Science Writer

Carma at Olduvai GorgeIt all started in Olduvai Gorge.
When I was about three or four years old, my parents took me there — one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world, a place steeped in history and science, and a key site of information that furthered our understanding of early human evolution.
I remember my father pointing out at a pile of rocks and telling me that this was an ancient toolmaker’s garbage pile. This was where pre-historic men threw their rejects when their tool-making efforts failed.
I was fascinated. And I’ve loved science ever since.

Carma Spence has more than 20 years of experience in writing, editing, marketing, and public relations, in the fields of health care, food and wine, computers, business, television, biology, and agriculture. She can research, digest and write highly technical material while making this same material engaging to people unfamiliar with the topic. She has built her career on helping people understand something that is new to them, taking information — from dry facts to common knowledge to scientific research — and making it sparkle with life.

Spence has an eclectic background: a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Master’s degree in Journalism from the number one public relations graduate program in the nation (according to U.S. News & World Report), and education in video production, science communication and dance. She has worked in marketing communications and public relations for the City of Hope National Medical Center, Blue Shield of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Gracelyn & Burns (representing Champagne Deutz, The Bergkelder and Llano Estacado). In addition, she has worked in employee communications for the City of Hope, KidsGrowth Professional and New Century Financial.

A little more than 15 years ago, she expanded her skills into the world of the Web. She’s created an internal website for the editorial board of a health plan’s Medicare-focused magazine, was the editor of KidsGrowth Professional, a website for pediatric professionals, and has written web copy for Arcturus, Inc., Pediatric Partners, BrainBench, Virtual University, New Century Financial, the National Human Genome Research Institute, CSULB BUILD, and others. In addition to taking courses in online marketing, content marketing, and social media, she has been studying on her own search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO), email marketing and direct marketing.

While at Blue Shield of California, she was the editor of eight newsletters, helped launch a magazine, and led the redesign on several other publications. During her tenure at the City of Hope, she spearheaded the transition from a weekly letter-sized newsletter to a monthly, tabloid newspaper. This new publication was so successful that The Communicator Awards awarded it an “Award of Distinction” and it won two other awards, as well.

While attending the University of Maryland at College Park, she worked as a staff writer for The Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station covering aquaculture, alternative pest control, and ranching. As an intern at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., she wrote the case study of a humpback whale stranding and the definitive story of Froggy and Oliver, two adult California sea lions who found a new home in Spain. Since Oliver died en route to Spain, she gained experience dealing with a public relations crisis.

Spence blends her knowledge of science, marketing, and communication, as well as a passion for the potential of the Internet, to create powerful and accessible copy for her clients and employers. Her creativity, coupled with her superb organizational skills, enables her to take loosely defined projects and see them to fruition. A take-charge person with a “can-do” attitude, her patient demeanor, attention to detail, tireless energy and enthusiasm make her a valuable asset to any organization on which she focuses her energies.

Educational Highlights

  • B.A. Biology, University of California Santa Cruz
    Coursework included: Introduction to Psychobiology, Ebryology, Introduction to Social Psychology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Science Writing, Overview of the Universe, Female Physiology & Gynecology, Biology of Marine Mammals, Marine Vertebrate Biology, Development (gametogenesis, fertilization, etc.) and Biological Oceanography.
  • M.S. Journalism, University of Maryland College Park
    Coursework included: Visual Communication, Science Communicaiton, Philosophy of Biology, Seminar in Public Relations Management and Theories in Mass Communication.
  • Santa Rosa Jr. College
    Coursework included: Marine Biology, Prehistory & Archeology and Introduction to Philosophy.

Science Communication Experience

  • Digital Media & Communications Specialist: CSULB BUILD Program (CSULB Research Foundation), Long Beach, CA (2015-2019):
  • Long Beach Science Examiner:, Long Beach, CA (2013-2015)
  • Web Content Editor/Writer (Contracted to National Human Genome Research Institute): Z-Tech Corporation, Rockville, MD (2003-2004)
  • Writer/Editor: Inc., Tampa, FL (1999-2001)
  • Newsletter Communications Specialist: Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, CA (1998-1999)
  • Writer/Marketing and Communications Specialist: City of Hope, Duarte, CA (1994-1998)
  • Staff Writer: Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, College Park, MD (1992-1993)

Science Interests

  • Biology, Marine & Aquatic Biology
  • Astronomy, Space Science
  • Archeology, Anthropology, Paleontology
  • Psychology, Sociology, Psychobiology
  • Earth Sciences, Geology
  • History and Psychology of Science