Bio / Life History

Brittany Steff
is like a corvid in human form. But rather than shiny objects, she collects science facts. Since her childhood, she has been fascinated by paleontology, meteorology, geology, astronomy, ecology, and the rest of the sciences, and her professional training has only burnished, not dimmed, those diverse interests.

A creative communicator who is passionate about innovative, informative, and inspiring storytelling, she has amassed an impressive career translating and interpreting scientific discoveries for a general audience. “I really enjoy weeding through the scientific jargon to find the story.”

Brittany went to Purdue University as an undergrad not knowing what she wanted to do. So she took all the engineering courses, just in case, which she called “building a foundation.” She also, on a whim, took a botany course. In the middle of enthusiastically explaining bryophyte reproduction to her advisor, said advisor broke in with “You do realize that not everyone gets this excited about moss?”

The only possible explanation for that could be that people just didn’t know, and someone needed to tell them. Brittany set out to be that person. She got her bachelor’s of science in ecology, evolutionary and population biology, with accidental minors of history (because she kept taking history of science classes) and English (because she couldn’t stay away from the literature and writing courses).

After Purdue, she went on to earn a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California–Santa Cruz and spent nearly a decade writing for Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. As a freelancer, she has worked with the Ecological Society of America, clean energy and conservation organizations, and other nonprofit and academic institutions.

She writes about everything from astrophysics to drug discovery at Purdue University, where she gets to learn new things every day. “My goal is for readers to be as excited about the science as the researchers themselves.”

She enjoys reading, bird watching, hiking, yoga, photography, singing, traveling, paddling, and parenting with various degrees of skill and success. She lives in the woods in Indiana with two dogs, two kids, one husband, and lots of bossy birds at the feeder.

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