Erika Check Hayden is an Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Erika became the third Director of the SciCom program in January 2017. Under her leadership, the program has been supported by organizations including the Hearst Foundations, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. She has focused on developing curricula that build inclusivity in science journalism.
Erika has written for publications including the New York Times Book Review, WIRED, National Geographic, Nature, STAT, MIT Technology Review and Undark. She worked from San Francisco for the news section of Nature from 2001 through 2016, reporting on biomedical research, emerging technologies, scientific trends, and ethics in science. Her reporting on the Ebola crisis from West Africa received multiple national honors in 2014 and 2015.
Erika majored in Biology at Stanford University, where she began her journalism career by writing for the Stanford Daily and the Stanford Alumni Magazine. She also has worked at Newsweek in New York, covering science, medicine, and breaking news.