• Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
    Master’s Degree in molecular biology conferred 09/2010
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
    Bachelor’s Degree in biology conferred 06/2006


  • Publishing & design: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Multimedia: Camtasia, iMovie, DaVinci Resolve, Audacity
  • Web: Drupal, HTML, CSS, iModules, WordPress, Blogger
  • Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • Editing: Associated Press Stylebook

Professional Experience

Communications Specialist, 10/2020–Present
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD

Developed content for a new NIH website that will guide scientific investigators in complying with the agency’s genomic data sharing policy, and in accessing genomic data from NIH repositories. Provided communications support as needed to NIH’s Office of Extramural Research.

  • Developed 15 pieces of web content describing the content and implementation of NIH’s genomic data sharing policy
  • Performed QC on the web copy and functionality of NIH’s 2020 Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration, which was attended by over 10,000 participants.
  • Wrote blog posts for NIH’s Extramural Nexus newsletter

Science Writer/Editor, 5/2019–Present
University of Hawai
ʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Wrote and edited scientific content to support NASA’s SMART cables project, a United Nations-led effort to integrate environmental sensors onto undersea cables for tsunami warning and climate monitoring.

  • Edited a white paper detailing scientific, technical and legal specifications of SMART cables, published in Frontiers in Marine Science in August 2019
  • Translated technical material into lay language for an article promoting SMART cables published in the trade journal Submarine Telecoms Industry Report
  • Edited three posters for presentation at OceanObs19, an international ocean observation conference
  • Took minutes during 10+ executive committee and plenary group meetings to produce reports for the Chair and Secretariat of the Joint Task Force

Communications Coordinator, 11/2016—5/2019
University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Managed social media channels and profiled newsworthy research news, people, and events at the university’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

  • Wrote 15+ news releases on technical topics, receiving nationwide media coverage including in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, New Scientist and Popular Science
  • Interviewed donors, alumni, faculty, students and staff for 75+ short- and long-form articles such as features and profiles
  • Launched college’s Instagram account in addition to conceiving and posting content to college’s social media accounts; total follower number increased 1000+
  • Produced e-newsletters sent to more than 30,000 alumni, students, faculty and staff
  • Aggregated relevant news items for alumni relations and college leadership
  • Posted and maintained digital content on Drupal-based college website
  • Contributed to writing and planning for college’s biannual print magazine

Technical Writer, 12/2015—10/2016
Phase Change, Golden, CO

Conceived, produced, wrote, and edited content to support scientific communication and technical documentation for an artificial intelligence software company.

  • Coordinated video blogging and social media strategy
  • Recorded and edited four training videos for new engineers
  • Interviewed engineers and conducted independent research to write three technical papers describing the mathematical and compiler specifications of software modules
  • Conceived and led the development of an in-house style guide and glossary
  • Designed recruitment flyers and advertisements leading to a successful hire
  • Wrote web copy and coded in HTML, CSS, and PHP to maintain, edit and design WordPress-based company website

Technical Writer, 6/2016—10/2016 (Independent Contractor)
SomaLogic, Boulder, CO

Produced documents describing statistical methods and data specifications of a biotechnology company’s protein biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics platform.

  • Wrote a new reference document and created graphics describing statistical methods for analyzing data yielded by company’s product
  • Revised a reference document describing statistical procedures used to remove bias from data yielded by company’s product
  • Revised a reference document describing file specification for results from company’s product
  • Developed an internal style guide to support consistent terminology in documentation for internal audiences as well as users of company’s product

Communications Specialist, 8/2014—8/2015
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Supported renewable energy engineers by writing, editing, and managing technical publications for audiences including policymakers, engineers and the general public.

  • Project managed, created, and distributed 50+ periodic e-newsletters to mailing list composed of business developers, policymakers and researchers
  • Produced brochures, fliers, fact sheets, press releases, blog posts and other outreach publications to elevate the laboratory’s accomplishments
  • Edited 100+ webpages in Drupal-based content management system
  • Edited 100+ papers, presentations and marketing pieces for conformation to Associated Press and in-house style guidelines
  • Wrote nomination package for NREL-developed biofuel that won both the 2015 R&D 100 and Editor’s Choice Awards
  • Created posts for Facebook and Twitter to promote events, researchers and accomplishments
  • Carried out independent research by reading primary literature and interviewing subject matter experts
  • Coordinated and managed projects with up to 10 team members including graphics, web, video and print staff in addition to management


“Evaluation of ribosomal RNA removal protocols for Salmonella RNA-seq projects.” Arvind A Bhagwat, Z. Irene Ying, and Allen Smith. Advances in Microbiology January 2014.

“Determining RNA quality for NextGen sequencing: some exceptions to the gold standard rule of 23S to 16S rRNA ratio.” Arvind Bhagwat, Z. Irene Ying, Jeffrey Karns, Allen Smith. Microbiology Discovery October 2013.

“Binary to Bushy: Bayesian Hierarchical Clustering with the Beta Coalescent.” Yuening Hu, Jordan Boyd-Graber, Hal Daume III, and Z. Irene Ying. 2013 Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Society.

“CTR1 phosphorylates the central regulator EIN2 to control ethylene hormone signaling from the ER membrane to the nucleus in Arabidopsis.” Ju C, Yoon GM, Shemansky JM, Lin DY, Ying ZI, Chang J, Garrett WM, Kessenbrock M, Groth G, Tucker ML, Cooper B, Kieber JJ, Chang C. PNAS 2012 Nov 20;109(47):19486-91. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1214848109. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Professional Societies

  • National Association of Science Writers
  • D.C. Science Writers Association

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