Brittany P.G. Steff

IMG_1628I have a wide range of experience at a broad diversity of organizations including media outlets (online and print), nonprofits, research institutions, conservation organizations, federal agencies, and ecotourism organizations. I excel at writing and editing engaging, concise, and apt content for a variety of media as well as creating long-range social media and communications strategies. I believe visual elements and (where appropriate) wry wittiness are key to communicating messages and telling stories.



Senior Web Content Editor and Science Writer | Friends of the National Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park

Washington, District of Columbia | July 2008 – March 2013

  • Managed web communications including website, e-newsletters, and social media
  • Oversaw web team to manage workload and goals; developed matrices to track and quantify success
  • Created and implemented innovative strategies to reach and engage new audiences and present novel perspectives of the Zoo community and stories
  • Grew web audiences; increased the number of fans following the Zoo’s Facebook page by 67 percent in 2012.
  • Translated science stories into web content for a general audience to emphasize and publicize research of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists
  • Maintained and updated all sections of the website,
  • Wrote features for Smithsonian Zoogoer

Science Outreach and Policy Coordinator | COMPASS and SeaWeb

Silver Spring, Maryland | October 2007 – June 2008

  • Connected scientists, policy-makers, journalists and non-governmental organizations to further science-based ocean conservation
  • Monitored ocean science research and pinpoint key and emerging issues


Web Intern | Discover Magazine

New York, New York | Summer 2007

  • Wrote and edited blog posts, news articles, and feature articles for the website
  • Produced and posted web content


Exhibits Intern | Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, California | Spring 2007

  • Helped generate content for an exhibit on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Facilitated collaboration between exhibit team and MBARI researchers


Editorial Intern | The Herald

Monterey, California | Fall 2006

  • Reported on local and breaking stories
  • Wrote and researched articles on topics of local significance, frequently with a science angle



I am proficient in a wide spectrum of communications skills including:

  • Web content management including HTML, Dreamweaver, Drupal, and WordPress
  • Photo management including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom
  • Adhering to a style guide, whether it is AP style or the internal style guide of an organization
  • Translating complex scientific concepts into accessible, engaging prose
  • Strategic use of social media including Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube
  • Working independently and as part of a larger creative team


Zoo Guide | Friends of the National Zoo

Washington, District of Columbia | February 2008 – August 2008

  • Lead zoo tours for families, children, and adults
  • Interpreted animals, exhibits, and behaviors for a general audience
  • Discussed zoo conservation and research initiatives


Undergraduate Researcher | Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana | Spring 2005 – Winter 2005

  • Studied communication patterns and territoriality of Carolina chickadees
  • Analyzed habitat preferences, migration, density, and dispersal patterns of migratory thrushes


Student Researcher | School for Field Studies

Puerto San Carlos, Mexico | Summer 2004

  • Collated data on distribution and condition of green sea turtle carcasses
  • Determined mortality rates, patterns and effects upon population growth for green sea turtles


Research Intern | Whale Center of New England

Gloucester, Massachusetts | Summer 2003

  • Observed and recorded cetacean behavior, primarily of humpback whales
  • Fielded questions and facilitated discussions with recreational whale-watchers


Trail Guide/Support Staff | Ron and Tucker Mills Outfitting

Augusta, Montana | Summer 2002

  • Guided and cared for tourists on horseback through the mountains
  • Offered natural history and geological information to tourists



Graduate Degree in Science Communication | University of California, Santa Cruz 2007


  • Graduate coursework in journalism, science writing, editing, investigative reporting, features, profiles, narrative essays, and freelancing
  • Hands-on instruction and practice with professional science writers from a variety of outlets and media


Bachelors of Science Degree in Ecology, Evolutionary & Population Biology | Purdue University 2005


  • Minors in English and history
  • Grade point average 3.38 of 4.0
  • National Merit Scholarship recipient
  • Coursework in ecology, field ecology, evolutionary biology, population statistics, sexual selection, animal communication, behavior, environmental literature, and history of science