Marissa Fessenden is a freelance science journalist and illustrator. She gravitates toward stories about genes, wild life and places large and small, or times when art gets science-y or science gets artsy. Her work has appeared in Nature, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, The Scientist magazine, online at Spectrum News, the Daily Dot, ScienceNOW, the SETI Institute’s podcast “Big Picture Science,” and other places. She writes for Smithsonian.com’s SmartNews and regularly contributes to the site’s “Art Meets Science” series.
In her free time, she hikes, fishes, sketches, climbs trees and rocks, and grows food. She lives in Bozeman, Montana, near Yellowstone National Park’s northern entrance. In this photo she’s hiking across the Beartooth Plateau in Northwestern Wyoming, packing out sections of ancient whitebark pine trees during a reporting trip. Photo credit goes to Sarah Jane Keller.