McKenzie Prillaman

Science Writing Intern, Spring 2023

McKenzie Prillaman was 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. Archaeology

    Human footprints in New Mexico really may be surprisingly ancient, new dating shows

    Two dating methods find that human tracks in White Sands National Park in New Mexico are roughly 22,000 years old, aligning with a previous estimate.

  2. Health & Medicine

    The thymus withers away after puberty. But it may be important for adults

    The thymus is considered somewhat unnecessary in adults. But a new study finds that its removal is associated with heightened risks of death and cancer.

  3. Climate

    Canada’s Crawford Lake could mark the beginning of the Anthropocene

    The mud of a Canadian lake holds an extremely precise record of humans’ influence on Earth. But the Anthropocene isn’t an official geologic epoch yet.

  4. Animals

    Bottlenose dolphin moms use baby talk with their calves

    When their babies are near, bottlenose dolphin moms modify their signature whistles, similar to human parents speaking in baby talk.

  5. Neuroscience

    Brain cavities that swell in space may need at least 3 years to recover

    MRI scans of astronauts show that duration in space and time between flights affect how much the brain’s fluid-filled cavities expand during missions.

  6. Chemistry

    19th century painters may have primed their canvases with beer-brewing leftovers

    Several paintings from the Danish Golden Age contain remnants of brewer’s yeast, barley and other grains commonly used to brew beer.

  7. Health & Medicine

    WHO declares an end to the global COVID-19 public health emergency

    Global COVID-19 deaths are down and immunity is up. But with the virus here to stay, it’s time to shift to more long-term health measures.

  8. Health & Medicine

    The U.S. COVID-19 public health emergency is ending. What does that mean?

    The declaration, made early in the pandemic, made tests, vaccines and treatments free to all. On May 11, the proclamation ends.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Ultrasound allows a chemotherapy drug to enter the human brain

    An early-stage clinical trial demonstrates a technique for getting a powerful chemotherapy drug past the usually impenetrable blood-brain barrier.

  10. Health & Medicine

    Pets and people bonded during the pandemic. But owners were still stressed and lonely

    People grew closer to their pets during the first two years of COVID. But pet ownership didn’t reduce stress or loneliness, survey data show.

  11. Psychology

    Native language might shape musical ability

    People who speak tonal languages, where pitch alters meaning, are better at perceiving melody but worse at rhythm than speakers of nontonal languages.

  12. Archaeology

    A prehistoric method for tailoring clothes may be written in bone

    A punctured bone fragment was probably a leatherwork punch board. Perforated leather sewn together may have been seams in clothing.