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Spotlight on Metcalf Institute Alumni: Bina Venkataraman

Bina Venkataraman – 2008 Fellow

Bina - profile 180 x 180Bina Venkataraman, a Metcalf Institute Environmental Reporting Fellowship alumna, speaks passionately about our world. “The story of our planet is to me one of the biggest and most important stories, and science is a major tool for telling the story,” she said.

As she begins her new position as senior advisor on climate change innovation in the Obama administration, Venkataraman reflects on her new job at the White House, and an important stop along the way.

“My time with Metcalf is one of the threads that helped me stitch together a mission to convey science in ways that resonate with more audiences, “ said Venkataraman.

Venkataraman’s had just left her post reporting on the science desk of The New York Times when she began her ten-month Metcalf fellowship in 2008. She saw the learning experience as an opportunity to strengthen her understanding of environmental and marine science.

“I measured wind speeds on Block Island and waded waist-deep into rivers. I helped harvest oysters in a blizzard, and I learned about flying into the eye of a hurricane,” she said. “Metcalf reinforced for me that journalists play a crucial role as storytellers who can convey the mysteries of the planet, and the reality of how the earth is changing.

“I also love Rhode Island and hold a deep conviction that anyone who has the chance to spend September in Narragansett should drop everything and do it,” she added.

Metcalf placed Venkataraman at The Boston Globe for nine months of reporting on environmental issues to complete her fellowship, after which she joined the Globe’s editorial board until 2010.

A graduate of Brown University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, she teaches at MIT in the department of Science, Technology, and Society. In her new position in the Obama Administration, Venkataraman will lead an effort to make data on climate change impacts available to people around the country so that they can yield insights for communities, companies, and citizens.

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