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Jen Christiansen

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Class of 1996

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Biography

Jen Christiansen is senior graphics editor at Scientific American, where she art directs and produces illustrated information graphics and data visualizations. She completed undergraduate studies in geology and art at Smith College, then happily merged the two disciplines in the scientific illustration graduate program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She began her publishing career in New York at Scientific American as an intern in 1996, moved to Washington DC to join the art department of National Geographic, spent four years as a freelance science communicator, then eventually rejoined the SciAm team in 2007. She has presented on scientific illustration, data visualization, and art direction at a variety of events, including Visualized, Eyeo Festival, OpenVis Conf, Malofiej (Pamplona), BPViz, Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science & Education, Association of Medical Illustrators annual meeting, QVIG (Munich), Visualizing Knowledge (Helsinki), and Communicating Complexity (Sardinia); and is a co-organizer of SciVizNYC. She is a regular contributor to SA Visual—the Scientific American art blog—writing on topics ranging from reconciling her love for art and science, to her quest to learn more about the pulsar chart on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover.