Erika Check Hayden to be next director of Science Communication Program

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Paul Koch, Dean of Physical and Biological Sciences

It is my great pleasure to announce that Erika Check Hayden has accepted our offer to become the next director of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz. Erika was selected from a highly competitive search. She brings great skills and talent to this role, with 15 years of experience in science journalism across print, digital and multimedia formats. Erika began her career as a science writer at Newsweek, then moved to cover biomedical science at Nature, first as a correspondent, and for the last decade as a senior reporter. Her recent work on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which included boots-on-the-ground reporting in Sierra Leone supported by a fellowship from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, was riveting; it received multiple awards. And Erika is no stranger to UC Santa Cruz. Since 2010, she has been a lecturer in the Science Communication Program, focusing on new digital modes of communication in science journalism. She has taught in a variety of science journalism workshops and other programs around the nation. Erika will be teaching again this fall, and then taking over as director on January 1.

I want to thank the search committee, including the chair, Doug Kellogg (MCD Biology), the other faculty members, Christina Ravelo (Ocean Sciences) and Anthony Aguirre (Physics), and our two outside members, Ken Doctor (former UC Santa Cruz Foundation President and noted media analyst) and Kathleen Wong (a SciCom alum and Principal Publications Coordinator for UC Natural Reserves System). The committee did a great job identifying top candidates; I appreciate their efforts.

Finally, the campus has benefited from the vision, teaching, and stewardship of outgoing Science Communication Director Rob Irion. For the last decade, Rob kept the program fresh and vital as the landscape for science journalism changed tremendously. Rob has been a forceful advocate for science journalism at the national level, an outstanding mentor for our students, and a tireless fundraiser for the program. I hope to announce a major outcome of the philanthropic efforts he has spurred in the next few weeks. I am grateful for his fantastic work over the last decade and wish him well as he returns to journalism full time.