Did you know that there’s a plant in the Namib Desert that relies solely on air moisture for water, grows two massive leaves, and lives for thousands of years? Or did you know that some toads are so eager to mate, they’ll hump anything that moves, including males or frogs of a completely different species? Or did you know that the number one cause of mortality in three-toed sloths is climbing down from their leafy perches to poop?
Much as I’d love to keep talking about frog sex or sloth defecation, this is my portfolio website, so I need to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Betsy Ladyzhets. I’m a recent graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, where I studied biology (which is how I know all these cool science facts) and English with a concentration in creative writing (which is how I knew to put three facts in that first paragraph, with the funniest one at the end.) I currently work as a Research Associate at Stacker Media, based in Brooklyn, New York, and write journalistic pieces as well as original prose and poetry.
I am passionate about finding connections between scientists and readers with all levels of scientific knowledge. To that end, I take every opportunity to bring science communication into my work. When I became the Editor in Chief of Bwog, a Columbia student news publication, I created the position of Science Editor and worked with that editor to shape a new vertical for our site; Bwog now caters to Columbia STEM students through event coverage, advice posts, and student interviews. When I started work as a Research Intern at Stacker, a journalism startup which produces data-based slideshow stories, I pushed the team to cover more scientific topics; now, as a full-time Research Associate, I’m responsible for vetting and growing our science and health content. When I expanded my plant physiology research project with Columbia professor Kevin Griffin for a second summer, I wrote a research blog to share information and stories from my time in the field; I was recently named a Young Botanist of the Year by the Botanical Society of America for this research, and am preparing a forthcoming scientific paper.
So far, the highlights of my burgeoning science communication career are attending the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting as a National Association of Science Writers Travel Fellow and finding out that my Avengers: Infinity War fanfiction helped one reader ace an intro biology exam.
I’m currently working at Stacker, where I research potential data sources, wrangle data in Excel, help our freelance team write engaging and accurate slideshow stories, and occasionally write copy myself. I am actively seeking both opportunities to grow Stacker’s data-based science content and opportunities to grow my own writing and research skills through freelance work. Outside of science and writing, most of my neural power is spent over-analyzing movie soundtracks, dreaming of Costco free samples, and mourning the fact that I never got to see Maynard Ferguson live in concert.
Thanks for your time. I love you.