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 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!

Managing Chair
Andrea Graffis, 
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
LinkedIn | Website

Andrea_2As the Managing Chair of CapSciComm, I help glue the Board’s diverse interests together and develop strategies for reaching our goal to “Keep Science Spicy!”

In my spare time, you’ll find me wandering in the wilderness with my camera, exploring the Sacramento food scene, or gardening delicious veggies in my backyard.

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.

Public Science 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. With that passion, I now also organize the “SCIENCE NIGHT LIVE” science café each month at the WOW Science Museum.

And that’s why I’m very excited to serve as CapSciComm’s Public Science Chair!


Communications Chair
(Ben Young Landis, Acting)

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.

Professional Development Chair
(Nick Gray, Acting)

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 science communication trainings, as well as identifying co-teaching opportunities among professional communicators. Members interested in filling this position should email capscicomm@gmail.com.


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