Our Team

2020-2021 Student Editorial Team


Shivani Patel
Chief Editor

Shivani Patel published her first story for cSw in 2019 and shares that “the ideal mix of writing’s creativity and science’s objectivity make writing for cSw an amazing experience.” Shivani is in her senior year at Biotechnology High School next year. She is also Co-President of her high school student government and a dedicated Girl Scout. She is a New Jersey Governor STEM Scholar and attends a science vocational school.

Lasya Balachandran
Team Editor

Lasya Balachandran is a senior at High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ, and is very excited to be an editor this year. Previously a writer for Curious Science Writers, she strongly believes in the value of conveying complex scientific concepts to the public through storytelling and looks forward to working with writers to create engaging articles. Outside of cSw, Lasya is actively involved in conducting scientific research, solving math and physics problems, and writing. She also enjoys playing for the Marlboro High School varsity tennis team, playing the viola, and hiking at national parks.

Justin Huang
Team Editor

Justin is a rising senior at Mason High School which is near Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a team editor for Curious Science Writers. He looks forward to learning how to publish research in an alternate, fun; and interesting way that appeals to various audiences!

Mercedes Pierce
Team Editor

Mercedes Pierce is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland and is thrilled be a team editor on cSw’s 2020 editing team. Her passion for writing along with her curiosity for scientific research has developed into a love for science communications. She hopes to help break down the gate between the scientific community and non-experts. Outside of cSw, she is a sports editor for her school’s newspaper and a ballet dancer. If she isn’t writing or dancing, you may find her at a baseball game, in a political debate or watching a rom-com with friends.

Siddharth Satish
Team Editor

Siddharth Satish is a junior attending West Windsor Plainsboro High School North in NJ and is ecstatic to serve as a team editor. He always looks forward to reading pieces and working with writers to help them discover their own unique voice. Outside of cSw he competes in debate competitions and serves as the state president-elect for a student-led medical organization called HOSA. In the future, he plans on pursuing a degree in health economics or global health policy.

Sydney Yan
Team Editor

Sydney Yan is a senior from Biotechnology High School, New Jersey. She looks forward to being a team editor this year and is excited to explore science communication. Sydney believes in the importance of scientific literacy and hopes to spread scientific understanding in an engaging and approachable way. Outside of cSw, Sydney is active in many of her school’s science clubs. She enjoys playing the violin, doing physics problems, and eating hotpot in her free time. In the future, she hopes to major in biomedical engineering and enact change in her community.


Maya Hofstetter
Creative Team Manager

Maya Hofstetter is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is the Creative Team Manager for Curious Science Writers. She also works as a graphic designer and writer for the program. This is her first year with cSw, and she is thrilled to be working to communicate science with such a talented group. Outside of cSw, she works at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. as an Explainer, where she works to bring science and history to thousands of visitors. When she isn’t writing or designing you can find her outside, working in her garden.

Daniela Benoit
Graphic Designer

Daniela is a rising sophomore at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey. She is one of the graphic designers for the Curious Science Writers. She joined the program in hopes to learn more about how to create illustration pieces that help benefit in the understanding of the articles that go with them while keeping it informal and eye-catching.

Bebe Lemanowicz
Graphic Designer

Bebe is a sophomore at Gwynedd Mercy Academy Highschool in Pennsylvania; and this is her first year being on the cSw program. As a part of the new graphic design team, she enjoys the challenge of finding and creating graphics that complement the articles well. Outside of cSw, she plays piano and guitar, along with being a part of her school’s student council, annual musical, chorale, tennis team, and art club.

Adwaith Hariharan
Graphic Designer

Adwaith Hariharan is a sophomore at Biotechnology High School in New Jersey. He joined the program as a writer and was invited to join the editorial team. As a STEM enthusiast, he is passionate about breaking down the barriers of complexity in science communication through effective and engaging storytelling. He’d like to master the art behind the science of making scientific information accessible to a larger range of population. Outside of cSw, he is actively involved in increasing STEM education and inclusion in his community, scientific research, school newspaper, trekking and traveling.


Karishma Goswami
Social Media Team Manager

Karishma Goswami from Monta Vista High School, California has always believed in bettering the community by spreading awareness and educating others. She is very active in youth outreach programs and gives presentations at high schools and summer camps on climate change and climate science. Furthermore, she is a social media team leader for a climate organization, where she manages their youth Instagram feed and is launching a youth section for their blog. She has also published several letters to the editor in major newspapers. She was recently invited to speak on a panel at a national climate conference as well. To hone her science communication skills further, she joined the CsW program. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and has won multiple junior tennis championships. Outside school, you will find her spending time with her friends and family, traveling, or cooking.

Arca Baran
Social Media Coordinator

Arca is a rising sophomore from High Technology High School in New Jersey. He joined the program as a writer and is also on the social media team. He is interested in computer science, gaming, technology, and writing. Arca has a technology blog which has been runnign for over 6 years with over 190 thousand views! He enjoys writing and publishing his own work. He joined the program in hopes to step out of his comfort zone (writing about about biology or research) in order to grow as a writer and a communicator.

Simran Gohel
Social Media Coordinator

Simran is a junior at Biotechnology High School. This is her first year in Curious Science Writers as a social media coordinator and writer! She is the social chair on her school’s student council and is on her Model UN board. One of her favorite activities is being a Girl Scout. She is am currently working on her Gold Award. Simran also likes doing karate and rock climbing. She chose to join Curious Science Writers to combine her love for writing with her passion for science!

Spencer Lyudovyk
Social Media Coordinator

Spencer is a rising sophomore at High Technology High School in New Jersey. He joined the program to improve upon his researching skills and learn how to effectively write/communicate about science. He was also invited to join the social media team.

Faculty Advisory Board

Jim Newman
Editorial Faculty Advisor

Jim Newman serves as director of strategic communications for Americans for Medical Progress, where he leads AMP’s media and communications. In the past, Jim was the director of external communications for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the director of media relations for Oregon Health & Science University and OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center. Jim has also worked as an account supervisor at KGBTexas Communications, a highly-regarded PR and marketing firm in Texas, with offices in San Antonio and Houston. Jim’s other professional experience includes nearly a decade of work as a television news producer in the following media markets: Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; South Bend, Indiana; and Lansing, Michigan.

Alisa Zapp Machalek
Science Writer Consultant

Alisa Zapp Machalek is a science communicator at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. She creates a variety of products—feature articles, profiles, social media posts, videos, quizzes, posters, and crossword puzzles—to explain cutting-edge biomedical research. She aims to make the science understandable and interesting to the public (which, after all, is paying for it). Occasionally, she gets juicy projects such as creating an exhibit of stunning microscopy photos for display in an art gallery inside Washington Dulles International Airport. Alisa earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in biochemistry and conducted research in 10 different laboratories before she realized she liked explaining science more than actually doing it. She received formal training through the science writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Paula Clifford
Program Coordinator

Paula Clifford serves as the executive director for Americans for Medical Progress (AMP), a non-profit organization that provides innovative programs to provide information to the public about biomedical research and the important role animals have in advancing medicine and science. Previously, she worked for the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) where she led efforts to provide educational programs about biomedical research for K-12 students.  Her past professional roles include; Co-founder and Vice President of Operations for Animal Care Training Services (ACTS); and Veterinary Technician and then Training Manager at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Paula received a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University and an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Camden County College.  She is a Pennsylvania Licensed Veterinary Technician (CVT) and is certified by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) as a Registered Laboratory Animal Technologist (RLATG

Jayne Mackta

Jayne has devoted her adult life to advocating for families affected by genetic disorders and promoting public understanding of biomedical research. Since her first job out of college with the Encyclopedia Americana where she reduced lengthy articles to single paragraphs, she has searched for the secret of saying more in fewer words. A fierce enemy of jargon, Jayne delights in coaching young editors in the art of deleting words that obscure meaning.

2020-2021 Student Editorial Team

Sophie Zhang | Chief Editor

Sophie Zhang is a rising senior from High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ. Previously a writer and editor for Curious Science Writers, Sophie feels fortunate to be able to marry her interests in scientific research and storytelling. In the future, she hopes to major in chemical engineering and eventually open her own laboratory. In her free time, Sophie loves hiking outdoors and baking yummy treats with her siblings.

Mary Chen | Editor

Mary Chen is a senior at High Technology High School who is excited to be on the cSw team as an editor! She believes in the importance of making STEM education and pressing scientific issues accessible to the public and looks forward to helping writers effectively articulate their research. Outside of cSw, she is active in her school’s Technology Student Association, Christian fellowship, and Finance club, and enjoys volunteering at local hospices by playing the piano and singing for residents. 

Shivani Patel | Editor

I am a junior at Biotechnology High School and am excited for my second year at cSw. The ideal mix of writing’s creativity and science’s objectivity make cSw an amazing experience that I will always return to. Beyond cSw I am Co-President of my high school student government and a dedicated Girl Scout. In the realm of STEM, I am a New Jersey Governor STEM Scholar and attend a science vocational school. As a former writer for cSw, I enjoyed researching and learning the specifics of my topic. For this upcoming year, I look forward to being an editor who gets to read all the new pieces that I know my peers have have worked hard on to produce.

Macafie Bobo | Creative Team Co-Manager

My name is Macafie Bobo and I am the Creative Team manager at curiousSCIENCEwriters. I am a senior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. This is my third year participating in CSW, and I have enjoyed learning about a variety of science topics as well as how to communicate these complex ideas through different forms of media. I have watched the program grow and change in my years at CSW, and hope that the new generation of writers, editors and graphic designers will gain as much as I have in their creative processes.

Aparna Kumar | Creative Team Co-Manager

Aparna Kumar is a senior at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey. She understands the importance of conveying STEM ideas in an approachable and understandable way, and is happy to have served as a graphic designer for Curious Science Writers since her freshman year of high school. Beyond cSw, she dances Bharatanatyam (a type of classical Indian dance) and is a Girl Scout who works towards increasing STEM education in her community. In her free time, Aparna loves to read and talk about books.

Kelly Qiang | Social Media Team Co-Manager

Kelly is a senior at High Technology High School who loves to promote cSw and STEM. She hopes to use social media to raise awareness in ongoing scientific research as well as to promote the amazing articles that cSw creates. She believes in the transformational power of STEM and its growing importance in education and our daily lives.  Outside of cSw, she is actively involved in a variety of activities such as scientific research, VEX Robotics, Technology Student Association, and varsity swimming.

Erin Quinn | Web Designer & Social Media Team Co-Manager

Erin, a senior at Biotechnology High School (NJ), is excited to be back as part of the cSw team for her third year! Following years of independent web design and computer science work, she loves that she is able to put her skills to work, especially at cSw. Outside of cSw, Erin is an advocate for young students learning more about STEM, and encourages them to do research outside of the classroom to develop knowledge in their interests. Erin is also the MAS JSA Director of Technology, the President of her school’s Environmental Club, the Secretary of her class council, and the founder of her school’s Health and Fitness Club. She is so happy to be a part of cSw, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this organization!