Advancing the Art of Science Communication

Our Team

Jayne Mackta | Founder/Creative Director

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.

Bunny Jaskot | Program Coordinator

Bunny has more than 30 years of experience in the life science classroom and has held leadership roles in national and state professional development associations. She thrives on life-long learning experiences, especially collaborating with the creative, inspirational, and multi-talented “movers and shakers” at cSw.

Deb Gottsleben | Information & Digital Literacy Consultant

Debra is a 12 year veteran high school library media specialist & adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. Her expertise resides in helping students through the research process by finding and evaluating current, accurate, and reliable resources that best suit their needs. Debbie’s most recent interest is in using social media as a scientific communication vehicle to help patients find, manage, and access health resources.

Merry Brennan | Science Communications Consultant

Merry is an award-winning writer, communications consultant, educator and artist. She is thrilled to share these passions with cSw’s young communicators, who will inherit the great privilege and challenge of helping people – from grocery clerks to governors – understand science and how it impacts every area of our lives.

Aparna Ragupathi | Chief Editor

Aparna, who is currently a senior at High Technology High School (NJ), has been part of cSw for three years as both a writer and team editor. Having been an advocate for STEM education throughout high school, she is very excited to serve as Chief Editor and work with the cSw staff to promote scientific literacy.

Akila Saravanan | Assistant Chief Editor

Akila, a junior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (NJ), has been involved with cSw as a writer in the past and is currently the chief editor-in-training at cSw. Science is her passion and she has competed at the State and National levels of the Science Olympiad competition. Akila deeply cares about the environment and is the president of her school’s Environment Club as well as an active member of her district’s Green Team. Her hobbies include playing the violin, piano, and golf. Besides cSw, Akila also writes articles for Youngzine, an online current events magazine for kids.

Wendy Wu | Assistant Chief Editor

A junior at High Technology High School, Wendy has been an editor in cSw for three years. In school, she is the junior editor for Creative Arts Club. Wendy is also actively involved in her community. She has hosted STEM workshops as a National Youth Leader in Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots. She loves to use her writing skills and artistic talents to make a difference.

Sreya Das | Creative Team Coordinator

As the Creative Team Coordinator, Sreya uses her enthusiasm for STEM and art to lead the group of graphics editors in finding and creating meaningful images for published articles. She is currently a senior at Marlboro High School (NJ) and has been with cSw since she was a freshman as a graphic editor, a contributing writer, and a Social Media Coordinator. In addition to cSw, Sreya is a PennApps campus ambassador, and loves studying languages, reading anything and everything from Scientific American to Murakami, and playing the piano.

Laura Vorbach | Social Media Manager

Laura, an enthusiastic junior at Biotechnology High School (NJ), is grateful to be cSw’s Social Media Manager (SMM). As SMM, her role is to generate interesting new post ideas and increase cSw’s following, both of which she feels ready and able to do using what she learned last year as a Social Media Coordinator and assistant editor. Outside of cSw, Laura loves to write, volunteer, and is Co-President of her student body.

Cathy Berse-Hurley | Digital Design Director

Cathy develops web, print, and product design for small businesses and non-profits at CBHstudio. She feels that design works best in a collaborative environment and is excited to learn from creative high school students. She contributes digital savvy and design expertise to help cSw engage with a growing audience and help readers make sense of emerging bioscience.

Faculty Advisory Board

Erin Colfax

Erin Colfax is a science educator and research explorer, who has spent the past two decades conducting international research projects while traveling throughout the seven continents. Her passions include writing science poetry, gardening, and helping others develop their life passions. Erin’s interest in cSw is fueled by unpacking abstract science concepts and making them more concrete for everyone to understand.

Michael T. Roche

Mike has the pleasure of working as a science teacher and research advisor at one of the nation’s top ranked STEM schools. He served for six years as a board member for NCSSSMST, now NCSSS, the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools where he had the opportunity to visit and interact with many other STEM educators from across the nation who constantly experiment with ways to meet the needs of these STEM-focused students. His involvement with cSw helps to provide opportunities for his students to explore and develop their research skills and effectiveness as communicators.

Sarah Gross

Sarah is a National Board Certified English teacher at one of the nation’s top-ranked STEM schools. She is a contributor to the New York Times Learning Network and her writing has appeared in Scientific American, Edutopia, ASCD, and The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet. Co-vice president of the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English and active in the National Council of Teachers of English, Sarah is passionate about helping her students become great science communicators and loves the opportunities provided by cSw. She is currently pursuing a Masters in biology through Miami University and the Wildlife Conservation Society.