About Us

Award-winning magazine American Scientist is an illustrated bi-monthly publication about science, engineering, and technology—published by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society since 1913.

Each issue is filled with feature articles written by prominent scientists and engineers who review important work in fields ranging from molecular biology to computer engineering. Also included is the Scientists' Nightstand that reviews a vast range of science-related books.

Full access to the site is provided without additional charge to Sigma Xi members and institutional subscribers, who arrange site licenses. Individual subscribers can choose between print and digital versions, or a combination of both. You can subscribe via our publisher, Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society, a non-profit membership society, 501(c)3, founded in 1886 to honor scientific achievement, foster ethical research, and promote science education and the public appreciation of science.

Online, we host four types of blogs:

  • Macroscope—scientists discuss new directions or issues,
  • The Long View—authors update a magazine feature with the latest research,
  • Science Culture—staff and scientist authors write about the interaction between science and culture,
  • From The Staff—our editorial team blogs and discusses what's on our radar.

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American Scientist Staff

Jamie Vernon


Jamie L. Vernon

View a list of Jamie’s work

Jamie Vernon is the Executive Director and CEO of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, and Publisher of American Scientist magazine. Prior to this, Jamie served as director of science communications and publications at Sigma Xi and editor-in-chief of American Scientist.

An award-winning science educator, he began communicating science to the public as an independent blogger and public speaker. He went on to become a regular contributor to The Intersection, a Discover magazine blog about science and policy. He subsequently worked at the U.S. Department of Energy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow and an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow, where he developed strategies to measure and communicate the economic impacts of the Department’s annual investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. In 2012, he served as co-chair of digital communications for the Interagency Communication and Education Team at the United States Global Change Research Program.

Earlier, Jamie spent more than a decade conducting molecular biology discovery research with an emphasis on HIV vaccines and genetic engineering technologies. He holds a PhD in cell and molecular biology from the University of Texas at Austin, a MS in biotechnology from East Carolina University, and a BS in zoology from North Carolina State University.

Twitter: @JLVernonPhD

Fenella Saunders

Editor In Chief

Fenella Saunders

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Fenella Saunders is the editor in chief of American Scientist, where she has been on staff since 2005 and served as managing editor and executive editor as well. She was previously a science writer/editor for New York University School of Medicine's publications office and associate editor of their magazine, NYU Physician. Additionally, she spent eight years at DISCOVER magazine, where she was an associate editor and online editor. A coauthor of Popular Science's Space 2100: To Mars and Beyond in the Century to Come (Time Inc., 2003), she has also freelanced for Popular Mechanics, Scholastic, The Learning Channel, and The Discovery Channel.

She received a BA degree in computer science from Duke University and a Master's degree in psychology and animal behavior from Hunter College of the City University of New York. She has been selected as a fellow for the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship's workshops on nanotechnology at MIT in 2009 and 2015, and for their multimedia bootcamp at UC Berkeley's School of Journalism in 2010. She has been a Sigma Xi member since 2004 and is the vice president of the RTP chapter. Besides her skills in print writing and editing, she is proficient in audio and video editing and has a deep understanding of social media, new media, and publishing in the digital age.

Twitter: @FenellaSaunders

Stacey Lutkosky

managing editor

Stacey Lutkoski

Stacey Lutkoski is the managing editor of American Scientist. She is a certified Project Management Professional with a background working in academic and educational publishing at MPS North America, Duke University Press, and J&J Editorial.

Prior to her career in publishing, Stacey studied the intersection of empire, science, and food in early modern England at the University of Southern California, where she earned an MA in history. She has an MPhil in historical studies from the University of Cambridge and a BA in history and English from Oberlin College.

Robert Frederick

digital managing editor

Robert Frederick

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Robert Frederick is the digital managing editor of American Scientist since 2015. Prior to that, he freelanced for a wide variety of outlets in print, radio, television, and online, and contributed a chapter on multimedia freelancing to The Science Writers’ Handbook (Da Capo, 2013), which was supported in part by a grant from the National Association of Science Writers.

His past work in science journalism includes four years as associate online editor and then was promoted to web editor for Science magazine (2007-2011), where he also contributed to team multimedia projects, created videos, and hosted/produced the magazine's weekly podcast, taking it to #3 on iTunes' Science & Medicine category (behind only NPR-sponsored radio shows). Robert also served as the inaugural science reporter at St. Louis Public Radio (2005-2007) and contributed as both a station reporter and freelancer to the NPR network. His educational background includes a triple-AB from The University of Chicago in mathematics, philosophy, and statistics, and a masters in applied mathematics from the University of Michigan.

Frederick's professional background also includes experience as an IT consultant, mathematics textbook editor, high school math and philosophy teacher, singer, and mathematics lecturer. Winning a Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship in 2003 from the American Association for the Advancement of Science gave Robert the opportunity to spend a summer as a science reporter at Community Radio for Northern Colorado, an experience that launched his science journalism career.

He led the project to update American Scientist's website, which won a 2018 silver EXCEL award for website redesign from Association Media & Publishing.

Frederick manages @AmSciMag's Twitter handle and other social-media accounts, with contributions coming from all team members. He also produces and is the regular host of the American Scientist podcast.

Corey S. Powell

senior consulting editor

Corey S. Powell

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Corey S. Powell is a contributing editor of American Scientist. He is also science editor at Aeon magazine, Editor at Large at DISCOVER magazine and a freelance contributor to Slate , Popular Science, and Nautilus. He has collaborated with Bill Nye on the books Undeniable and Unstoppable. Corey spent 15 years on staff at DISCOVER, including five years as editor in chief. Before that he served eight years on the Board of Editors at Scientific American.

Corey has coordinated partnerships with the National Science Foundation and National Science Teachers Association, and has taught in NYU’s SHERP science journalism program, where he is currently a Visiting Scholar. He is the author of God in the Equation (Free Press), an exploration of the spiritual impulse in modern cosmology. As a producer, Corey has worked on “Last Days on Earth,” a 20/20 special, for ABC News, and the "Joe Genius" video series for the online network Revision3. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, the Sci-Fi Channel, and Science Friday, and is a frequent science commentator on Fox News. In an earlier life, he worked for NASA helping to test gamma-ray telescopes.

Corey lives with his wife and two daughters in Brooklyn, where he manages to glimpse the occasional star with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.

Twitter: @coreyspowell

Katie Burke

digital features editor

Katie L. Burke

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Katie L. Burke has worked as an editor at American Scientist since 2012 and is currently digital features editor. She studied biology for her PhD, and her dissertation research focused on conservation biology and the ecology of forests and plant diseases. She blogs at The UnderStory.

Twitter: @_klburke

Mia Evans

editorial associate

Mia Evans

Mia B. Evans is the coordinator of editorial operations, editorial assistant, and cartoon editor of American Scientist. She has been on staff since January 2001 and began as the administrative assistant in human resources. Mia transitioned into the coordinator of editorial operations position in April 2003. She handles permission requests, foreign usage contracts, author honoraria, royalties, PDFs for online usage, and the American Scientist copyright with the Library of Congress. She also composes correspondence for outgoing notification of copyright violations and maintains the entire American Scientist database of author and contributor information.

Before Sigma Xi, Mia spent five years as a lead processor for the FFELP program with North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. She was the liaison to NCSEAA section personnel (Accounting, Computer Services, Administration, and Attorney General’s Office) on behalf of FFELP Information Services. Before her departure she designed and composed the training manual for the processing assistant position while working in the Nurse Scholars Program.

Barbara Aulicino

art director

Barbara Aulicino

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Barbara Aulicino joined the staff of American Scientist as a graphic artist in 2000 and became the art director in 2004.

Previously, she was a document designer at the American Board of Pediatrics where she also worked on multimedia projects. She has worked as a graphic artist in New York and in North Carolina. She studied art at Pratt Institute, and received a BA degree in fine art from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She attended a 2013 Interactive Designer Workshop at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she looks forward to being involved in interactive design projects for Sigma Xi and American Scientist.

A love of nature has led her to attend botanical illustration classes at North Carolina Botanical Garden, and she studies painting with a local artist. She also enjoys training dogs in obedience and agility and competing in AKC and UKC agility trials with her Golden Retrievers.

Dianne Timblin

scientists' nightstand editor

Dianne Timblin

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Dianne Timblin is the book editor for American Scientist's Scientists' Nightstand and author of the poetry chapbook A History of Fire (Three Count Pour, 2013). 

Twitter: @DianneTimblin

Sandra Ackerman

contributing editor

Sandra J. Ackerman

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Sandra Ackerman is a contributing editor and former senior editor of American Scientist; earlier, she also worked on the magazine for 10 years in its New Haven, Connecticut, office, the last five of those as managing editor. In the intervening years, as a freelance writer, she published more than 125 news articles, features, book reviews, and columns about scientific and medical research and the people who carry it out.

Although she earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale College, Yale University, with a combined major in French and Russian literature, the scientific bent she inherited from both parents began to appear almost immediately afterwards: She attended a program on neuroscience for journalists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and later was awarded a fellowship from the Rosalynn Carter Program in Mental Health Journalism. Clients for her writing have included the AAAS, Archaeology, BrainWork, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin, Nature, New Scientist, Science, and Thirteen/WNET New York.

In addition, she has written two books on neuroscience and related topics: Discovering the Brain (National Academy Press, 1992) and Hard Science, Hard Choices: Facts, Ethics, and Policies Guiding Brain Science Today (The Dana Press, 2006).

Twitter: @sj_ackerman

Marla Broadfoot

contributing editor

Marla Broadfoot

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Marla Vacek Broadfoot is a freelance science writer and editor who has published more than 250 articles about biomedical research. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a board member of the Science Communicators of North Carolina.

Marla is the author of A Place at the Bench: Women in Biomedical Research, a publication of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund that explores the unique challenges faced by women in science. Her work has been published by the Raleigh News & Observer and Charlotte Observer, American Scientist, Science News, the Mayo Clinic, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Science’s Next Wave, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Central University. From 2006 to 2007, she served as a senior public relations specialist at the Duke University Medical Center News Office, covering topics ranging from blind fungus to lung cancer diagnostics.

Before becoming a writer, Marla was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute and was awarded board certification in clinical molecular genetics by the American College of Medical Genetics in 2005. She received her PhD in genetics and molecular biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003.

Twitter: @MvBroadfoot

Anna Lena Phillips

contributing editor

Anna Lena Phillips Bell

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Anna Lena Phillips Bell, a contributing editor of American Scientist, is editor of Ecotone, the award-winning literary magazine that seeks to re-imagine place, and of its sister imprint, Lookout Books. She teaches in the creative writing department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is the author of A Pocket Book of Forms, a travel-sized, fine-press guide to poetic forms. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in venues including Open Letters Monthly, Redux, International Poetry Review, the Southern Poetry Anthology, and the Journal of Chemical and Engineering News. She has been selected for residencies at the Rensing Center, Penland School of Crafts, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Before joining UNCW in 2013, she served as senior editor and book review editor at American Scientist. Her work can be found at todointhenewyear.net.

  • AMSCI Staff

    Contributing Editor

    David Schoonmaker

    View a list of David’s work

    David Schoonmaker, a former editor of American Scientist, is a freelance writer and editor.

  • AMSCI Staff

    Contributing Editor

    Michael Szpir

    View a list of Michael’s work

    Michael is a contributing editor to the magazine.

  • AMSCI Staff

    Contributing Editor

    Laura Poole

    Laura is a contributing editor to the magazine.

Brian hayes

senior contributing writer

Brian Hayes

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Brian Hayes wrote the "Computing Science" column in American Scientist from 1993 to 2015. Earlier he wrote columns on similar themes for Scientific American, Computer Language, and The Sciences. His work has appeared in a number of other publications, including The American Scholar, Discover, Natural History, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as anthologies such as The Norton Reader, The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and The Best Writing on Mathematics. His book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape was published in 2005 by W. W. Norton. A selection of his columns, titled Group Theory in the Bedroom, and Other Mathematical Diversions, was published by Hill and Wang in 2008. He also writes about mathematics and computation at his web site: bit-player.org.

Hayes was an editor at Scientific American in the 1970s and 1980s, and from 1990 to 1992 he served as editor of American Scientist. He has been journalist in residence at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California, and has made extended visits to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. Since 2010 he has been an associate of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.

Twitter: @bit_player