2016-17 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows distinguished by diverse experiences, accomplishment
Five science-trained journalists who have pursued their passions for science and writing in locations as diverse as Mexico and Yemen have been awarded the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing’s prestigious Taylor/Blakeslee University Fellowships supporting graduate study in science writing.
The Fellows will receive a $5,000 award for the 2016-17 academic year, bringing to 151 the number of science writers aided by CASW’s graduate fellowships since 1981.
Chosen from a field of 31 outstanding applicants were:
Matthew Blois (pictured above), a Peace Corps Volunteer based in Guadalajara, Mexico who finds that he “constantly encounters people and ideas that force me to reevaluate how I think about the relationship between humans and the environment. Trained in biology and Spanish at Westmont College, Blois organizes live storytelling events for training and uses a blog to document the stories he encounters. He will pursue a master’s degree in environmental and natural resource journalism from the University of Montana to develop his skill to use varied media to tell stories about science, people and the environment.
Jennifer Lu of Columbia, Missouri. Lu is enrolled in the journalism master’s program at the University of Missouri. Having studied investigative journalism and data reporting this year, she plans to spend her second year applying those skills to science stories specific to Missouri and beyond. Lu holds a master’s degree in biochemistry from Brandeis University and worked as a research technician in Boston-area medical labs before taking up science writing and newspaper reporting. She is currently a science writer at the university’s Bond Life Sciences Center.
Raleigh McElvery (@raleighmcelvery) of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. McElvery’s interest in neuroscience was ignited when Alzheimer’s disease struck her grandmother. While completing summer internships as a neuroscience major at Bowdoin College, she found that she preferred translating science to the public to scientific writing. A communications internship at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard solidified her enthusiasm for a career as a “courier of knowledge.” McElvery will enroll in the MIT science writing master’s program.
Pathik “Tik” Root (@TikRoot) is a Vermont-based freelancer and Middlebury College graduate. He has reported from Yemen, Rwanda, Spain, Turkey and Russia as a freelance broadcast, newspaper and magazine reporter. While studying and reporting in the Middle East, Root became aware of the critical importance of environmental and resource issues to the stability and sustainability of the modern world. Recipient of a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting travel grant, he will enroll in Columbia University’s master’s in journalism program, concentrating on science, health and the environment.
Maria Temming (@mariatemming) of Cincinnati, Ohio. As an undergraduate honors student at Elon University, Temming has double-majored in physics and creative writing and once wrote a class essay that compared obsessive compulsive disorder to a calculus problem, finding the area under a graphical curve with integration. After cutting her teeth writing and producing science stories for Sky & Telescope and Scientific American and a campus blog, she will enroll in MIT’s master’s program in science writing.
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.