Knight Science Journalism Program launches HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship

June 07, 2024

The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship will launch this June with a week-long science journalism summer camp at MIT, where fellows will learn from award-winning science journalists, meet editors from leading science publications, and develop their skills in hands-on workshops. Through the initiative, the Knight Science Journalism Program aims to open new pathways into a specialty area of journalism that has become increasingly important in the public sphere. “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome this impressive group of students to MIT,” says Knight Science Journalism Program Associate Director Ashley Smart. The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship adds to a suite of efforts by the Knight Science Journalism Program to sustain and improve science journalism in the public interest, including its flagship academic-year fellowship for mid-career journalists, the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellowship for early-career journalists (a collaboration with the Boston-based publication STAT), and the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East. The Knight Science Journalism Program, established at MIT in 1983, is the world’s leading science journalism fellowship program.

The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT has announced a new fellowship program that will provide students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) with training, mentorship, and early-career support to report on science, health, and environmental issues. The fellowship’s inaugural cohort will consist of 10 highly accomplished journalism students representing Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and North Carolina A&T State University.

The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship will launch this June with a week-long science journalism summer camp at MIT, where fellows will learn from award-winning science journalists, meet editors from leading science publications, and develop their skills in hands-on workshops. Over the following year, each fellow will be mentored by a professional science journalist, who will work with them to pitch stories to national and regional science publications.

Through the initiative, the Knight Science Journalism Program aims to open new pathways into a specialty area of journalism that has become increasingly important in the public sphere. An overarching goal is to help make science journalism more representative of the communities it serves.

Named to the inaugural HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship class are: Mykal Bailey (Howard University), Jonathan Charles (Florida A&M University), Christén Davis (North Carolina A&T State University), Zoe Earle (Morgan State University), Jordyn Isaacs (Hampton University), Steven Matthews Jr. (North Carolina A&T State University), Sabrina McCrear (Howard University), Trinity Polk (Hampton University), Skylar Rowley (Florida A&M University), and Utrurah Whitley (Morgan State University). The fellows’ varied reporting interests range from astronomy and artificial intelligence to women’s health and environmental justice.

“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome this impressive group of students to MIT,” says Knight Science Journalism Program Associate Director Ashley Smart. “They have an incredible wealth of talent, skill, and dedication — and immense potential to do science reporting that really impacts people’s everyday lives.”

The Knight Science Journalism Program worked closely with journalism deans and faculty at the five participating schools to develop the fellowship concept and to select the inaugural cohort.

The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship adds to a suite of efforts by the Knight Science Journalism Program to sustain and improve science journalism in the public interest, including its flagship academic-year fellowship for mid-career journalists, the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellowship for early-career journalists (a collaboration with the Boston-based publication STAT), and the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East.

The 2024-25 HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship class

Mykal Bailey is a sophomore at Howard University with reporting interests including environmental justice and agricultural science.

Jonathan Charles is a sophomore at Florida A&M University with reporting interests including environmental science and AI.

Christén Davis is a junior at North Carolina A&T State University with reporting interests including international economics and infectious disease.

Zoe Earle is a junior at Morgan State University with reporting interests including astronomy and zoology.

Jordyn Isaacs is a sophomore at Hampton University with reporting interests including AI and environmental justice.

Steven Matthews Jr. is a junior at North Carolina A&T State University with reporting interests including meteorology and natural disasters.

Sabrina McCrear is a junior at Howard University with reporting interests including women’s health and genetics.

Trinity Polk is a sophomore at Hampton University with reporting interests including climate change and public health.

Skylar Rowley is a junior at Florida A&M University with reporting interests including animal science and infant mortality.

Utrurah Whitley is a senior at Morgan State University with reporting interests including information technology.

The Knight Science Journalism Program, established at MIT in 1983, is the world’s leading science journalism fellowship program. More than 400 leading science journalists from six continents have graduated from the program, which offers a course of study at MIT, Harvard University, and other leading institutions in the Boston area, as well as specialized training workshops, seminars, and science-focused field trips for all attendees. KSJ also publishes an award-winning science magazine, Undark, and offers programming to journalists on topics ranging from science editing to fact-checking.

The source of this news is from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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