Maris Fessenden

Maris is a multimedia storyteller, designer, and illustrator.

Hello! I’m Maris. My professional focus is on surprising connections, nuanced conversation, and change. Hire me to communicate your mission, manage creative projects, craft stories with journalistic integrity, or convey complex science-informed concepts.

My passion and talents shine when I use storytelling to imagine and create spaces—digital, conceptual, and visual—that are just, caring, memorable and meaningful. I seek to help balance humanity’s needs with those of the natural world that sustains us all.

I have 8+ years of experience as a freelance journalist, writing about science, art, culture, history, and more for digital and print publications, institutions, and organizations. My clients have included Smithsonian Magazine, Scientific American, NASA, Popular Science, Nature, Science, Western Confluence,, and others. I have 2+ years of experience in instructional design, content creation, and creative project management at a conservation nonprofit, Adventure Scientists.

I’ve advocated for voting rights and transgender rights in Montana, audited an instructional design course for e-learning from the University of Washington, completed the Facilitate for Freedom: Anti-oppression Facilitation Fundamentals and Uprooting White Supremacy in Organizations trainings with AORTA (anti-oppression resource & training alliance), and the Master Naturalist Course through Montana Outdoor Science School.

I serve on the board of the Science Writers Association of the Rocky Mountains (SWARM).

I was awarded a spot in the Emerging Leaders Program at SHIFT Summit 2022.

When I’m not working, I am exploring the mountains, rivers, and valleys near my home in Bozeman, Montana. Or I’m home cooking, reading, learning, and spending time with loved ones.

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How do you share your story and message? I have a knack for gathering information, paying attention to the details, collaborating with skilled partners, and creating meaningful experiences with specific audiences in mind.


I report, interview, write, edit copy, create audio stories and podcasts, produce newsletters and reports, blog posts, and social media content.


I illustrate, shoot video and photos, edit and produce videos, instructional booklets, and more.


I design immersive virtual learning experiences, logos, print publication layouts, webpages, and more.

That’s me, reporting on scientists examining a whitebark pine tree that recently emerged from snow and ice at 11,000 feet above sea level, above the modern-day treeline. Beartooth Plateau, MT.

My experience as a trans, non-binary, queer person who grew up in rural America teaches me to never assume I know where you come from or how that shaped your perspective. I listen, I learn, and I act from a place of empathy and care.