Jennifer Lu wins special CASW grant for investigative project

Jennifer Lu, now studying toward a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri, has won a $5,000 special reporting grant from CASW’s Taylor-Blakeslee university graduate fellowships program.

In her final semester of the Mizzou master’s program, Lu is focusing on investigative and data journalism. Her professional goal is to apply these skills to stories about science, health and the environment. She will use the Taylor/Blakeslee Project Fellowship toward reporting on the urgent problems that come with the nation’s aging drinking water infrastructure for the online investigative news group InquireFirst.

The judges noted the urgency and importance of investigative science reporting on the drinking water contamination crises now facing many cities. They congratulated Lu on a reporting plan that will dig into these issues and examine the effectiveness of practice and regulation at the local, regional and national levels.

Lu is one of five graduate students currently supported by Taylor-Blakeslee University Fellowships. The Brinson Foundation, which underwrites the fellowships, provided the follow-up grant to enable a Fellow to undertake a career-launching enterprise project.

In a competition, Fellows approaching graduation were invited to propose high-impact enterprise projects that would leverage their graduate training and entrepreneurial talent. “The submitted projects were all excellent, and we hope these exceptional science journalists will find ways to complete them. The world needs this reporting,” said CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid.

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.

This is the second year of the project fellowship. The first grant went to Amy McDermott, then enrolled in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.