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About Us

Mission | Team | Join Us

In a nutshell... This is the place to find out about, take part in, and contribute to science through recreational activities and research projects. Learn more about citizen science.

If you're a scientist or a representative of a citizen science organization or community group: This is the place to tell eager people about your work and get them interested in helping out.

Our Mission

SciStarter will bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. We aim to:

Our Team

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene is also the founder of Science Cheerleader  a popular website and organization that works with 250 current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers to promote science and the involvement of citizens in science and science-related policy. She has held executive positions at Walt Disney Publishing and has worked at Discover magazine for 15 years, where she now is a senior adviser and writer. She has created national science awards programs, science education initiatives, and a series of science-themed roundtable discussions for, among others, the Disney Institute, Space.com, Sally Ride's Imaginary Lines, and the Franklin Institute. She also serves on the Steering Committee for Science Debate and is a founding partner of Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, which engages experts, stakeholders, and everyday citizens in assessing the implications of emerging developments in science and technology. She originated and managed the Emmy award-winning Science of NFL Football series produced by the NFL, NBC Sports, NBC Learn, the National Science Foundation and Science Cheerleader.

A former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader, Darlene does not regret the years she gabbed through high school science classes. She earned a Master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania, studying science history, sociology, and science policy to learn more about people like herself: "hybrid actors," citizens interested in but not formally trained in the sciences. Discovering it was remarkably difficult to find opportunities to participate in science in any meaningful way, she launched SciStarter. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children, who have made it a hobby to explore the rainforests of Costa Rica. She's also a faculty associate at Arizona State University where she teaches a graduate course, aptly titled, Citizen Science.

Cavalier is the proud recipient of a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant to support "people with brilliant ideas" and she is investing that grant in the development of a series of media partnerships to help bring more citizen science opportunities to more communities.


Lily Bui
Executive Editor

Lily Bui is the Executive Editor of SciStarter and holds dual degrees in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California Irvine. She currently works in public media at WGBH-TV and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) in Boston, MA. Previously, she helped produce the radio show Re:sound for the Third Coast International Audio Festival, out of WBEZ Chicago. In past lives, she has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; served in AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, Maryland; worked for a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter; and performed across the U.S. as a touring musician.  In her spare time, she thinks of cheesy science puns. Follow @dangerbui. 


Jenna Morgan Lang
Editor, Featured Projects and Newsletter

Dr. Jenna Lang spends her days exploring the various means by which microbes rule the world. She has worked with Jonathan Eisen since 2006, first as an employee of the DOE Joint Genome Institute, then as a Microbiology PhD student, and now as a permanent fixture in his lab at UC Davis. Jenna became hooked on Citizen Science while working with Darlene on Project MERCCURI, and now aims to include a citizen science component in all future research projects. For fun, she likes to play poker, at the Bellagio, in her wedding dress.


Jonathan Brier
Strategic Advisor

Jonathan Brier is citizen science enthusiast from Michigan who enjoys working with Internet connected technologies a little too much. He holds a M.S. in Information and specialized in social computing from the University of Michigan School of Information and a B.S. in Media and Communication technologies from Michigan State University. His interest for science began with his continued use of the word “why” for which his father an engineer and mother a teacher took the time to give an explanation that would make any scientist proud. Jon’s citizen science passion began with his discovery of the SETI@home distributed computing project after watching the movie Contact. This branched to all things citizen science as he learned of more ways science research could harness public participation. Outside his day job as a User Experience Researcher at the University of Michigan, he works with GridRepublic on BOINC powered distributed computing projects and scours the Internet for anything and everything related to citizen science. He hopes to bring added enthusiasm and expertise to SciStarter.


Mark Severance
Director of Space-based citizen science projects

Mark Severance is SciStarter’s Space Guy and he has been a Space Guy all of his life. A NASA engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Mark has spent most of his career in Mission Control Center-Houston as a Flight Controller for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He also spent time in Mission Control Center-Moscow as a NASA Operations Lead early in the ISS program and when NASA had Astronauts working onboard the Mir space station. He has had a life-long interest in spaceflight and views the space program as a catalyst for engaging minds of all ages in a deeper understanding of science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Mark holds BS degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from SMU and MS in Physical Science, with a concentration in Orbital Mechanics, from the University of Houston. He began his hands on interest in space as teenager through his radio tracking of Soviet and Chinese human and robotic spacecraft in conjunction with the Kettering Group. He credits his satellite tracking as the most directive force in his educational and professional careers. Mark is currently a NASA engineer and manger for a space communications lab at the Johnson Space Center. Previous to this assignment, he worked in NASA’s Office of Education to start a program of educational activities and experiments onboard the ISS. He is heading up SciStarter’s in-development suite of space-related, citizen science projects.


Jiannan Zhang
Developer, promoter and hackfest leader

Jiannan Zhang is a computer scientist who is keen in citizen science. When he was at CERN, he organized the CERN Webfest 2013, and helped prepare for a virtual LHC challenge. He is super interested in collaborative learning, tech startups, and philosophy of mind. Jiannan is now doing research on Computational Linguistics at Oxford University. But he's everywhere! Look for him at our Philly Hackfest and in Berlin at the Open Knowledge Festival


Our Contributors

Angus Chen

Angus R. Chen is a research assistant at Princeton University, where he does geochronology research using uranium and lead isotopes from zircon crystals. Previously, he was a research intern at the Harvard Forest, studying the impacts of climate change on soil. He recently graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in environmental science and creative writing. When he’s not in the lab admiring rocks and then pulverizing them, he writes poetry, fiction, science articles, and makes cool videos




Caren Cooper

Dr. Caren Cooper is also a blogger for Scientific American and the Public Library of Science. She is a research associate at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program. She is co-chair of the publications committee of the newly forming Association for Citizen Science and co-editor of an upcoming special feature on citizen science in the open-access journal Ecology & Society. She has authored over 35 scientific papers, co-developed software to automate metrics of incubation rhythms, and is co-creator of NestWatch, CamClickr, Celebrate Urban Birds, YardMap, and the House Sparrow Project. Follow her @CoopSciScoop. She likes to propel herself on one wheel, two wheel, and eight wheel devices.


Carolyn Graybeal

Dr. Carolyn Graybeal holds a PhD in neuroscience from Brown University. She is a former National Academies of Science Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow during which time she worked with the Marian Koshland Science Museum. In addition the intricacies of the human brain, she is interested in the influence of education and mass media in society's understanding of science.




Melinda T. Hough

Dr. Melinda T. Hough is a freelance science advocate and communicator.  Her previous work has included a Mirzayan Science and Technology Graduate Policy Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences (2012), co-development of several of the final science policy questions with ScienceDebate.org (2012), consulting on the development of the Seattle Science Festival EXPO day (2012), contributing photographer for JF Derry’s book “Darwin in Scotland” (2010) and outreach projects to numerous to count.  Not content to stay stateside, Melinda received a B.S in Microbiology from the University of Washington (2001) before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland where she received a MSc (2002) and PhD (2008) from the University of Edinburgh trying to understand how antibiotics kill bacteria.  Naturally curious, it is hard to tear Melinda away from science; but if you can, she might be found exploring, often behind the lens of her Nikon D80, training for two half-marathons, or plotting her next epic adventure.


Ashley Rose Kelly

Ashley Rose Kelly is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media program at North Carolina State University. In August 2014 she will join the faculty in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue. Ashley studies how emerging technologies may be changing science communication. She also teaches scientific and technical writing courses as well as an introductory course on science, technology, and society. You can find Ashley on Twitter as @ashleyrkelly

Emily Lewis

Emily Lewis is a PhD candidate in chemistry at Tufts University, where she analyzes industrially important catalysts on the nanoscale. She received her BS and MS degrees from Northeastern University, and her thesis work investigated fuel cell catalysts under real operating conditions. She loves learning about energy and the environment, exploring science communication, and examining the intersection of these topics with the policy world. When she’s not writing or in the lab, you’ll probably spot Emily at the summit of one of the White Mountains in NH. Follow her: @lewisbase, www.emilyannelewis.com


Karen McDonald
Citizen Science in the Classroom Series Contributor

When not writing her blog The Infinite Spider, Karen McDonald is a guest blogger, curriculum developer, science content editor, and outdoor educator with over thirteen years in informal science education. She has an MS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science and Philosophy. Currently she works for Smithsonian and contracts for Discovery Channel.

Sheetal R. Modi

Sheetal R. Modi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University where she studies how bacteria develop and spread antibiotic resistance. She has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and when she’s not growing her bacterial cultures (and repeatedly killing them), she enjoys science communication and being outside.



John Ohab

Dr. John Ohab is a digital communications strategist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Dr. Ohab provides policy and strategic communications guidance to NRL’s senior leadership and is responsible for integrating emerging technologies into public outreach activities. Before joining NRL, Dr. Ohab was a new technology analyst at the Department of Defense (DOD), where he provided research and evaluation of web technology initiatives for the DOD Public Web Program. He also led the award-winning outreach project, “Armed with Science,” a cross-agency effort to connect military scientists and engineers with the public using social media. In 2010, he was honored at the White House “Champions of Change” ceremony for his work on the Presidential Initiative, Data.gov. Dr. Ohab is committed to pursuing creative endeavors that connect the scientific community and the general public. He is a founding member of SciStarter, a startup company that enables everyday people to participate in real scientific research projects. He also wrote and acted in a teacher development video series produced by Sangari Active Science, an inquiry-based K-5 science program. Dr. Ohab was twice selected as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serving at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the National Institute of Mental Health. He received his B.S. in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA.


Arvind Suresh

Arvind Sureh is a graduate student in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology at the University of Pittsburgh. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology, India. For his thesis, he has been studying the molecular mechanisms behind uterine contraction during pregnancy. He is also an information addict, gobbling up everything he can find on and off the internet. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science, and following that interest led him to SciStarter. Outside the lab and the classroom, he can be found behind the viewfinder of his camera. www.suresharvind.com

Ian Vorster

Ian Vorster has a MS in Environmental Communications and most recently served as director of communications at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. Prior to that he worked in the health communications field. Ian has served as a designer, writer, photographer, editor and project leader in the field of science, and now works freelance in a blend of these roles. You can see more of Ian's work at dragonflyec.com.




Join Us

We're looking for volunteer contributors and interns! If you interested in science, Web publishing, and being part of an exciting, creative new venture, send a note describing your qualifications to info@scistarter.com.

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