Science Journalism in the Public Interest

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CYNTHIA GRABER, ’13

Cynthia Graber is the co-host of Gastropod, a podcast about the science of food. Since Gastropod is a self-published project, Graber has been working “startup hours” editing the episodes and promoting the podcast. She has also been doing freelance work for magazines on the side.

When she joined the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship in ’12-13,  Graber had already become a successful freelancer after finishing Boston University’s Science Journalism masters program. Still, she wanted to deepen her understanding of the scientific disciplines she covers. During her fellowship, Graber took a general intro to biology course with noted cancer biologist Robert Weinberg, as well as classes focusing on more specific areas of genetics and developmental biology.

Graber gave back to KSJ by serving on the admission committee that would elect new fellows. She says, “I was really unimpressed when someone came in to be interviewed and said they really needed a year off. It’s not a break. Let’s face it: we all need a break. But it’s not a year off. It’s a year on, but it’s a year on in a very different way.”

Since wrapping up her fellowship, Graber has been doing more stories on the biology of food and how we experience it. Much of that work has been done with her Gastropod co-host Nicola Twilley, but Graber has also been delving deeper into genetics in her freelance work for outlets such as The New Yorker and Public Radio International. Of the KSJ@MIT Fellowship, she says, “It was a great opportunity to learn so much.”