the chance to collaborate with organisations in NorCal, and as Membership Officer I would want to keep members engaged as much as possible through socials, workshops, and outreach events. To combat increasing science denialism, it is imperative to reach out to different sections of society, and I wish to help CapSciComm connect with and recruit from the public effectively.

Portrait photo of Taran Hunter

Candidate: Taran Hunter (He/Him/His)
Title: Ecological and Evolutionary Biology Graduate, UC Santa Cruz
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taran-hunter-b0334a60/

Candidate Statement: I am a recent graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz, and I majored in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Computer Science. I am interested in learning skills salient to conservation, environmental justice, and fighting climate change. I plan to work as a GIS analyst or data scientist in the aforementioned areas, and can offer a strong work ethic, an open ear, and an open mind. I love working on teams, and hope to bring as much as possible to CapSciComm! Keep Science Spicy!

Communications Officer

Portrait photo of Patty Bolan on a mountaintop.

Candidate: Patty Bolan (She/Her/Hers)
Title: Astrophysics Graduate Student, UC Davis
Website: http://www.instagram.com/p.bolan

Candidate Statement: My first experience with science communication was as a volunteer docent at an engineering museum in Milwaukee, explaining to patrons how nuclear reactors worked or why they felt no pain laying on a bed of nails. I loved discussing physical concepts through demonstrations and effective speech. I grew up knowing I wanted to study astrophysics, and discovered a passion for communications along the way.

As a rising third year graduate student in the UC Davis Physics department, I am studying the first galaxies ever formed. Throughout my academic career, I have analyzed many objects in the cosmos, from extragalactic gamma-ray bursts to our own Sun, and have always put effort into effective communication when presenting my work. With my background in design and photography, I won multiple awards for presentations, including Most Creative Presentation at a symposium. I place value not only in the science, but the graphic elements and design that go into each poster and talk.

In my second year as a grad student, I became one of two students to take the reins of a local science café, Astronomy on Tap Davis. Dozens of people gather at Sudwerk Brewery for public astronomy talks and space news. My focus since heading the event has been ensuring it is exciting and accessible to people of all backgrounds, and to create aesthetic marketing materials. With my design experience and passion for science communication, I am the prime candidate for the CapSciComm communications officer!