Science and Medical Journalism Students and Alumni

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Graduating Class of 2017

Yasmine Bendaas EvansYasmin Bendaas 

Yasmin Bendaas received her bachelor of arts in anthropology in 2013 from Wake Forest University where she double-minored in journalism and Middle East and South Asia studies. As an undergraduate student, she conducted fieldwork in Algeria's Aurès Mountains region that centered on the symbolic meaning, contribution to identity, and reasons for disappearance of traditional facial tattoos among the indigenous Chaouia. Bendaas conducted this research as a student fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Her research was also published in Al Jazeera English, Your Middle East, and The Huffington Post.

As an undergraduate student, Bendaas interned at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust through Wake Forest's Institute for Public Engagement. She continued to work for the Trust after graduation. The Trust is a statewide grantmaker focused on rural health, including access to primary care, diabetes, community-centered prevention, and mental health and substance abuse. Her work there fostered the interest in rural public health that she has today.

As a master's student in science and medical journalism, Bendaas wants to develop her science writing skills and continue to share undertold stories. Her primary research interests remain focused on Algeria.

Rossie Izlar

Rossie Izlar

Rossie Izlar graduated from Appalachian State University in 2013 with a bachelor of science degree in sustainable development. She’s spent the last three years driving trucks and freelance writing about soil, crop and environmental science.

While completing her master’s program, Izlar worked as communications intern for the North Carolina Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, a health-centered, non-profit incubator in Cary, N.C. Izlar, a native North Carolinian, loves swamps, public spaces, pizza and books. She says she’s excited to diversify her skills and interests by completing the science and medical journalism program at the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

 

Graduating Class of 2016

Alasdair WilkinsAlasdair Wilkins

After earning his B.A. from Harvard University in 2010 with a double major in history and science (with a specialization in human evolutionary biology) and archaeology, Wilkins worked for nearly two years as reporter for io9, Gawker Media’s science fiction and futurism site. In this capacity, he primarily wrote about science, with a particular emphasis on explanatory features on ongoing news events, background primers on general science topics and research-based pieces on unusual events and figures from the history of science.

In the last two years, Wilkins has worked as a freelance writer, with his work ranging from news briefs for the diabetes patient newsletter diaTribe to TV reviews for The A.V. Club, the pop culture section of The Onion. During his time in college, he gained broadcasting experience as a member of the sports department at WHRB, Harvard’s student radio station. He worked as a features producer and as an announcer, including providing color commentary and play-by-play for three Harvard-Yale football games.

Primarily interested in print storytelling, Wilkins is now working to build the reporting and narrative tools needed both to write incisive breaking news and to craft long-form explorations of topics across the entire scientific and medical spectrum.

 

Graduating Class of 2014

Courtni KopietzCourtni Kopietz

Courtni Kopietz is a communications specialist for the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, Wis. Kopietz promotes the research, programs and ideas of the Morgridge Institute, a non-profit biomedical research organization, through multimedia news and feature stories, social media management, community outreach, and web projects.

Kopietz received a B.S. in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. As part of the science and medical journalism master's program at UNC-Chapel Hill, Kopietz reported for stemwire.org through the Journalism School’s Reese Digital News Lab. She produced health and science reports for the campus television news program, Carolina Week, as well as a short environmental documentary for UNC-TV. Kopietz also performed communication work for the NC Foundation for Advanced Health Programs in Cary, N.C.

Dan LaneDan Lane

Lane is a storyteller interested in covering all things science, health and environment for a general audience. He currently works as an associate producer for the North Carolina Science NOW project at North Carolina Public Television (UNC-TV), where he blogs about the latest research from around North Carolina.

Lane earned his M.A. from the UNC Science and Medical Journalism Program in 2014 as a Roy H. Park Fellow. His work there focused on coastal issues related to sea-level rise. Prior to that, Lane earned a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Rochester in 2012, and spent a fifth year there studying fiction and storytelling as part of the Take 5 Scholars Program.

 

Graduating Class of 2013

Patrick MustainPatrick Mustain

After spending four years in the U.S. Navy, Patrick went back to his hometown to complete an undergraduate degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then moved to beautiful Minneapolis to work on a master’s degree from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. In 2011 he entered the science and medical journalism program after his first semester at UNC. Throughout this time he has worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and health consultant.

Mustain is especially interested in how commercialization shapes the way people think about and pursue health, especially in the fitness, nutrition and weight-loss realms. His other areas of interest include food advertising and policy, obesity prevention, health promotion, the effects of media consumption on health, consumer advocacy, outdoor recreation and fitness, parks, environmental determinants of health behavior, biking, climbing, snowboarding and food.

Patrick is currently a Communications Manager at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. He manages internal and external communications duties and works with various Rudd Center teams to promote and disseminate Rudd Center research and advocacy initiatives. Patrick also has a number of freelance video and writing projects that can be found at his website, patrickmustain.com, including work from his position as a regular contributor for Scientific American's Food Matters blog.

 

Graduating Class of 2012

Kelly IzlarKelly Izlar

In life after grad school, Izlar has increasingly enjoyed combining her love of writing with her interest in science. She relocated to the mountains of southwest Virginia and works as the communications coordinator for the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, a program that raises the standard of living of people in developing nations by working with them to find sustainable solutions to agricultural problems. Previously, Izlar spent six months at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, communicating the involvement of the U.S. in the Large Hadron Collider project and contributing to Symmetry magazine.

During her wonderful stint as a Tar Heel, she was the editor-in-chief for the Emmy-nominated Powering a Nation project, 100Gallons. She has also blogged about water for Scientific American. She also received a research fellowship from North Carolina Space Grant to work with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to help develop a multimedia boot camp for science communicators. 

Before coming to UNC, she earned a degree in applied physics from Appalachian State University, where she researched exoplanet host stars at the Dark Sky Observatory on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Stephanie Soucheray-GrellStephanie Soucheray-Grell

Stephanie Soucheray-Grell is a native of St. Paul, Minn. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2007 with a degree in English and history where she wrote on the history of medicine and the rise of the "man-midwife" (today's OB-GYN) for her senior thesis.  After graduation, she worked for the Northfield News and was a production assistant for Minnesota Public Radio, where she worked on "Midmorning with Kerri Miller" and American Public Media's "American RadioWorks." She has written rock concert reviews for The St. Paul Pioneer Press and humorous columns on life as an expatriate for various English publications in Germany. At the end of her first year in the master's program, she was awarded the Maxwell Graduate Scholarship in Medical Journalism. Then, in the summer Soucheray-Grell worked as the writing intern at the Yale School of Medicine.

Soucheray-Grell has a love of long-form storytelling and hopes her years at Carolina allow her to grow as a freelance science and medical writer. She looks forward to specializing within journalism and hopes to bring her curious eye to the health stories that matter most to readers. 

 

Graduating Class of 2011

Carrie GannCarrie Gann

Carrie Gann is a production assistant for the medical unit at ABC News in New York. She writes stories for the health section of ABCNews.com and develops other digital content for the medical team. Before she graduated from Carolina, Gann worked for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Washington, D.C. writing for the membership magazine and assisting with the website.

Gann earned her undergraduate degree from Emory University in 2006, double-majoring in neuroscience/behavioral biology and journalism. As a student at Carolina, Gann worked as an intern for "The Story with Dick Gordon" at WUNC-FM and for CNN's medical bureau in Atlanta.

Anne JohnsonAnne Frances Johnson

 Anne Frances Johnson runs a small science communications business called Creative Science Writing. With a strong track record in translating complex scientific information into engaging, user-friendly stories, Anne and her team serve a range of clients including academic researchers, professional societies, companies and non-profits. Past projects include designing the award-winning educational game Extreme Event, leading media outreach activities for several large annual meetings and providing strategic guidance and content for major website overhauls. Anne earned her M.A. in science and medical journalism as a Roy H. Park Fellow at UNC and received her B.A. in biology from Smith College. She is a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism National Honor Society and was awarded the Maxwell Graduate Scholarship and the Peter Lars Jacobson Award in Medical Journalism.

 

Graduating Class of 2009

Prashant Nair
Prashant Nair

Prashant Nair is a science writer at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Signed into existence by President Lincoln in 1863, the National Academies are today comprised of four organizations that advise the federal government and the public on matters related to science, engineering and medicine. One of the world’s most-cited scientific journals, PNAS publishes research articles, commentaries, reviews and perspectives on a raft of topics.

Nair was a Pfizer Minority Medical Journalism Scholar and graduated from the science and medical journalism program in May 2009. His writing has appeared in a range of publications, including Nature Medicine, New Scientist, Science and local newspapers and magazines in Chapel Hill. During the summer of 2008, Nair was a science writing intern at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a teaching affiliate of Harvard University, Boston, Mass. He also completed a health reporting internship with North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC in Durham, N.C.

In addition to a Master of Arts degree in medical journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nair holds a Master of Sciences degree in life sciences from Bharathidasan University, India, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Nair’s published articles:

'Walk again' drugs to be tested on people, New Scientist, February 2006
Cocaine-triggered brain changes reversed in rodents, New Scientist, April 2006

Mind Reading Is Child's Play, Science Now, June 2006
Ban the Sweets, Stop the Shakes, Science Now, October 2006

 

Graduating Class of 2008

Julia Connors Soplop
Julia Connors Soplop

Julia Connors Soplop is a writer and photographer based in Raleigh, N.C. In 2012, she launched Calm Cradle Photo & Design, which offers nature and children’s photography, as well as a blog about living the creative life.

Soplop was a Roy H. Park Fellow and graduated from the Medical Journalism Program at UNC in May 2008. She focused on maternal and child health, writing her master's thesis on the medical and ethical issues surrounding preterm birth and low birth weight.

A Minnesota native, Soplop received her B.A. in French Studies in 2004 from Duke University. She has held internships at National Geographic, Duke Magazine and the Summit Daily News, and her writing and photos have appeared in several other publications, including Skiing Magazine and The Chapel Hill News. Soplop also holds an interest in environmental issues and animal behavior. She has conducted primate behavioral research in Madagascar and studied sea turtle conservation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Soplop moved to Chapel Hill after spending two years in New York City working for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, where she managed grants, wrote features on grantee organizations and photographed Komen's New York City Race for the Cure.

Following graduate school, Soplop worked as a market analyst for RTI International, where her work focused on international health, particularly in Africa. She developed feature articles and marketing materials, conducted market research and wrote USAID proposals for the organization's international development group.

Maggie David Holley
Maggie DePano

Maggie David Holley is the owner and founder of Maven Science and Medical Communications, a content strategy and development business that helps life sciences companies tell stories that sell their science.

A native of the Philippines, Holley graduated in May 2008 from the UNC medical journalism program. She was the third recipient of the Pfizer Minority Medical Journalism Scholarship and the first international student to enter the program.

Holley worked previously as a science writer for the Duke Clinical Research Institute, a science writer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a freelance writer for several business and consumer publications. She now manages the efforts of a team of science writers with complementary expertise who collaborate on projects.

Holley holds a special interest in public health issues involving women, minorities, and the mentally ill. In 2004, a piece she wrote on cervical cancer incidence among Filipinos earned her a travel grant from the Australian Embassy, which sent her on a trip to Sydney so she could learn more about developments in the field of women's health.

She resides in Chapel Hill, N.C., with her husband Lester and stepson Naji.

Kelly Rae Chi
Kelly Rae Chi

Kelly Rae Chi is a freelance science and technology journalist whose writing has appeared in Scientific American, The Scientist, Nature Methods and other publications.

She was a Roy H. Park Fellow and graduated from the medical journalism program in May 2008. Her master’s thesis explored the psychology of the simple living movement.

In her first year in the program, Kelly was science writing fellow with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. At the planetarium, she wrote and edited text for a new science exhibit for children, called "Zoom In," about the size of science from cells to space. In the summer of 2007 after her first year in the program, she was a reporting intern with The Scientist, a life sciences trade magazine based in Philadelphia.

Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and physiology from Purdue University in 2003. At Purdue, she worked in a research lab where she helped develop new methods to assess feeding behavior in mice.

After graduation from Purdue, Kelly attended graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she received a master’s degree in biology. Her master’s project examined the brain’s role in detecting hypoglycemia in rats. While at Illinois, she began writing for the student-run newspaper, The Daily Illini, and discovered her passion to write about science.

Kelly resides in Garner, N.C., with her husband and three cats.

Some of Chi's published articles:

“Experimental Prosthetic Surgery to Help One Dog Get a Leg Up,” Scientific American, August 2008

“The Year of Sequencing,” special feature in Nature Methods, January 2008

"Zoom In," Morehead Planetarium

Sarah Whitmarsh

Sarah Whitmarsh is the Senior Communication Program Officer for Advance Family Planning (AFP), an advocacy initiative that works to improve access to contraceptives for women in developing countries. She handles internal and external communications for AFP, which is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her work supports the efforts of family planning advocates in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

After graduating from the Medical Journalism program as a Roy H. Park Fellow in 2008, Whitmarsh lived in London for two years, working in an education-focused research center associated with the School of Pharmacy, University of London and the International Pharmaceutical Federation in The Hague, Netherlands. There she developed an interest in international health, returning to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue a career in global health writing in Washington, DC.

A native of Savannah, Ga., Whitmarsh attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where she received her bachelor's of science in microbiology in 2006. She currently resides in Baltimore.

 

Graduating Class of 2007

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly Davis was a Roy H. Park Fellow who received her master's degree from the medical journalism program in May 2007.

In December 2003, Molly received her B.S. through an interdisciplinary program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Her depth study was Scientific Writing and Philosophy of Science. Her degree combined the core biology coursework with additional emphases on environmental science, the philosophy of science, bioethics and non-fiction writing.

In order to broaden her experience in environmental policy and research, she traveled extensively between semesters. In Australia, she lived at a field station in the rainforest, where she participated in a tropical reforestation project that intensely examined the local ecology and climate, as well as the resultant conflicts over land usage..

After receiving her undergraduate degree, she entered the Americorps program as a construction crew leader in the Habitat for Humanity affiliate that serves Chapel Hill. She worked with a wide range of community members, from college-aged to retired volunteers, from homeowners whose families had occupied the same Chapel Hill neighborhood for generations to those who had recently immigrated from all over the world. Her experience at Habitat helped inform her desire to learn more languages and to bring attention to the efforts of international humanitarian non-profits.

Yasmeen Khan

Yasmeen KhanYasmeen Khan writes for WNYC in New York.

Before her move to New York, she was a producer for the "All Things Considered" broadcast at North Carolina Public Radio — WUNC. She also helped WUNC's news department start Public Insight Network, a project devoted to bringing more citizen voices into reporting.

Khan graduated from the medical journalism program in 2007 as the second recipient of the Pfizer Minority Medical Journalism Scholarship.

While a medical journalism master's student, Khan completed a health reporting internship in the WUNC news department. During her internship she covered a domestic violence story that won an award from the Public Radio News Directors competition in the category of student newscast spot reporting.

Khan received a B.A. in sociology from Brandeis University in 2001. She continued her interest in international health by working for Pathfinder International, a Boston-based health organization focusing on reproductive and maternal and child health programs abroad.

In 2003, Khan moved to Lima to work for the Pathfinder, Peru field office. For one year she assisted in managing local projects and initiated a pilot program for health interventions of gender-based violence. Khan has also held jobs as a bartender, toll collector and dish washer.

Kate Schoen Vidinsky
Kate Schoen

Kate Vidinsky is currently a senior public information representative at the University of California, San Francisco. There she handles media relations and communications for UCSF Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics. Vidinsky works closely with major regional and national news outlets to inform the public about new research and clinical advances in pediatric care.

Previously, Vidinsky worked in communications at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park, Calif., a national health philanthropy dedicated to providing information and analysis on health issues to policymakers, the media and the general public. Her work at Kaiser focused on communications related to HIV/AIDS, women's health policy and public opinion research.

She was a Roy H. Park Fellow who received a master's degree from the medical journalism program in May 2007.

A native Hoosier, Vidinsky received her bachelor's degree in clinical and experimental psychology from Indiana University in 2003. During her years at IU, she conducted independent research on the behavioral and social impairments related to the onset and persistent use of marital violence.

After graduation Vidinsky moved to New Haven, Conn., where she worked as a research assistant at the John B. Pierce Laboratory and Yale University School of Medicine. There she conducted psychophysical sensory neuroscience research, specifically focused on the brain mechanisms responsible for perceiving sensations of temperature and pain. She has presented her findings at an international conference of the Society for Neuroscience and co-authored papers in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Behavioural Brain Research.

It was Vidinsky's interest in communicating about science and medicine through the mass media that brought her to UNC. She says that she hopes her work will contribute to a greater understanding of current scientific research and an increased awareness of important medical issues.

 

Graduating Class of 2006

Subhashni Singh Joy

Subhashni D. Singh Joy is proposal writer for PRA International in Raleigh, N.C.

Joy was the first recipient of the Pfizer Minority Medical Journalism Scholarship. She graduated from the medical journalism program in May 2006. During her second year at UNC, she worked in the communications department at the UNC School of Public Health as well as at AlphaMed Press, which publishes two journals. After graduation, she continued working fo r AlphaMed Press as the production coordinator for the peer-reviewed journal, Stem Cells.

Joy received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Virginia in 2001. After graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for the Cosmetic Ingredient Review as a scientific analyst/writer. There, she compiled research and wrote safety assessments on ingredients in cosmetics, which were used to make recommendations to the cosmetic industry.

Joy's professional interests include improving health communication in minority and disadvantaged populations, particularly in relation to preventive medicine and holistic approaches to health. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and is an amateur photographer.

 

Graduating Class of 2005

Will Alexander
Will Alexander

Will Alexander is a writer and editor based in Chapel Hill. He graduated from the medical journalism program in 2006. Since graduation, Alexander has worked as a writer and editor for a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit specializing in reproductive health, and as a medical writer for a medical-education startup in Cary. He is also the co-author of a best-selling women’s health textbook.

Alexander earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 2000. His interests and areas of expertise include women’s health, how and why people smoke cigarettes, epidemiology, and infectious diseases. He also enjoys traveling, cooking and film. He lives with his wife Jessica and dog Clara.

 

 

Jeremy Ashton
Jeremy Ashton

Jeremy Ashton was a Roy H. Park Fellow who graduated in May 2005 from UNC’s medical journalism program.

Since November 2008, Ashton has worked in the Office of Communications for the South Florida Water Management District, a regional government agency that oversees water resources in the southern portion of Florida. The District’s mission includes managing the water supply and flood control system for 7.7 million people and partnering with the federal government to restore America’s Everglades, the largest environmental restoration project in the United States’ history. Ashton’s current responsibilities with the District range from writing content for the agency’s website to helping manage its social media initiative on Twitter.

A native of Edenton, N.C., Ashton graduated in 1997 from the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics. In 2002, he received a B.S. in biochemistry from N.C. State University, where he also minored in journalism and covered sports for the student newspaper, Technician.

Ashton was a reporter for the Lincoln Times-News in Lincolnton, N.C., for a year before attending UNC. After successfully completing the medical journalism program, he spent three years primarily as a government reporter for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, based in Stuart, Fla. His work experience also includes a two-month health reporting internship at WUNC-FM in 2005.

Ashton currently lives in Wellington, Fla., with his wife, Jennie, and their two Boston terriers.

Sonya Sutton

Sonya SuttonSonya Sutton is the communications specialist for the UNC Center of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP). She completed the medical journalism program in May 2005. She was a Roy H. Park Fellow and graduate research assistant on the Teen Media project for both years of the program.

Sutton coordinates the content of the HPDP website and social media outlets, publicity for HPDP activities and all internal communications activities for HPDP researchers. She also helps to coordinate the campus-wide Engaged Scholarship Seminar Series and manages the CBPR Training Core of the Carolina Community Network (CCN), a project focused on reducing health disparities in prostate, breast and colorectal cancers.

Sutton received a BSPH in health policy and administration (now health policy and management) from UNC in May 2000. After graduation, she worked at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, where she served as project manager for the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center. She co-authored several evidence reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, as well as reports on determining disability in speech and language disorders, management of bronchiolitis, CBPR, health literacy, and rating the strength and quality of scientific evidence.

Her interests include health communications, online communications, health literacy, preventive medicine and evidence-based practices.
 

 

Graduating Class of 2004

Amanda Crowe

Amanda CroweAmanda Crowe, M.A., M.P.H., runs IMPACT Health Communications, LLC. Throughout her career, she has gained practical expertise in strategic health communications, material and program development that aims to educate and impact consumer health behavior and perceptions, media advocacy, coalition building, health messaging and market research. She is also contributing writer or editor for a number of online health toolkits, newsletters and print publications.

Crowe earned her M.A. in medical journalism as a Park Fellow in 2004 and an M.P.H. in 2005, both at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been retained by a number of organizations to develop educational materials, conduct market research (e.g., focus groups, field-testing of materials), provide counsel on programming and media outreach, and advance the visibility of key health issues and initiatives. Her interests are in maternal and child health, infectious diseases, oncology, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pain management and preventive medicine. Her client base predominantly comprises non-profit health organizations and associations.

Before attending UNC, Crowe worked at Cooney Waters Group, a medical/health marketing communications firm based in New York City. In this capacity, she handled such issues as patient-physician communications, HIV drug resistance, disparities in childhood immunizations, meningitis on college campuses, data publicity, primary nocturnal enuresis and influenza and tetanus vaccine shortages. Through her work, Crowe secured important media placements and built alliances with nonprofit health organizations, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies.

Previously, Crowe served as a communications director for the American Cancer Society New England Division where she managed and executed all internal and external communications, including extensive media relations, large-scale public awareness campaigns and crisis communications efforts for the state of Connecticut. In addition, she managed all content and material development including patient education brochures, Web site copy, speeches, presentations, as well as the launch of two targeted newsletters.

Crowe is a member of the American Public Health Association, the National Association of Medical Communicators and the Health Care Marketing and Communications Council. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a bachelor of arts in Psychology and concentrations in Markets & Management and Television & Film Studies.

She is based outside of New York City.

Meaghan Hannan Davant

Meaghan DavantMeaghan Hannan Davant is an associate in the litigation department of WilmerHale. She joined the firm in 2004.

Davant focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on intellectual property disputes, including trademark, trade dress, patent, copyright and trade secret claims. She has been involved in nearly all facets of litigation, including discovery, settlement and alternative dispute resolution, and has represented clients in jury and bench trials in both state and federal courts, and before the US International Trade Commission. Davant also has an active pro bono practice.

Davant received her law degree, cum laude, from Duke University School of Law, where she served as the notes editor for the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. She was also a Roy H. Park Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she earned a master's degree in medical journalism. At UNC, Davant also served as a teaching assistant for various courses, including courses focusing on the First Amendment and the intersections between journalism and law. Davant received her B.A. from Princeton University.

Before attending law school, Davant was an associate producer with CBS News Productions in New York City, where she produced news segments for the CBS Nightly News, as well as political and historical documentaries for the History Channel’s 20th Century with Mike Wallace, and science and medical documentaries for the Discovery Channel.

Davant is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia, and before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Davant is a member of the American Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar Association.

Recent Highlights:

  • Defended a membership association comprised of schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations in a putative class action pending in Minnesota federal district court arising out of a scanning problem on a college entrance exam.
  • Represented semiconductor manufacturer in a Section 337 proceeding in the ITC.
  • Represented IT management software provider in breach of contract jury trial, resulting in unanimous favorable verdict and damages award.

Anton Zuiker

Anton Zuiker

Zuiker is director of communications for Duke University’s Department of Medicine. He lives in Carrboro, N.C.

Zuiker earned his master’s degree in medical journalism at UNC, where his thesis reporting project was a 12,000-word narrative magazine feature on a rise in HIV among college students in North Carolina.

A longtime blogger and an early adopter of social media, Zuiker was co-founder of ScienceOnline, an organization that gathered scientists, artists, journalists, bloggers, librarians, educators and students for demonstrations, discussions and debates about science on the Web. His writing can also be found at his personal site, Mister Sugar.

He organized the “Weblogs and Journalism” seminar for N.C. journalists in March 2004, the UNC “Narratives of HIV” series of media awareness events in spring 2004, the Triangle Bloggers Conference in February 2005 and the precursor to ScienceOnline, the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference in January 2007. He also has organized events around food blogging, storytelling and community building.

Zuiker spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, where he organized a multi-island solar electrification project. 

Anton spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, where he organized a multi-island solar electrification project. Anton administers multiple Web sites and blogs, including a personal blog at mistersugar.com and a N.C. blogger community site at blogtogether.org.

Learn more about Anton at mistersugar.com/about.

 

Graduating Class of 2003

Joy Harrington

Joy Buchanan

Joy Harrington (née Buchanan) is vice president at Knighten Health, a medical education company, where she manages all operations and develops digital content and CME products for health care professionals including mobile apps. Prior to Knighten, she was vice president, editorial operations at Millmark Education, where she oversaw the content production and digital delivery of science education materials for grades three through eight.

She was managing editor for HealthCentral.com, managing the development and delivery of content for more than 30 websites on chronic health conditions. Harrington was the consumer health reporter and columnist at The Tennessean in Nashville. Shortly after graduating from UNC, she was the health and health care business reporter for the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., where she won an Excel award for her reporting on the rising rates of HIV among young, black women in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. She also was part of the team that won a Virginia Press Association award for its reporting on the cost of being poor in Hampton Roads. Buchanan reported and wrote the piece about the cost of health care for poor people and for those who lacked insurance.

Harrington got her B.A. in English from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. She lives in Washington, D.C. 

Gretchen Decker

Gretchen DeckerGretchen Decker is managing editor for the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, a quarterly academic journal published by the American Sociological Association.

Decker graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2003 with a master's degree in medical journalism. She was a Park Fellow and received the Kathryn M. Cronin Academic Scholarship in Medical Journalism while at UNC.

Decker produced, wrote and edited a 30-minute documentary on mental health care reform in North Carolina for her master's thesis. The project looked at the history of mental health reform in the United States and the potential drawbacks to a plan for state reform that calls for the privatization of the mental health care system in North Carolina. The documentary aired in three parts on North Carolina public television.

While an intern, Decker produced two mini-documentaries for statewide public television. The second looked at new research out of UNC that linked where people live to how healthful their eating habits are. The piece won first place for in-depth reporting in the student competition of the southeastern chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

One week after graduating from UNC, Decker started working as an associate producer at WCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Charlotte. WCNC-TV is a top-30 market station that brings the best local news to the Charlotte area. The station's fast-paced newscasts emphasize breaking news and have won numerous journalism awards.

Decker is a graduate of Carleton College, where she received a bachelor of arts in history in 1995.

 

Graduating Class of 2002

Steven Baragona

Steven BaragonaSteve Baragona currently reports on food and agriculture for a developing-world audience of approximately 120 million at the Voice of America in Washington, D.C.

He began his career as a lab rat. After almost eight years working in biotechnology and basic research labs, Baragona discovered writing about science was much more satisfying than doing it. He enrolled in the inaugural class of UNC's master's program in medical journalism and graduated in May 2002.

While in graduate school, Baragona caught the radio bug working at North Carolina Public Radio WUNC. He won awards from Public Radio News Directors and the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication for pieces that aired on WUNC.

He also spent four and a half years as communications and public affairs officer for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a professional organization representing physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases.

Daniel Childs

Dan Childs

Dan Childs is managing editor for health and medical coverage for ABC News in New York City. Prior to this, he led the ABC News digital health team as health editor of ABCNews.com. He completed the UNC master's program in medical journalism in 2002. In 1999 he received a B.S. in biology with a minor in journalism from Wake Forest University.

In more than a decade of work as a medical journalist, Childs has produced medical news for print, broadcast and Internet venues. During his two years in the medical journalism program, Childs wrote medical news reports for MedMinute, a Duke University radio program, and assisted with Carolina Week, the UNC-Chapel Hill student-run television news program. Thanks to the medical journalism program, he was able to secure a summer position with the ABC News Medical Unit as a medical news researcher, gathering content for ABC's World News Tonight and Good Morning America. This summer job paved the way for his current position at ABC News.

Prior to joining ABC News, Childs was based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as editor and host of Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty, a tripartite media effort comprising a magazine, television program and website. The magazine and television show, which were the first of their kind in Asia, aimed to educate and inform Asian audiences on trends, issues and techniques in aesthetic surgery.

Before entering the medical journalism program at UNC-Chapel Hill, Childs was staff writer for The Daily Courier, a 12,000-circulation daily newspaper in Rutherford County, N.C. During his tenure as a Courier reporter, he covered the health, hospital and environmental beats; reported on city and county government; wrote a weekly column; and produced photos for the Courier as part-time photographer.

Childs resides with his wife Rina in Manhattan.

Tania Zeigler

Tania ZeiglerTania Zeigler

This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it works in corporate communications for Kaiser Permanente - Colorado Region, where she manages their quarterly magazine, Rocky Mountain Health, does media relations and provides media training to more than 4,500 clinical staff and physicians. She is passionate about reaching wide audiences with health-related stories that are captivating, clear and fair. Zeigler has a master's degree in medical journalism, as well as several years of experience as a print and broadcast reporter, editor and producer.

Her undergraduate degrees in bacteriology and science communication gave Zeigler strong research skills and a keen sense of how to craft messages so that viewers and listeners can understand even the most complex topics. Over the years, she has developed a talent for translating sophisticated concepts into bite-sized morsels of useful information.

As a magazine editor for two years, she learned to spot newsworthy and attention-grabbing stories and to flush out story angles that work. As Miss Wisconsin in 1994, Zeigler developed a confident and mature presentation in front of the camera.

Before she moved to Colorado, Zeigler was a medical reporter and editor for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders in Bethesda, Md., and assisted the Medical Director for the Discovery Health Channel in Silver Spring, Md. Previously, Zeigler was a radio health reporter in Durham, N.C., and a medical reporting intern at NBC News Channel National Medical Bureau and NBC-17 in Raleigh in 2001.

Zeigler was also the producer of two documentaries that each aired as part of a series on North Carolina public television in 2001. She notes that producing documentaries helped her to learn the art of choosing the right expert and searching for details and natural sound that can make a story memorable.

Zeigler is an avid marathoner and has volunteered as a mentor for disadvantaged children for more than nine years. She has played classical violin since she was four and has performed for many of her friends' weddings.