McKenzie Prillaman

Science Writing Intern at Science News, Spring 2023

McKenzie Prillaman is the Spring 2023 science writing intern at Science News. She holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a minor in bioethics from the University of Virginia. She also studied adolescent nicotine dependence as a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. After figuring out she’d rather explain scientific research than conduct it, she worked at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and then earned a master’s degree in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in NatureScientific American, Mongabay, Eos and the Mercury News, among other publications.

All Stories by McKenzie Prillaman

  1. Plants

    Gene editing may help rice better withstand climate change

    Three genes may limit the ability of rice to handle dry or salty conditions. A Regeneron ISEF finalist shows that CRISPR could target and change them.

  2. Physics

    Aerodynamics involved in shooting hoops can make vehicles greener

    Some ships host tall spinning cylinders that act like sails. Roughing the cylinders’ surface will greatly boost fuel efficiency, teen scientists find.

  3. Tech

    Bioelectronics research wins top award at 2024 Regeneron ISEF

    Three grand-award winners each took home at least $50,000. Hundreds more teens shared more than $9 million in prizes at the international competition.

  4. Brain

    Herbal medicine could help recovery after concussion

    A finalist at Regeneron ISEF found that a plant native to China could supplement a common pain reliever that comes with unwanted side effects.

  5. Tech

    New tech 3-D prints ouchless COVID-19 vaccine patches

    A new compact 3-D printer can produce COVID-19 vaccine patches. These are less painful than the jab and can be stored more easily than liquid vaccines.

  6. Earth

    Canada’s Crawford Lake seems to mark when the Anthropocene began

    Mud at the bottom of this lake holds a record showing how humanity has been changing our planet. But the Anthropocene isn’t an official new epoch yet.

  7. Oceans

    How would a mermaid sound underwater?

    Human ears don’t work well in the water. A mermaid would need marine creature features to talk to and understand her aquatic friends.

  8. Animals

    Bottlenose dolphin moms baby talk when their calves are near

    Around their babies, bottlenose dolphin moms whistle with higher pitches. It’s similar to human parents speaking in baby talk.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Swollen chambers in astronauts’ brains may take 3 years to recover

    How long astronauts spend in space and the time since their last mission affects how much fluid-filled chambers in their brains expand while in space.

  10. Computing

    Teen-created software IDs skin conditions, risky drivers and more

    Researchers at the 2023 Regeneron ISEF unveiled computer programs to diagnose skin conditions, warn of dangerous driving and translate sign language.

  11. Environment

    Fungi help rescue crops being harmed by microplastics

    Microplastics in the soil hinder plant growth. But two finalists at Regeneron ISEF found that fungi and farm waste can reduce the harm.

  12. Tech

    A device spots and counts honeybees hosting a dangerous parasite

    At Regeneron ISEF, three teens debuted an infrared system to detect honeybees carrying mites. It can show beekeepers when a colony needs to be treated.