In 2015, a group of celebrities moms banded together to campaign for the labeling of GMOs. In response, a group of scientists and farmers, who were also moms, wrote an open letter requesting that celebrities base their advocacy efforts on facts, not fear. Using the hashtag “#Moms4GMOs”, the letter garnered the support of many, and kicked off a petition. It also moved a team of documentary film-makers to interview the women who spearheaded a movie entitled “Science Moms”. The movie was independently funded by a Kickstarter. Shortly after, the women in that documentary came together to work on science communication using the name “SciMoms”.
We recognize the need for independent and transparent sources of information. For this reason, SciMoms is a nonprofit and will always be transparent about any funding we receive. To date, we are self-funded but hope to cover costs from individual direct donations (which can be made through Biofortified by specifying SciMoms on your donation). Biofortified is our fiscal sponsor. SciMoms is a separate entity from the Science Moms documentary.
Funding of individual members
I am an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, a public land grant university. My salary, my research, the salaries of my lab staff and the stipends for my students are funded by a combination of federal grants, private foundation grants and start-up funds provided by MSU. None of this pays for my science communication work, which I do in my spare time.
My writing has been published on many platforms and websites, included some that are funded and sponsored by agricultural companies. The only money I have ever received for writing an article was $25 for a “Let It Go” Passover parody called “Get The Dough.” In 2018, I appeared on the kids’ show, Sprout House; NBC Universal covered my travel to and from NYC and I received an honorarium.
I worked for Freshëns Yogurt and Regal Cinemas when I was in high school, but have otherwise been a public servant my entire life to date. I occasionally have travel paid for speaking engagements and occasionally accept small honoraria allowing me to pay for childcare and small expenses to continue to do science communication.
I am a science, food and health writer and my work has appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, New York Magazine, and other outlets, and I have been compensated for that work. I am also the Director of Story for TBD Immersive, a DC-based immersive theatre company, and a storyteller in DC. For most of my speaking engagements, performances and other appearances, I am typically paid an honorarium or speaking fee.
I am a writer covering health, food, science, and parenting, and I contribute to a variety of outlets, including Forbes and SELF, and have had work also appear in Slate, Gawker, and more. The outlets for which I write compensate me for this work. In addition, I do regular public appearances, speaking, and presentations for various organizations, including private companies, trade organizations, and universities. I receive honoraria or speaking fees for most of these appearances. I also play a role and receive a salary at my mom’s small family business, Genome International, which is involved in software and IT consulting and genomics data analysis. At this time, the company does not contract with agricultural biotechnology companies. My communication work always reflects the broad weight of evidence and my own opinions.
As a private sector scientist, I have received a salary and compensation from my employers for my day job. I have worked for several companies doing similar work for all these employers: developing DNA sequencing instruments and assays many of which focused on targeted human DNA sequencing. My past employers have sold reagents and/or instruments which are commonly used in laboratories in many different fields including: polymerases, NGS sequencers, microarrays, human DNA sequencing services, oligonucleotides, CRISPR, among others. You can learn more about my work history on my LinkedIn profile.
I do not receive any funding for the science communication work that I do. The articles I write and blogs that I publish are my own opinions and do not reflect the ideas or opinions of my employers. I have published on many different platforms and websites, including some that are funded and sponsored by agricultural companies, but I have never received any money for the articles I’ve published.
The total list of items I have received from industry-affiliated companies as a result of my science communication efforts are:
- I received hotel accommodation for one night at a conference, paid for by BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization)
- I was reimbursed for travel expenses and accommodations for one night to a conference where I was invited to speak, paid for by AEIC.
I funded the Science Moms documentary through successful a Kickstarter campaign. Additionally, The Science Enthusiast Podcast has a Patreon account to which some awesome people donate on a per episode basis. For film screenings and speaking engagements, I typically have travel and lodging costs covered, and receive a screening/speaking fee.
The SciMoms would like to thank Alison Campion for her design of our logo and trading cards. You can find her designs here.
We also thank entomologist Erfan Vafaie for volunteering his WordPress skills. You can learn about his doctoral research project here.
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