About the team
The Why Files was created at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the auspices of National Institute for Science Education with support from the National Science Foundation. It is currently funded through the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each week, we bring you a new story on the science behind the news.
Terry Devitt, editor
Terry Devitt is a co-founder and the original editor of The Why Files. His day job is Director of Research Communications for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A veteran science writer, his by-line has appeared in such venues as Astronomy, Orion, Electronic Learning, Muse, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, the Milwaukee Journal, the Bulletin of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Wisconsin Academy Review.
S.V. Medaris, designer / illustrator
Sue has been with the The Why Files since fall, 1999. She complements this digital work with her other life at home on the farm. She paints/draws/engraves/etc. the chickens, turkeys, pigs (in season) and others in the beautiful, driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin. After a successful, solo exhibit of chicken art (“A One Chick Show: Of Cocks and Hens”) Sue is happily working on the next farm series.
Darrell Schulte, webmaster
Darrell has been with The Why Files since its arrival on the web. He is an English major but knows enough about computers to be dangerous. You can peer into his mind at @darrell_schulte.
Emily Eggleston, project assistant
Emily is a Masters student studying journalism at UW-Madison. Her primary role at the Why Files is to help the team tell their stories through graphics and photos and to produce the Cool Science Images feature. Emily has been around UW-Madison campus for awhile because before studying journalism she completed a master’s degree in geography. She’s a sucker for a beautiful soil profile. Outside of her life as a student, she’s most happy when she’s riding her bike, recreating in nature, or cooking with friends.
David Tenenbaum, feature writer
David has written about science, health and environment for Technology Review, Environmental Health Perspectives, Bioscience, The Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Most recently, he and Terry Devitt wrote a Penguin Book, The Why Files: The Science Behind the News, (publication 4/28/2009). Although is fascinated by science and technology, David can swing a hammer: He wrote and photographed The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Home Repair (Illustrated) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simple Home Improvement (Illustrated), both published by Penguin-Putnam. He also wrote both editions of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Toolbox Manual, published by Thomson Peterson’s. Nicknamed “Atlas” because he knows the biking roads, he’s been Why-Filing since the Big Bang.
Amy Toburen, content development executive
Separated from Lyle Lovett at birth, Amy is also a co-founder of The Why Files. She continues to serve an editoral role with the project. The other hat she wears is red — directing the communications program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Amy has a lot of toys in her office which fuel her sense of humor and, of course, keep her grounded.
Alumni staff of The Why Files:
Yael Gen, graphic artist (inception to May 1999)
Joe Kallenberger, intern (Jan 1998 to unknown)
Susan Trebach, spiritual advisor (inception to Oct 1998)
Jenny Pearson, project assistant (Aug 2000 to Aug 2001)
Eric Zuelow, project assistant (May 1999 to Aug 2000, Sep 2001 to Dec 2001)
Pamela Jackson, project assistant (Aug 2001 to July 2002)
Sarah Goforth, project assistant (Sep 2002 to Aug 2004)
Megan Anderson, project assistant (2004 to Sep 2008)
Nate Hebert, project assistant (Oct 2008 to Sep 2009)
Steve Furay, project assistant (Sep 2009 to June 2010)
Jenny Seifert, project assistant (June 2010 to Jan 2012)
Molly Simis, project assistant (Jan 2012 to August 2012)