About the Director

Deborah L. Illman, Ph.D.

Deborah Illman's recent research and teaching activities at the University of Washington (UW) have focused on science communication and media coverage of science and technology. She teaches a set of three courses for undergraduate and graduate students on writing about science for general audiences as well as a course on scientific writing for graduate students.

Recently, she received a Professional Development Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study mental models of audience and decision-making in science and technology communication.

Illman directs the Chemistry Communication Leadership Institute, a project funded by the NSF with sponsorship from the American Chemical Society. The goal is to cultivate a cadre of chemistry communication leaders who can help bring about a cultural change to promote public communication of chemistry and to mentor others now in the pipeline to be tomorrow?s chemistry communicators.

During 2006-09, with funding from a Discovery Corps Senior Fellowship of the NSF Chemistry Division, she worked on a project entitled "Team Science," focused on communicating about large and long-term multidisciplinary research efforts using the NSF Science and Technology Centers as a case study. She organized and chaired a symposium at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on the subject of team science.

Illman is former Associate Editor of Chemical & Engineering News, the official news publication of the American Chemical Society. Based first at the Washington D.C. headquarters and then serving as head of the magazine's West Coast Bureau, Illman covered topics in analytical, environmental, and industrial process chemistry in addition to anchoring chemical education.

Illman is founding editor of Northwest Science & Technology (www.nwst.org). Honored with ten awards, including three Best of Show awards from the Society for Technical Communication, NWS&T has served as an outreach vehicle, as research laboratory, and as a platform for an experiential curriculum she developed in science and technology news and nonfiction writing at the UW. Graduates of the UW science writing program have obtained placements at national publications, including Science, Discover, IEEE Spectrum, Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe.

Her professional preparation includes a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Washington (UW) and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the State University of Campinas, Brazil. Illman is former Associate Director of the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry (CPAC), established with a grant from the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center Program and aimed at developing new sensors for in-situ analysis and on-line monitoring and control of chemical processes.

During 1988-89, she served as a Science, Engineering, and Diplomacy Fellow of the AAAS, conducting an evaluation study of an international research grant program.