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Sam Zlotnik


I am currently a graduate student at the University of Florida where I am working on a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology with a concentration in statistics. My dissertation research focuses on feeding behavior and mouthpart development in leaf-footed bugs. I have also studied the behavior, ecology, and physiology of frogs and lizards, and I previously completed a B.S. and M.S. in biology and a B.A. in psychology. 

As a science writer, I love to cover stories about animal behavior, biodiversity conservation, and environmental news. I got my start writing articles for Massive Science, and then sought out other opportunities to hone my skills, such as the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology’s student journalism internship and the ComSciCon-SciWri 2021 workshop. I have also written for the cognitive science blog Cogbites as well as for Transpositions, a blog run by the International Society of Nonbinary Scientists.

I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join the Smithsonian Magazine this summer!


A white trans man stands outside, smiling, wearing a blue shirt and large round glasses.
Photo credit: Jimmy Peniston

University of Florida

Fellowship Sponsor: Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Fellowship Host: Smithsonian Magazine