Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Five awarded Taylor/Blakeslee University Fellowships for 2015-16

Five journalists who have distinguished themselves as student and professional writers, authors and scientists have been chosen by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing to receive prestigious Taylor/Blakeslee University Fellowships supporting graduate study in science writing.

Each will receive a $5,000 award for the 2015-16 academic year, bringing to 146 the number of science writers aided by CASW’s graduate fellowships since 1981.

Chosen from a field of 25 outstanding applicants were:

Diana CrowDiana Crow (@CatalyticRxn) of Brookline, Massachusetts. Crow holds a biology degree from Bard College, where she launched and edited the Bard Science Journal. In Boston, she has freelanced for publications including Scientific American, produced an interview series for the National Science Communication Institute and posted coverage of academic lectures. After also writing grant proposals, working as a lab technician, blogging and organizing science outreach events, Crow will pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a magazine editor by attending the MIT science writing master's degree program.

Hannah FurfaroHannah Furfaro (@HannahFurfaro) of Fresno, California. Furfaro is an award-winning education reporter for the Fresno Bee, having worked as a news reporter for the Ames (Iowa) Tribune, Associated Press and the Bee after earning a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. Her investigative and multimedia journalism has been recognized with awards from two state newspaper organizations and the Inland Press Association. While covering politics and education, Furfaro has found herself pursuing investigative reporting project on agriculture, environment and technology, and decided that these subjects are her passion. She will attend Columbia University's master's program in specialized journalism with a science concentration.

Laurel Hamers

Laurel Hamers (@Arboreal_Laurel) of Madison, Wisconsin. Hamers is a graduate of Williams College who is now working as a media services writer at the American Institute of Physics while also doing freelance writing and blogging. While completing a bachelor's degree in biology with a neuroscience minor, she launched a campus-wide online science publication, which led her to pursue communication internships at the Marine Biological Laboratory and then AIP. "Writing press releases has left me wanting more... to go deeper, to write about science in all its messy complexity," she says, "and for that, I need stronger reporting skills." She will pursue them through the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Amy McDermottAmy Georgianna McDermott (@amesydragon) of Glendora, CA. McDermott is currently completing a master's degree in conservation biology at Columbia University and will also attend the UC Santa Cruz program. She is founder and current editor-in-chief of Hawkmoth, an "indie science magazine" that grew from a blog she launched while doing research in Fiji for the American Museum of Natural History. Developing stories from the experience of field research is her specialty. Having blogged on SciLogs, produced science videos for Columbia's Earth Institute and freelanced for Natural History and other publications, McDemott has decided on a science-writing career.

Kendra Pierre-Louis (@KendraWrites(pictured at upper right) of Astoria, New York. Pierre-Louis holds an economics degree from Cornell University and a master's in sustainable development from the School of International Training's Graduate Institute. She has distinguished herself in work for organizations promoting sustainability and biodiversity, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, a secretariat of the United Nations Environment Programme. As a freelance writer, Pierre-Louis has contributed to Newsweek, the Earth Island Journal and Modern Farmer and authored a 2012 book, Green Washed: Why We Can't  Buy Our Way to a Green Planet. She wants to become a journalist to move from writing for the "green ghetto" of environmental activists to communicating with the public. She will enroll in the MIT Science Writing Program.

CASW's graduate fellowships are underwritten by a grant from the Brinson Foundation, a Chicago-based philanthropic organization. They honor the late Rennie Taylor and Alton Blakeslee, science writer and science editor respectively for the Associated Press. More information may be found on this page.