In Autumn 2015, CapSciComm organized its inaugural Board of Directors and reviewed its founding mission and vision. The purpose of this team is to collaborative lead our professional community in our public service mission and vision:

Mission: To connect science communicators across all professions in the Capital Region with resources and networks for professional advancement. 

Vision: Sustained science literacy among citizens and decisionmakers in the Capital Region through the support of science communication professionals.

Board members serve on a volunteer basis, and the inaugural board was assembled by invitation. Board members serve to innovate and oversee our professional community needs and mission progress, but many leadership opportunities remain for any interested CapSciComm member, as projects and activities get planned each year.

If you have feedback or ideas regarding CapSciComm activities, or would simply like to get in touch with the CapSciComm Board, please e-mail us at capscicomm@gmail.com. Thanks!

CapSciComm 2017 Board Members

Executive Co-Chair
Ben Young Landis, 
Communications Consultant
LinkedIn | MuckRack | @younglandis

LandisI am an independent science writer and consultant based in Sacramento, and the Communications Advisor for the California Council on Science and Technology. I have previously worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and Orange County Register, and nowadays you can also find me around the Capital Region helping with scicomm seminars and media coaching sessions for researchers.

As the founder of Capital Science Communicators, I’ve led our network and grown its membership and mission since 2013. Working with this inaugural Board of Chairs, I hope to truly expand the reach and resources of our professional community, so we can cultivate a vibrant and responsible corps of science communicators to benefit the growth and progress of the Capital Region. Outside of CapSciComm, you can often find me at the Sunday Farmer’s Market in Sacramento, or typing away at a local coffee shop. Come up and say hello!

Executive Co-Chair
Nick Gray, 
World of Wonders Science Museum
Website | @WOWscimuseum

Nick GrayAlthough my degree is in biology, I discovered my vocation in science education as an AmeriCorps volunteer following college.

After a decade of teaching science in the classroom, I’ve come to the World of Wonders Science Museum in Lodi as the Educational Director to broaden the impact of my passion for science literacy. Since my arrival in the greater Sacramento region, I have enjoyed connecting with our science outreach and science communication professional network, working closely with new colleagues to bring strategy and attention to events such as science cafés and “science idol” contests — as well as leading scicomm training workshops for student researchers and other science professionals.

I am excited to transition from my previous role as CapSciComm Public Science Chair, and help guide our professional community as CapSciComm Co-Executive Chair!

Membership Chair—Professional
Becky Oskin, UC Davis
LinkedIn | Website | @beckyoskin

BeckyOskinI handle communications and marketing for several UC Davis science departments. Previously, I worked as a science reporter and in media relations; most recently, I covered geology and climate change for LiveScience.com. A career highlight was seeing Mars through the Mount Wilson telescope while reporting on Ray Bradbury’s birthday party.

My role with CapSciComm is to cultivate and expand our membership among journalism and public affairs professionals in the Capital Region. Communications professionals working in media, government, academia, industry, and nonprofits in greater Sacramento are invited to be part of our CapSciComm community!

Membership Chair—Student
Don Gibson, 
UC Davis
LinkedIn | Website | @DNAgibson

Don GibsonI am a doctoral student, in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics at University of California, Davis. My research is to identify the genes that cause the stress response in tomato plants when deprived of the nutrient phosphate with a goal of modifying plants to no longer require copious amounts of phosphate fertilizer.

With CapSciComm, I am working to expand our membership with early career scientists and students to improve their science communication and public’s understanding. Lately I have been running a project called Barbara on the Bill to advocate for Nobel Prize winning genetist, Barbara McClintock to be the woman selected for the new $10 bill. In addition I do public communication about plant science, genetics, and genetically modified foods

Capitol Chair
Dharia McGrew, 
California Dental Association
LinkedIn | Website | @DhariaMcGrew

mcgrew head shotI was most recently a senior policy consultant in the California State Assembly Health Committee, where I analyzed legislation relating to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, public health (communicable diseases), food safety, and health disparities in underserved communities. I came to public policy in Sacramento as a 2012 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellow, spending my fellowship year placed in the Office of Assembly member Wieckowski and the Committee on Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials, where I worked on issues relating to drinking water safety, higher education, health, and consumer protections.

I earned a PhD from Brandeis University in Molecular & Cell Biology and a BA in biology from Mount Holyoke College. I have more than 10 years of experience as a laboratory researcher studying genetics, vision disease, and cancer biology, with additional career experience including teaching, publishing, and working in an industrial glue factory. I have lived all over the United States, from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands, spending 16 years in Massachusetts before returning to her home state of California.


Managing Chair

The Managing Chair provides critical operational support on all CapSciComm public-facing events and programs, in addition to day-to-day management of CapSciComm Board activities and directives. Members interested in filling this position should email capscicomm@gmail.com.

Professional Development Chair

The Professional Development Chair seeks out and manages programming to enhance the skills and careers of CapSciComm members. Particular focus is placed on connecting local students and faculty in science with scicomm professionals for training, as well as identifying co-teaching opportunities among professional communicators. Members interested in filling this position should email capscicomm@gmail.com.

Public Science Chair

The Public Science Chair is charged with liaising with science museums, science outreach programs, science cafés, and other informal science education organizations and professionals in the greater Sacramento region. Particular focus is placed on coordinating idea-sharing opportunities across local partners, and cultivating an atmosphere for science learning for the general public in our region. Members interested in filling this position should email capscicomm@gmail.com.

Communications Chair

The Communications Chair manages all CapSciComm online content, social media accounts, as well as producing The Pepper, our email newsletter. The position is time-intensive and requires editorial experience, but plays a critical part in curating CapSciComm resources for our community. Members interested in filling this position should email capscicomm@gmail.com.


  • Andrea Graffis, Managing Chair, 2015-2017
  • Katie Rodger, Professional Development Chair, 2017
  • Candace Spier Bever, Professional Development Chair, 2015-2016