Cristina Santiestevan

independent writer / editor / publication manager

This is My Story

To be brief: I solve communication challenges for nonprofits, educational institutions, and magazines.

More thoroughly: I am a Virginia-based independent writer / editor / photographer / project manager with more than 15 years’ experience writing and managing projects for nonprofits, museums, zoos, and similar organizations and magazines.

“Cristina is simply amazing! I’m not overstating her impact when I say that she saved the Smithsonian Zoogoer magazine…” Mark Phillips

Associate Director of Membership, Marketing, and Events, Friends of the National Zoo

I manage workflow and editorial messaging for in-house magazines, reports, and other content-intensive materials for nonprofits and educational organizations.

I write articles about conservation and the environment, wildlife and gardening.

I collaborate with clients to produce communications materials that fit their organization’s goal(s), voice, and audience.

I am familiar with a variety of desktop publishing and content management programs, including Powerpoint, Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, SurveyMonkey, MailChimp and Constant Contact. I am fluent in HTML and social media.

I have a Masters degree in Biology, tracked endangered primates through Africa’s rainforests, and grow my own food in my front yard. As a graduate student, I trained fish to swim through mazes. And, despite a lifelong and totally unreasonable fear of ants, I spent an entire summer researching large, angry ants in sub-alpine meadows near Boulder, Colorado. When I commit to a project, I finish it. Even if there are ants involved.

As a writer, I believe strongly in the vital importance of getting the story right. But, correct information counts for nothing if it isn’t accessible to the reader. This is reflected in my writing. Read a few of my clips, and you’ll notice that I generally write in a casual and friendly tone. But, you’ll also notice that I am never casual about the facts — the tone is friendly, and the facts are accurate.

Most recently, I just completed a multi-year contract as acting editor for Smithsonian Zoogoer Magazine, a quarterly, 48-page, full-color magazine for the National Zoo and its ~35,000 Friends of the National Zoo members (March 2013–November 2015).


  • Project and publication management
  • Team building and oversight
  • Editorial messaging and story development
  • Writing and editing and photography
  • Exhibit research, development, and writing
  • Print and online communications
  • Website design and coding


  • Ecosystems and connections (and what happens when those connections are broken)
  • wildlife / habitat conservation and restoration
  • environmental issues
  • climate change (science, impacts, mitigation, and more)
  • suburban ecology and organic gardening
  • citizen science and the many ways individuals can make a difference


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