Kara Guzman

Science writer

United States of America

I graduated from Stanford with a biology degree in 2005, thinking I was headed to medical school.
Thank god I didn't.
For seven years, I ran education nonprofits for inner-city children in East Palo Alto and Boston.
Then I traveled around the Pacific Rim for a year, discovering my talent for writing.
I became a news reporter for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, where I wrote hundreds of stories on daily deadline, mostly on science and education.
Now I'm a freelance science and environment writer, based in Santa Cruz, CA.
Email me at [email protected]

Good Times Santa Cruz
Losing Obamacare Could Set Back County's Mental Health Gains

Hugh McCormick was a standout UC San Diego student in 2001 when he first heard the voice in his head, and his mental collapse began. His started thinking he controlled the stock market. He thought the world revolved around him, and he was responsible for any disasters. Then 9/11 happened.

Santa Cruz Sentinel
Cotoni-Coast Dairies: An aerial tour of the nation's newest national monument

DAVENPORT >> In its first days as a national monument, Cotoni-Coast Dairies was dressed spectacularly in green, from its grassy coastal terraces to its forested ridgetops. Friday, blessed with bluebird skies, the Sentinel took an aerial tour of the 6-mile coastal stretch surrounding Davenport, hours after President Obama's proclamation Thursday.

Good Times Santa Cruz cover story
Why Wildfires are Getting Worse

On the afternoon of Sept. 26, Santa Cruz County residents watched in horror as a thin smoke plume at the Summit became an ominous mushroom cloud that was visible for miles. For two weeks, the Santa Cruz Mountain peak looked like an erupting volcano as the Loma fire burned 4,474 acres and destroyed 12 homes and 16 other buildings.

Rare White Hummingbird Steals the Spotlight at California Garden

In the Australian Gardens at the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum, a dozen Anna's Hummingbirds dart between golden banksia flowers and various pink and white blooming shrubs. Their feathers are bright, iridescent shades of emerald, pink and gray. The grove is awash with color.

Good Times Santa Cruz cover story
Saving Lighthouse Field

Lighthouse Field, the 38-acre coastal meadow on West Cliff Drive, is one of several wooded places in the city where the homeless sleep at night. In a way, the field is a perfect respite. Low-slung cypresses and pines create private nooks, where people can hide from the trails.

Good Times Santa Cruz
Living on the Edge

The county's Sisyphean task of managing cliff erosion >> From his living room window, Larimore Cummins has watched Santa Cruz's coastline fall away into the ocean, rock by rock, for nearly 30 years. Before he sold in 2014, Cummins lived at 1307 West Cliff Drive, a blue house perched on a rocky outcropping, the only residence on the iconic strip's ocean side.

Good Times Santa Cruz cover story
Shadow of a Drought

Two dozen rented rowboats floated all Saturday on Loch Lomond, captained by weekend fishermen hoping to surprise some largemouth bass. For three years, nobody fished the Felton reservoir, due to closure from drought, until it reopened in March, following a stormy El Niño winter.

Santa Cruz Sentinel
Sea otter pup conceived in wild is first born in captivity

For the first time, a sea otter impregnated in the wild has given birth in captivity at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, allowing researchers a rare look at a nursing mother. It happened in minutes, the day before Thanksgiving, when senior animal trainer Courtney Ribeiro-French was the only team member nearby.

Good Times Santa Cruz
Pressing Rewind

Ten million years ago, Santa Cruz was underwater, and sea cows and 50-foot megalodon sharks swam where the Santa Cruz Mountains later emerged. Then came the Ice Age. The sea level dropped, pushing the shoreline west.

The Mercury News
Sperm whale hunts squid in the Monterey Bay

MONTEREY BAY - For the first time in five years, a sperm whale has been sighted in the Monterey Bay. The solitary adult male was first seen Oct. 1 by a Monterey Bay Whale Watch boat captain. It's been spotted a handful of times since, in deep-water canyons relatively close to shore.

Santa Cruz Sentinel
UC Santa Cruz professor develops HIV vaccine

For 30 years, UC Santa Cruz professor and vaccine developer Phil Berman has been chasing a moving target - the insidious, ever-changing HIV virus - and now, finally, he thinks he has it cornered. Berman's lab has developed an experimental vaccine he believes will guard against HIV and AIDS.

Good Times Santa Cruz
Back from the Brink

Endangered coho salmon rebound in Scott Creek >> A few miles north of Davenport, Scott Creek winds through steep coastal mountains that time forgot, past old farmhouses, redwoods and pines.

Santa Cruz Sentinel
Felton farm uses dogs, not guns, to deter mountain lions

On a wooded ridge between Loch Lomond and Highway 17, livestock farmers Alison Charter-Smith and Tony Jaehnichen have found a safe, friendly alternative to using guns to deter mountain lion attacks: large, fuzzy sheepdogs. This month, Madrone Coast Farm, an 8.2-acre organic farm known for its free-range eggs, became the first farm in the state to receive a wildlife-friendly certification.

Good Times Santa Cruz
From Tech to Climate Change Crusade

For example, the 67-year-old Capitola resident says his most-recent life change-leaving his tech career at age 59 and entering a UCSC doctorate program in hydroclimatology-was like "jumping into a swimming pool." All of a sudden, he had to do calculus again, and it had been 30 years since he'd taken a math class.