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 an agricultural risk assessor and 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 has spanned public health, risk assessment, and risk communication. She worked in preventive medicine in the US Army, and as a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. At the USDA, Anastasia has worked in regulation of agricultural biotechnology, environmental compliance of pest management programs, as a senior science advisor for agricultural trade, and most recently in regulation of pesticides.

Anastasia has a very busy first grader who also likes learning about science and agriculture. 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 KatiraeeLayla is a product development scientist in DNA sequencing. She had been working in this particular segment of the biotech sector since 2008 and has been working on developing technologies that analyze a subset of genes in the human genome since 2014. Her entire work history is publicly available on LinkedIn. She has a PhD in human molecular genetics from the University of Toronto, graduate certificate in applied bioinformatics from Penn State, 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 one awesome kid, 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 Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a writer, journalist, and speaker. She covers science, health, food, and parenting. Her writing has appeared in outlets like Slate, The Daily Beast, Undark, SELF, and Forbes, and she is the co-founder and contributing editor at SciMoms.com.  She has also spoken to a variety of audiences ranging from tens to thousands worldwide. She’s a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

She currently lives in quarantine in Madison, Wisconsin (ope!) with her husband Jesse, their 4th grader and 2nd grader, and their dogs Luna and Sebastian. When she’s not working, Kavin enjoys reading, writing, having friends over (in the before times), giving (mostly) solicited advice, watching music videos, and traveling. Causes and issues she cares about include:

  • Bodily autonomy and informed choice in healthcare for women, nonbinary people, and BIPOC
  • Power dynamics in science
  • Mental health
  • Black Lives
  • Pseudoscience, pseudoscience injustice, scientism, and science injustice
  • Secularism

Read Kavin’s writing on SciMoms.

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Jenny Splitter

Jenny SplitterJenny is an independent journalist and writer based in Washington, D.C. She covers food, agriculture, science and climate for outlets including Forbes, Civil Eats, Observer, OneZero, The Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, New York Magazine and Mental Floss. Her story on cultured meat, Please Don’t Call This Cultured Nugget ‘Lab Meat’ for Popular Mechanics, won the 2020 ASJA award in the Food & Beverage category. Passionate about science communication and storytelling, she has led discussions for the National Academies of Science’s LabX, the Breakthrough Institute, SynBioBeta, Prepare.ai, the Reducetarian Summit and the Museum of Science Fiction.

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 has worked for a decade in Montessori education, while simultaneously pursuing her interests in the areas of science communication and secular activism.

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