Science-in-Action Storytellers

Dena Seidel

Director, Editor, Second Camera, Science Communication educator

Dena Seidel is an award-winning science filmmaker and science communication researcher. Over the past 14 years, Seidel and colleagues at Rutgers developed an innovative science-in-action video storytelling model that translates science for public audiences while training the next generation of science communicators. Seidel has directed and produced several research-based feature length science films featuring Rutgers scientists for national and international distribution and broadcast while including undergraduates in the creative process including “Fields of Devotion“, “Antarctic Edge: 70° South“Atlantic Crossing: A Robot’s Daring Mission” and  “Generation at Risk” and The War After. Her students have directed several successful research-based films on their own including The Women of Nsongwe, Skycatcher, The Princess of Piombino and most recently Life on the Edge: Exploring New Jersey’s Ecosystems and Biting Back: The Lifesaving Potential of Catnip. 

Seidel supervises undergraduates who shape the science video data into thematic scenes as part of their own science learning through storytelling research.

Jeanpaul “JP” Isaacs


JP is a professional cinematographer and an independent filmmaker. A graduate of Rutgers School of Communications (2014), JP began his documentary career directing the short film The Women of Nsgonwe in Zambia featuring the international agricultural work of Dr Jim Simon from the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Skilled in both fiction and non-fiction storytelling, JP was part of the Academy Awards’ Team Oscar in 2014 featuring talented young artists chosen to represent the future of filmmaking. 

Science Storytelling Researchers and Assistant Editors

Bella Burnworth

Major: Biology

“The vastness of the ocean is terrifying, yet at the same time one of the most enthralling entities on Earth. I joined this project out of general curiosity, but my motivations have evolved into a desire to share this fascinating information with others and satisfy my fervent desire to learn.” 

Brendan Henley

Major: Physical Oceanography and Physics

 “I love the ocean, and I love learning more and more everyday. Going into a marine science field, science communication is vitally important for our future, so I want to learn how to better share science with the public.” 

Jack Greenberg

Major: Psychology

“Majoring in Psychology, I find people very fascinating, why they do the things they do; I’m also very passionate about making movies. I joined this project as I’m watching scientists in the middle of the ocean do what they love. I’m very excited and thankful to see what makes them happy and learn about their scientific research at the same time!” 

LiYuan Byrne

Major: Philosophy

“I felt drawn towards working with the science storytelling team at Mysteries of 9 North because I love taking on work that is outside of my comfort zone. This project has become my window into the world of deep-sea ecosystems and scientific exploration. I cherish this opportunity to learn and I’m excited to communicate this passion to the public.” 

Zolani Kizito

Major: Public Health

“Through Public Health courses and experiences as a premedical student, I have seen how essential it is to disseminate science knowledge from the lab and into communities. I wanted to participate in Mysterious of 9 North because I know that the spread of knowledge through science storytelling will secure a healthier and more knowledgeable society for generations to come!” 

Colin Sabol

Major: Marine Science

“I’ve always had an interest in research that dives into the unseen parts of our world and enjoy having the opportunity to help share the amazing work that the scientists looking into these environments do.”

Erin Cabanado

Major: Biotechnology

“I believe that it’s human nature to be curious and to have wonder about our environment. Scientists are humanity’s extension of that curiosity; and that they are not so different from poets and artists in that sense.”

Colby Koutrakos

Major: Ecology

“All my life I’ve been passionate about the natural sciences and how to communicate my love of them to the world. This project has given me the opportunity to educate myself on the fascinating environment of the deep sea, but also to learn about science communication through video storytelling. I’ve gained a more well-rounded understanding of how to educate others on the things I care about so much.”