Meet the Moms

Lego figure representations of each of the six SciMoms.
Each of the SciMoms is an accomplished science communicator in her own right, and they have joined forces to communicate a wide range of topics to new audiences.

Learn more about Alison Bernstein, Anastasia Bodnar, Layla Katiraee, Kavin Senapathy, Jenny Splitter, and Natalie Newell.


Alison Bernstein

Alison Bernstein Alison is a neuroscientist who studies Parkinson’s disease, epigenetics and neurotoxicology. Alison has BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior, with a minor in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She has PhD in Biology and Biomedical Sciences from Washington University, where she was in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics program, but did her dissertation in a Neuroscience lab. She did two postdoctoral fellowships at Emory University, receiving additional training in neurotoxicology, neuroscience and epigenetics. She is now an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University.

Outside of work, Alison is a mom of two. She loves to cook, play tennis, do crafts, read bad scifi novels and sleep late (which rarely happens). Read Alison’s writing on SciMoms.

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Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia BodnarAnastasia is a science communicator with a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. She serves as the Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc, a non-profit organization that fosters conversation about issues in food and agriculture.

Anastasia’s career in federal government spanned public health, risk assessment, and risk communication. She worked in preventive medicine in the US Army, as a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and in agricultural biotechnology regulation and environmental compliance at the US Department of Agriculture in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

She is now a full time parent. She enjoys spending time with her family, learning and writing about biotechnology and agriculture, reading scifi, playing board games, and exploring Des Moines and surrounding areas. You can find Anastasia’s full origin story on SciMoms and her past writing at Biofortified. Read Anastasia’s writing on SciMoms.

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Layla Katiraee

Layla KatiraeeAs of March 2018, Layla is currently back in school at Penn State, where she is studying Applied Bioinformatics. Prior to 2018, Layla was a staff scientist in sequencing product development. She had been working in this particular segment of the biotech sector since 2008 and had been working on developing technologies that analyze a subset of genes in the human genome since 2014. She has a PhD in human molecular genetics from the University of Toronto, and a honors bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario in biochemistry.

Having lived in three different continents, Layla has a multi-cultural background. She is a mom to a kindergartener, which is how she became interested in the topic of GMOs. She outlines her learning on the topic of transgenic crops at her blog, FrankenFoodFacts. She writes and creates infographics for Biology Fortified, and also writes at Medium. Read Layla’s writing on SciMoms.

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Kavin Senapathy

Kavin SenapathyKavin is the co-founder of international pro-science, pro-biotech movement March Against Myths, and co-author of The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House, a book discussing popular food misconceptions and why they proliferate in the face of mountains of evidence against them. She has a passion for refuting myths popular in the wild internet west, with topics including genomics, health, food, and biotechnology. A regular contributor to Forbes, SELF Magazine, and Grounded Parents, Kavin’s work has also appeared in Slate and other outlets.

She is a mom of two young kids, and strives to raise safe, healthy and happy critical thinkers. Read Kavin’s writing on SciMoms.

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Jenny Splitter

Jenny SplitterJenny is a writer based in Washington, D.C. She covers science, food, and health for outlets like The Washington Post, Slate, New York Magazine, Parents, and Mental Floss, and serves as Story Director for the immersive experience company TBD Immersive. She also performs her own true, occasionally embarrassing stories about herself on stage, most often with DC’s Story District, for audiences at the 9:30 Club, the National Gallery of Art and the Birchmere.

In her spare time, she carves ice sculptures and grows heirloom wheat. Just kidding, she has two kids. Read Jenny’s writing on SciMoms.

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Natalie Newell

Natalie NewellNatalie is the director and producer of the Science Moms documentary, and producer and co-host of The Science Enthusiast PodcastNatalie holds an MEd., and worked for a decade in the field of Montessori education before choosing to become a stay-at-home parent, while simultaneously pursuing her interests in the areas of science communication and secular activism.

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