Four writers who have helped readers discover science in topics from basketball to curly fries 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 2014-15 academic year.
Chosen from among 32 applicants were:
Denny Densford of Lexington, KY (pictured at upper right). Densford studied journalism and psychology at the University of Kentucky, where it can be hard for any news to compete with basketball. “Fink” Densford’s writing in the student newspaper adroitly leveraged sports analogies to pull readers into science stories. He’ll pursue a master’s degree in science communication at Boston University.
Jeanette Kazmierczak of Newnan, GA. While earning her bachelor’s in journalism at the University of Georgia, Kazmierczak has been inspired by internships with WGBH/NOVA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her weekly column for the student paper, “She Blinded Me with Science,” answers such reader questions as “Can your face really get stuck like that?” She will attend the master’s program in specialized journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.
Joshua Sokol of Baltimore, MD. After graduating from Swarthmore with degrees in astronomy and English literature, Sokol joined the Space Telescope Science Institute as a research and instrument analyst. He conquered a fear of writing when STScI gave him the opportunity to write captions explaining the science behind Hubble Telescope images. He will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate science writing program.
Annie Tague of Pilot Point, TX. Tague has done extensive fieldwork in environmental conservation, agriculture and public health while following her intellectual curiosity across the sciences. A Haverford English literature graduate, she will also join the MIT program. She hopes through science writing to “infuse daily conversation with discovery.”
CASW’s fellowship award process was accelerated this year so that recipients could be notified ahead of the April 15 decision date for graduate admissions. Going forward, applications will be due each March. The 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.
(An earlier version of this announcement appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of ScienceWriters, the magazine of the National Association of Science Writers.)