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Manuela S. Zoninsein – 2010 Fellow

Manuela ZoninseinEager to step away from the daily grind of general assignment reporting in Beijing and Taipei, China, Manuela Zoninsein says Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists in 2010 was like a “breath of fresh air.”  Zoninsein had just completed her first three-years of reporting from Greater China and was transitioning to an environmental beat.

“The workshop was a chance to learn about different kinds of environmental stories, touch base with the environmental issues of interest to the U.S. public, and interact with an incredibly inspiring, seasoned and smart group of reporters,” said Zoninsein.  “Being around the other journalists at Metcalf reinforced my connection to the global community and reminded me of the high degree of professionalism and standards that I aspired to achieve.”

Zoninsein recalls a trip to Block Island during the workshop where they learned about efforts to site the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., and a visit to a family farm that lived off of wind-generated power.  But she says one of the most memorable activities was Metcalf’s popular science translation exercise, which partners scientists with journalists to improve Metcalf Fellows’ ability to interpret scientific publications for news audiences.

Zoninsein says she’s most proud of her current position as founder and CEO of Smart Agriculture Analytics, a start-up company that focuses on smart agriculture technology opportunities in China for foreign technology providers and investors.

As she makes the transition from environmental journalist to green-tech entrepreneur, requiring that she simultaneously act as leader, reporter, researcher, writer, and agriculturalist, she’ll always value the lessons learned during her Metcalf fellowship.

“It gave me an entirely new set of skills and approaches, not to mention the confidence to analyze scientific reports and discuss them knowledgably with experts,” said Zoninsein.  “This is something that I utilize on a regular basis to this day.”