Carolyn Wilke

2017 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow

Northwestern University, Environmental Engineering
Fellowship Sponsor: Heising-Simons Foundation
Fellowship Site: Sacramento Bee

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering and Presidential Fellow at Northwestern University, where I study the fate of nanomaterials (tiny pieces of matter a thousand times smaller than the width of a hair) in the environment. Specifically, I research the chemistry of nano-silver and nano-titanium dioxide, two commonly used nanoparticles, and their toxicity to bacteria in aquatic ecosystems.

Outside of the lab, I am an avid science communicator. I regularly contribute to HELIX Magazine, Northwestern’s online science magazine, writing about topics that I find fascinating like bioluminescent bacteria and argyria, an obscure medical condition that results in blue skin. I also enjoy interviewing civil and environmental engineering researchers for my podcast Inhabiting Earth.


Fellowship publications at Sacramento Bee

6/15/2017          Small earthquakes triggered by winter snow, spring melt in California, study finds

6/21/2017          Why the next space explorers could be autonomous robots

6/23/2017          Flood-prone town protects itself against waters while letting a river roam

6/30/2017          Vinegar can help plants survive drought

7/11/2017          How much does school bullying cost California?

7/12/2017          This glove cost less than $100 to make and can translate the sign language alphabet

7/19/2017          Climate change could mean a much wetter California

7/27/2017          Lake Tahoe’s waters continue to warm, and thousands of trees are dying

7/31/2017          Nearly 2 million California acres were set aside for frogs. But ranchers say decision ignores them

8/01/2017          What’s next after home brewing? More people are trying home winemaking

8/01/2017          What you need to know about the total solar eclipse

8/07/2017          Stress and air pollution - double jeopardy for low-income pregnant women?

8/07/2017          7 things to know about watching the eclipse in Sacramento

8/10/2017          Why you should protect your eyes while watching the eclipse

8/16/2017          New genetic evidence could have major implications in the fight to save spring-run Chinook

8/17/2017          This colorful frog’s survival is at risk in California’s streams. Here’s how the state could save it

8/18/2017          A 14-foot-tall arthritis patient receives treatment at the Sacramento Zoo

8/20/2017          What’s the buzz? Research could help bumblebees as well as California farms

8/22/2017          Genetic screening to speed up search for resilient pines in Tahoe forests