Did you know that there’s a plant in the Namib Desert that relies solely on air moisture for water, yet lives for thousands of years? Or did you know that some toads are so eager to mate, they’ll hump anything that moves, including other 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 about myself. My name is Betsy Ladyzhets. I use she/her pronouns. I currently work as a Senior Research Associate at Stacker, where I am (remotely) based in Brooklyn, New York. I am a Data Entry volunteer for the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic and a member of the National Association of Science Writers. In 2019, I graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University, where I studied English (with an official concentration in Creative Writing) and biology (with an unofficial concentration in Loving Trees).
I am passionate about using data, in any storytelling means necessary, to help readers connect with scientific concepts. To that end, I’ve sought to communicate science where science has not been communicated before. In my current position at Stacker, I launched and now manage the publication’s Science & Health vertical, which is producing unique, data-driven stories about everything from COVID-19 to our warming climate. While managing Stacker’s COVID-19 coverage and volunteering for the COVID Tracking Project, I started the COVID-19 Data Dispatch; this publication brings weekly updates on the state of public COVID-19 data to fellow journalists and lay readers alike.
I additionally created the position of Science Editor and significantly increased science coverage at Bwog, a Columbia student news publication, when I was its Editor in Chief. And I wrote a research blog about my undergraduate senior thesis project in plant physiology to share information and stories from my time in the field; in spring 2019, I was named a Young Botanist of the Year by the Botanical Society of America for this research.
So far, the highlights of my science writing career are seeing the New York Times cite a COVID Tracking Project blog post I coauthored, 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 am actively seeking both opportunities to grow Stacker’s data-based science content and opportunities to grow my own writing and data reporting skills through freelance work. Outside of data 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.
Thank you for your time. I love you.