Dr. Allison Coffin is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Washington State University Vancouver, where she studies acoustic communication and hearing loss. She has more than 10 years of experience teaching communication workshops to a variety of scientific and professional audiences and was the Audience Choice winner at the 2014 U.S. FameLab Finals, a science communication competition hosted by NASA and National Geographic. Dr. Coffin runs the science communication website communicatalyst.com and is a long-time member of Toastmasters International. She is a conference co-chair.
Secretary & VP of Internal Relations
Amelia Veneziano spent nearly a decade in journalism before heading to grad school to get on the policy side. She was awarded her Master of Public Affairs with a focus in public administration and environmental policy in December 2018 from Washington State University Vancouver. It is her second WSU degree. Amelia has worked for a variety of organizations, including newspapers, small businesses, and city and federal government. She’s the only non-STEM person in her family, and she’s passionate about bringing together science, communication, and policy. Amelia lives in Tacoma, Wash.
VP of Content
Steven Sobieszczyk is a scientist and storyteller. In his day job he studies water quality, landslides, and sediment transport. At night he doodles on napkins for his kids. Steve is heavily involved in public speaking, science communication, video production, media relations, and public engagement - especially with Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. With his free time, he runs a website highlighting how parenting can improve public speaking.
VP of Public Relations
Kirsten Sanford, Ph.D., is owner of Broader Impacts Productions. Dr. "Kiki" is a freelance science presenter and reporter who loves media. She studied molecular, cellular, and integrative physiology and has over 10 years experience producing and hosting radio and television programming with companies such as PLoSOne, WNBC, and The Science Channel/Discovery Communications. She currently hosts the "This Week in Science" podcast.
VP of Programming
Lewis Taylor directs communications for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Oregon. A former newspaper reporter, Lewis worked as a senior writer and editor at a regional public relations firm before joining the UO’s Central Communications team. Trained at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, he empowers scientists and scholars to communicate complex topics in clear, vivid and engaging ways in order to reach the public, the media, elected officials and others outside their areas of expertise.
VP of Marketing
John Meyer is the Associate Director of Science Communication at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. He has been an advocate for science throughout his career, which includes time as a marine ecologist, natural resource policy advisor at the national, regional, and local levels, and communications professional within numerous university settings. John brings his expertise in these arenas to connect science with societal needs, helping create pathways for researchers to have an even greater impact through their work.
VP of Finance
Dr. John Harkness is a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Sorg, at the WSU Vancouver campus. In the lab, he studies extra cellular matrix aggregations in the regulation of neural processes associated with sleep, memory, and cocaine seeking. John also serves on the Board of Directors for NW Noggin, a Portland-based neuroscience outreach group. Additionally, John is the founder and CEO of Rewire Neuroscience (RewireNeuro.com), a WSU startup that is developing artificial intelligence-powered research tools.
Program Committee Chair
Amanda Thomas owns and operates Via Productions and is a purveyor of fine science entertainment. Her latest endeavor, Science on Tap, is essentially a science lecture with beer that happens once a month in both Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. She plans to continue running educational events for adults until there are no more speakers or the heat death of the universe…whichever comes first.