Whether through making original content for TEDed and Wiley & Sons, writing for Science & Forbes, or speaking to live audiences at TEDx & SXSW, Mary Poffenroth’s goals are the same: Make Science Accessible for All. A Salzburg Global Fellow and first generation college student, she holds two masters degrees, one in biology and the other in science communication from Imperial College London. She is the author of Write Present Create: Science Communication for Undergraduates and has taught nearly 20,000 students both in person and online since 2007. Her work has been featured in legacy media outlets such as Time magazine and National Geographic as well as garnering views in the millions with YouTube’s Mahalo. Mary began her research career in astrophysiology at NASA Ames Research Center Moffet Field in 1999 and now focuses her research on the intersection of fear science, communication, and personal/social change as STEM faculty for San Jose State University. Listen to a recent interview with Allie Ward about Fear here Part 1 & Part 2

3 words to describe Nature?

Cleansing. Terrifying. Balancing

3 things Nature taught you?

To be self reliant

To duck under a bush when being shot at

To not pee on your pants while being a lady peeing in the woods

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Muir woods

Big Sur

Any beach on the planet 

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Like I’m Home

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Like adventure is afoot

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Sunrise = refreshed

Sunset = most likely a bit tipsy if I have taken the time to watch, I am most likely with friends drinking wine on a beach

 When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Ooohh when is the lightning gonna come

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Ready to jump into (faux) furry blankets with my puppy and a good audio book

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean first, Mountain and forest are the same for me as an equal second, desert is a stark last place

 On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10… obvi

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I was the outcast for loving nature in my family. My mother abhorred it unless it was tamed by a planter box. But i would find ways, big and small, to sneak into and onto the wild in an attempt to connect to something I did not have words for at the time.