Who We Are

SCONC is a professional organization founded in April 2007 in the Research Triangle of North Carolina to provide fellowship and networking among folks who bring science to the public.

We include science writers, journalists, public information officers, teachers and institutional communicators working in universities, government labs, industry, museums and schools — just about anyone interested in communicating science.

SCONC Board of Directors

Katey Ahmann

Programming Committee Officer

Head of Featured Experiences NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Katey Ahmann is the Head of Featured Experiences at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS), where she has been part of the staff since 1996. Before arriving at the NCMNS, Katey was a staff member for nine years at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. She holds a BS in Zoology from Duke University and a MA Liberal Studies/Science and Society from NC State University. In addition to department-wide responsibilities within the Community Engagement section of the museum, she oversees museum program areas that include; on the floor visitor experiences, the Museum’s Naturalist Center; a guided learning space is a 1700 square foot exhibit area that houses a large collection of scientific specimens and objects as well as hands-on exhibits, Large public science events, Special after-hours programs (lectures, town halls and movie screenings), and Science Cafes. Katey has been the organizer of the Museum’s science café series since 2006.

Karl Leif Bates

Founding Board Member

Director of Research Communications, Duke University

A former newspaper reporter specializing in science, medicine and environment, Karl heads research communications from Duke’s Office of News and Communications.

Marla Broadfoot


Freelance Science Writer and Editor

Marla is a geneticist-turned-science writer who specializes in biomedical research. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a contributing editor at American Scientist. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science, STAT News, Discover, Nature News, the News and Observer, and elsewhere. She is the author of A Place at the Bench, a compilation of articles about women in science commissioned by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Twitter: @mvbroadfoot

(Ex Officio) Chris Brodie

Co-Founder & Founding Board Member

Scientific Liaison at Bioventus

Chris is a molecular biologist and former staffer at American Scientist magazine. As a Fulbright Scholar in Oslo, he helped with science communications for the inaugural Kavli Prizes.

(Ex Officio) Russ Campbell

Co-Founder & Founding Board Member

Senior Communications Officer, Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Campbell is an advocate and supporter of science communication and public understanding of science projects.  Follow him on twitter at @razoobe.

Jennifer Weston Cox


Director of Communications, North Carolina State University College of Engineering

As director, Weston is responsible for marketing, media relations, graphic design, Web site design and management, and other communications projects.

Nate DeGraff


Director of Marketing and Communications
College of Sciences, North Carolina State University

Nate leads a multi-platform communications program that markets the College of Sciences to prospective students, alumni, parents, peer institutions, and business and industry. He was previously a staff writer at the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record.

Ernie Hood

President Emeritus, Founding Board Member

Freelance Science Writer, Editor, and Podcaster

Hood is based in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He hosts a weekly science radio show, Radio In Vivo: Your Link to the Triangle Science Community.

Eleanor Hook headshot

Eleanor Hook

Events Project Management Officer

Science After School Educator, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
Freelance Science Writer

Eleanor moved to the Triangle area after receiving her B.S. in Physics from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She develops afterschool science curriculum for children from kindergarten to middle school, which she uses to lead activities at Boys & Girls Clubs across seven North Carolina counties. She also enjoys writing and regularly publishes articles on everything from high-tech paint to trout that swim from beyond the grave.

Abby Olena

Social Media Officer

Freelance Science Writer and SciComm Trainer

A lapsed developmental biologist, Abby writes about science and leads communication workshops for scientists.

Tamara Poles

Programming Committee Officer

Community Engagement Specialist, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Tamara is a biologist and environmental scientist by training but uses her skills to conduct science outreach as an informal educator for museums and science centers. Now that she has earned her Master’s Degree in Education, she uses her education and experience to train scientists and STEM professionals in science communication. She also coordinates community events across North Carolina to enable scientists to hone their skills in public communication while allowing the public to interact with scientists in their community and learn about valuable research. Tamara has developed and currently manages the IMPACTS program at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

Fenella Saunders

Communications Officer

Editor-in-Chief, American Scientist magazine,
Director of Science Communications and Publications,  Sigma Xi 

Fenella has been a science journalist and editor for more than 22 years, covering science for American Scientist, Discover magazine, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, NYU Physician, Scholastic, The Learning Channel, and The Discovery Channel. She received an A.B. degree in computer science from Duke University and a Master’s degree in psychology and animal behavior from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Katie Stember

Partners Officer

Associate Director, Life Science Economic Development, North Carolina Biotechnology Center
Founder, Scientists of North Carolina

Katie received her PhD in Pathology from UNC Chapel Hill and now works in economic development in Research Triangle Park, supporting growth of the local life science industry. During graduate school, she started a project called Scientists of North Carolina that aims to break down stereotypes around scientists and bridge the gap between scientists and their communities.

Jory Weintraub

Programming Committee Officer

Science Communication Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Jory received a PhD in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and has spent the last 16 years working in science education/outreach/communication. In his current position, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in science communication at Duke University and runs science communication workshops for Duke faculty and postdocs.