Helen Chappell learned about the AAAS Mass Media Fellowships from a former fellow, who described the program as a turning point in her career. Chappell could identify: She was feeling a bit lost in her physics studies and was interested in exploring other ways of using her education. So with only a week before the 2011 fellowship applications were due, Chappell went through a “fun scramble” to put in her paperwork for the program.
In June, Chappell joined 10 other winners of the 2011 Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowships at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. before the fellows kicked off their summer working in various news media outlets all around the country. The fellows, along with two Science magazine’s AAAS Minority Science Writer interns, participated in a three-day orientation that prepped them for working in a newsroom.
The fellows selected for the program are graduate and post-graduate level science, engineering, and mathematics students. The program which started in 1974, gives students the opportunity to work in a newsroom and report on science news throughout the summer.
The Minority Science Writers Internships, established seven years ago with support from the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation, provides hands-on training at Science for students interested in science writing and pursuing a career in journalism.
“Above all else, we hope the fellows will be inspired to incorporate effective science communications into their core professional work,” said Rahman Culver, project director for AAAS Education and Human Resource Programs.
The fellows spend 10 weeks during the summer assigned to media organizations across the country. They will play an active role in producing content for their newsroom by completing reporting and research assignments.
“Through giving early career scientists and researchers an opportunity to work in newsrooms, we hope they will establish a strong working rapport with reporters and ultimately become more comfortable communicating with journalists,” said Culver.
During orientation, the fellows participated in a variety of sessions, including interviewing techniques, writing for radio, and pitching story ideas. The orientation wrapped up with workshops on science writing.
The fellows will return to AAAS headquarters in August to share their experiences and present posters showcasing their summer’s work.
Get to know the fellows by clicking on their photo, and hear each of them talk about their educational background, as well as their thoughts on what’s ahead of them this summer.
2011 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows
Kelly AprilChicago Tribune
Sophie BushwickScientific American
Helen Chappell Raleigh News & Observer
Melanie Devries KUNC-FM, Greeley, Colorado
Daniela HernandezLos Angeles Times
Kelly HoganMilwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Maureen Langlois NPR
Elizabeth LesterSacramento Bee
Dione Rossiter Voice of America
Helen ShenPhiladelphia Inquirer
2011 AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship
Natalie VillacorteScience magazine
Yasmin OgaleScience magazine
Read more about the AAAS Mass Media Fellows Program.
Listen to interviews with the 2011 fellows.
Watch interviews with some of the 2010 fellows.