Over the coming weeks, a cadre of elite science journalists will converge on Cambridge to embark on a year of learning, research, and project work as fellows in MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Program. Their arrival marks the highly anticipated return of KSJ’s in-person fellowships, after a two-year hiatus during which the program offered only remote project fellowships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Five mid-career journalists — Mary-Rose Abraham, Laura Bliss, Wojtek Brzezinski, Sébastien Malo, and Kelly Servick — will spend the year at MIT pursuing in-depth journalism projects, taking courses at local universities, and participating in seminars, workshops, and science-related field trips. They’ll be joined by early career journalists Ambar Castillo and Brittany Trang — this year’s Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellows — who will take part in KSJ programming while also serving apprenticeships at STAT, the award-winning Boston-based biomedical magazine.
The fellowship year officially kicks off in August, with a week of tours, talks, and get-to-know-you events, including a welcome reception and a behind-the-scenes tour of the new MIT Museum. The fellows will have a brief break before the start of fall classes, and KSJ’s seminar series will launch on September 13th with a visit from Mark Abrahams, originator of the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research. (Many, though not all, of the KSJ seminars are open to interested members of the public; contact learning and events coordinator Claire Sadar for more info If you would like to attend a specific lecture.)
This year’s fellows hail from the U.S., India, Poland, and Canada. While in Cambridge, they will delve into topics ranging from the diagnosis of mental disorders, to climate change’s impacts on soil and farming, to how machine learning algorithms are affecting communication. Read below to learn more about the fellows and their interests:
2022-23 KSJ Fellows
Mary-Rose Abraham is an independent multimedia journalist based in Bangalore, India. Her stories have been featured in BBC News, National Geographic, The Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Earth Island Journal, and Vice. She is the co-creator and co-host of “Scrolls & Leaves,” a world history, science and cultures podcast that has been featured by Spotify. Before moving to India, she was a staff producer at ABC News in New York, reported and produced for NPR, and was a researcher at NBC News. Abraham grew up in Los Angeles and has an undergraduate degree in Biology from UCLA and master’s degree (with honors) in Journalism from Columbia University.
Laura Bliss is a writer, reporter and editor based in San Francisco. On staff at Bloomberg CityLab, she writes about local policy and politics for a national audience, including transportation, housing and environmental issues. She is the editor of the new book, “The Quarantine Atlas,” a collection of 65 maps and essays revealing pandemic life around the world, drawn from a global audience engagement project she co-led at Bloomberg CityLab. She also writes the MapLab newsletter, and is the host of the podcast “Bedrock, USA,” a podcast about political extremism, small town life and the fight for democracy. Her reporting and writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Los Angeles magazine, Sierra magazine, and many other outlets.
Wojtek Brzezinski is a freelance science journalist based in Warsaw, and the former creator and host of Poland’s first weekly sci-tech TV news show, “Horyzont Zdarzen.” His recent work focuses on the effects that digital systems have on society and includes co-authoring the book “Strefy Cyberwojny” (“Cyber Warzones”) with Agata Kazmierska. His stories have been published by Tygodnik Powszechny, Poland’s oldest weekly, leading broadcasters like TVN and Polsat News, the Interia.pl news portal, and many other outlets. Brzezinski has won several national and European awards for his work, including the 2006 Prix CIRCOM for Europe’s best regional TV news story.
Sébastien Malo is a climate and environment reporter in New York for Reuters. He was a climate correspondent with the Thomson Reuters Foundation from 2015 to 2019. He has reported on climate change from the corridors of the United Nations to the farmlands of Niger and U.S. courts. He holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and a master’s degree in journalism with honors from Columbia University. He’s previously worked for Lebanon’s The Daily Star and investigative news website The New York World.
Kelly Servick is a staff reporter and editor at Science Magazine, where she has covered biomedical research and biotechnology, drug development, and most recently, neuroscience. Her work has also appeared in Scientific American, Wired, and other outlets. Her story on the use of lab-engineered mosquitoes to control insect-borne diseases in Brazil was a finalist for the U.S. National Association of Science Writers Science in Society award. She has a B.A. in cognitive science and is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
2022-23 Sharon Begley Fellows
Ambar Castillo was most recently a Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellow at the Washington City Paper. She earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies at Boston University and an M.A. in Spanish-language journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she concentrated on health/science reporting. A Fulbright India research scholar, she researched complex human relationships, worked with StoryCorps, and at hyperlocal newspapers in the Bronx. Castillo has also worked with international communities in the health, education, and theater spheres from Brooklyn to Boston.
Brittany Trang, a scientist and writer, most recently was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellow at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Chemical & Engineering News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Chemistry World. Brittany has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and English from the Ohio State University and a chemistry Ph.D. from Northwestern University, where she developed PFAS remediation methods.