Spotlight on Metcalf Institute Alumni

Searchable Alumni List | Alumni News Stories

Metcalf Institute has trained nearly 1500 scientists, science communicators and journalists from around the world since it was established in 1997.  Read their profiles to learn how Metcalf programs have impacted their lives and informed their reporting and engagement.


 

Nigel D'Souza 101x151

Nigel D’souza

Two years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history sent 200 million of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Nigel D’souza (then a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University), was among a consortium of U.S scientists studying the spill’s impact on the ecosystem. It was during his four years researching the spill’s impact that he became keenly aware of the enormous disconnect between scientists and those locals who were immediately affected by the spill.

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Torrey Truszkowski

Brown University graduate student Torrey Truszkowski has conducted extensive research on the sensory processes of the brain. However, when it came to writing about her research for non-expert audiences, the PhD candidate in neuroscience, whose research has garnered a National Institutes of Health awards, needed some help.

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Kate Siber

Kate Siber decided to leave her stable reporting job at Outside Magazine for an uncertain career as a freelance journalist, she took the plunge with trepidation. “Everybody told me it was a bad idea including my boss; she thought I was going to live in a cardboard box,” said Siber, an alumna of Metcalf’s 2016 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. “It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made.”

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Aaron Orlowski

Aaron Orlowski left Metcalf Institute’s 2014 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists with a brand new perspective on how researchers approach their work. “I was the only person in our newsroom who had the experience of talking to scientists about what they mean when they talk about [scientific] uncertainty,” said Orlowski, a former environment and health reporter for the Orange County Register in California.

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David McFadden

When Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, killing more than 540 people and leaving a trail of destruction in its path, Associated Press (AP) reporter David McFadden was there. “This has had one of the largest environmental impacts of any story that I have ever worked on,” said McFadden as he described widespread devastation, including ruined food crops “leveled like matchsticks,” contaminated wells, and thousands of displaced families.

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Doyin Adeoye

Doyin Adeoye sought out Metcalf Institute’s 18th Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists with one goal in mind. “I wanted to learn more about the science behind the environmental issues in Africa,” said Adeoye, environmental reporter for the Nigerian Tribune, who began writing about the environment just four months before she was selected to attend the week-long workshop. “There is no way you can tell a story to your audience if you can’t understand it yourself.”

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Eli Chen

Eli Chen began pondering the environment as early as high school in the “consumer-driven” suburbs of Chicago. “My family wasn’t really thinking about how much stuff we threw out on a daily basis or how much we used things like air conditioners in the house,” she said. Her exposure to what she calls “a wasteful culture” and the books she read about environmental issues “woke me up to the fact that there were some real problems out there,” she added.

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Brett Walton

Seventeenth century-author Thomas Fuller once said, “We never know the worth of water til the well runs dry. It’s a sentiment Brett Walton can relate to as a reporter for Circle of Blue for the past six years. The online news organization was founded by journalists and scientists focused on the world’s water sources and its relationship to food, water, and health.

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Rebecca Williams

Metcalf Institute alumna Rebecca Williams has been immersed in one of the worst public health crises in recent history, the exposure of 100,000 Flint, Michigan residents to lead in their drinking water. Michigan Radio, where Williams has been reporting for the past sixteen years, was among the first local news outlets to cover the disaster.

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Annalyn Ardoña

When Annalyn Ardoña first began producing segments for the GMA Network’s Born to be Wild television show in the Philippines, she felt conflicted about leaving the political beat to cover the environment. “My other journalist friends were tackling corruption, poverty, and child labor,” explained Ardoña, an alumna of Metcalf’s 2015 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. “I felt like I wasn’t doing something valid on the environmental beat.

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Neena Satija

Investigative reporter and radio producer Neena Satija envisioned a totally different career path when she began her freshman year of college at Yale University. “I thought I was going to go to medical school,” she said, until a writing class, a job at her college newspaper, and an internship at the Toledo Blade changed everything. “I was hooked,” said Satija.

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Patrick Cassidy

Patrick Cassidy’s unique career path has taken him from Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde to news editor at the Cape Cod Times. “Like most people’s lives, it was as much of an accident as anything,” said Cassidy, a veteran reporter and three-time winner of the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s highest honor, Journalist of the Year.

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Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock approaches his stories through a social justice lens. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with joint BA degrees in English and African Studies, Mock recognized a void in environmental news coverage early in his career and set out to make a difference.

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Bradley Campbell

Bradley Campbell, a 2013 alumnus of Metcalf’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, goes to work everyday to his “dream job” as a producer for PRI’s weekday radio show, The World.

Raised in a rural logging town surrounded by 11 acres of woods, Campbell used to listen to public radio during school breaks while “cutting shrubs or battling back English Ivy” as a landscaper.

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Dennis Pillion profile

Dennis Pillion

Dennis Pillion was covering sports for the Alabama Media Group in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon spill dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. His editor immediately dispatched him to the Gulf shore to report on the oil spill heading their way – the largest marine spill in U.S. history.

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 Meera Subramanian 101x151

Meera Subramanian

Meera Subramanian, an award-winning journalist, newly published author, and Metcalf Institute alumna, has been passionate about the environment since the age of 19, when she spent four months aboard a cruise ship navigating the globe through the Semester at Sea program. She witnessed a world both infinite in experience and very finite in natural resources. The voyage helped set Subramanian on her career path.

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Rhonda Miller

Veteran journalist Rhonda Miller’s career has taken her across the country to jobs in radio, print, and online news organizations. She’s covered a wide range of topics along the way including countless environmental issues, with an emphasis on human impacts. “I think it’s important to find real people who haven’t really been in the news, and haven’t told their stories,” said Miller. “Those people are very believable and authentic.”

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Tom Henry

Tom Henry

Toledo Blade environment reporter Tom Henry described his profession this way in an article for Nieman Reports “When done right, it’s passionate storytelling with a hard-nosed quest for truth, and this should be the hallmark of our craft.” His quest for the truth has spanned 34 years, led to numerous journalism awards and accolades, and gained the deep respect of his peers for his insightful coverage of environmental issues.

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Elizabeth Dunbar

The timing was right, in 2014, when Elizabeth Dunbar attended Metcalf Institute’s Climate Change and the News: Impacts in the Great Lakes seminar in Chicago. The Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reporter and her team were just about to launch a six-month investigation into climate change impacts in Minnesota. “We were looking for opportunities for training, and Metcalf’s seminar seemed to fit really well with what we were going to be covering,” said Dunbar.

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Cally Carswell

Born in New Mexico and raised in Chicago, freelance journalist Cally Carswell is exactly where she wants to be.  She’s back in her home state telling stories about climate science, ecology and land management.“One of the reasons that I really like those kinds of science stories is they’re just really important and relevant to society right now, so it feels like important stuff to be reporting on,” said Carswell, an alumna of Metcalf’s 2014 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.

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Alex Nussbaum

When Bloomberg News reporter Alex Nussbaum covered the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, he searched for stories about people, not policy.

“I try to keep things on the human level and dwell on impacts that readers can relate to,” said Nussbaum, an alumnus of Metcalf Institute’s 2002 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.

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Cynthia Henry

Metcalf alumna Cynthia Henry shares this advice with the early-career journalists she manages as deputy editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer: When interviewing a scientist for a story, “you can’t be afraid to feel stupid, to say I don’t understand,” said Henry.

It’s one of the lessons Henry learned as a fellow in Metcalf Institute’s 2007 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.

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Jacopo Pasotti

Switzerland-based freelance writer and photojournalist Jacopo Pasotti has trekked across the planet telling stories about science, cultures, and our natural world for decades.  “I know I’m doing something good because I’m covering subjects that normally would go uncovered,” said Pasotti, a 2011 alumnus of Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.  “I’m learning many things and I’m making my contribution to informing citizens.”

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Julia Scott

Julia Scott adds new meaning to the term “diving into a story.”  An alumna of Metcalf’s 2007 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, her experiential reporting style has taken her inside an iron lung after interviewing a woman who relies on the device to breathe. “The experience really informed my reporting,” said Scott.

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Julia Kumari Drapkin

Julia Kumari Drapkin is on the cutting edge of environmental journalism. “We’re doing climate change journalism in a totally different way.”  A 2007 alumna of Metcalf Institute’s Diversity Fellowship in Environmental Reporting, Drapkin is the executive producer of iSeeChange, a crowdsourced public media experiment that connects average citizens with scientists to help them understand the changes happening in their own backyards.

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Tim Faulkner

Tim Faulkner’s career path began with a deep appreciation for nature, dating back to his childhood as a Boy Scout in Rhode Island.  “It was a combination of passions for writing and for the outdoors and the environment,” he said.  After writing for various Southern New England newspapers, Faulkner joined EcoRI News, an online publication devoted to educating the public about local environmental and social justice issues.

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Judith Lavoie

The timing was just right when Judith Lavoie attended Metcalf Institute’s 2013 Pacific Northwest Climate Change Seminar for Journalists in Seattle.  After covering the environment and First Nations stories for the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia, for more than 20 years, Lavoie was embarking on a new career as a freelance journalist. She says she left Metcalf’s seminar armed with great new sources, renewed confidence, and six notebooks jammed packed with story ideas.

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Emily C. Dooley

Award-winning journalist Emily C. Dooley still relies on many of the tools she gained as a fellow in Metcalf Institute’s 2013 Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. “I’ve done a number of fellowships, and this was by far the best,” said Dooley about her Metcalf experience. She began covering the environment for Newsday in 2012, six months before Hurricane Sandy cut a destructive path across the east coast, killing hundreds of people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

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David Biello

David Biello recognizes the challenge of engaging people in environmental issues. “A lot of folks feel like it’s too late. People feel like we kind of made our bed and now we have to lie in it, so they throw up their hands and tune out,” said Biello, an associate editor at Scientific American and an alum of Metcalf Institute’s 2011 Science Seminar on Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. “I think the main way to address that is to not just talk about problems, but also solutions.”

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Christine Dell’Amore

Christine Dell’Amore has reported on environmental issues from six continents around the world, including Antarctica. A 2007 alumna of Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, Dell’Amore fondly recalls trawling for fish aboard a research vessel in Narragansett Bay, watching the birth of a mosquito, and pondering life’s career challenges with fellow journalists while bumping around in a van en route to the next Metcalf field excerise.

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Bina Venkataraman

Bina 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.

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Richard Salit

Richard Salit

Trekking through the woods to learn about forest ecology, hopping aboard a fisheries research trawler, and studying eroding shore lines is what comes to mind when Providence Journal reporter Richard Salit reflects on his Metcalf experience. As a 2004 fellow in the Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, Salit says he was introduced to some of the most important environmental issues confronting the coast.

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Christine Woodside

Christine Woodside

Christine Woodside has a soft spot for Metcalf Institute. Her relationship with the organization began in 1999 with the inaugural Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. Fifteen years later, she’s one of Institute’s strongest supporters and advocates as chair of Metcalf’s Advisory Board, a voluntary position. “I am honored that I was asked to serve in this capacity,” said Woodside.

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Steve Krueger

Steve Krueger

Steve Krueger considers himself a pioneer of sorts.  He was the first full-time environmental reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in British Columbia, paving the way for future journalists. Later, at KPLU, an NPR affiliate in Seattle, Washington, where he covered similar stories, he realized how important it was to have a good understanding of the science behind the environmental issues he covered.

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Manuela Zoninsein

Manuela S. Zoninsein

Eager 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.

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Kate Sheppard

Millions of gallons of oil had already flowed into the Gulf of Mexico when Mother Jones reporter Kate Sheppard attended Metcalf Institute’s Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists in June of 2010. At the time, she was knee deep in reporting on the worst oil spill in U.S. history and one of the biggest stories of her career. “I think what shocked me most about the spill was just how long it went on,” said Sheppard.

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Edward Ortiz - profile list page

Edward Ortiz

Edward Ortiz, reporter at The Sacramento Bee, calls his experience at Metcalf Institute “groundbreaking,” especially his one-on-one interactions with scientists.“Once a scientist knows that you have a good basic understanding of the science, an element of trust develops,” said Ortiz.  “The researcher becomes more open to helping you understand the issues and more likely to give you the important quotes you need to tell your story.”

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Alexa Elliott

Alexa Elliott

Award-winning journalist Alexa Elliott gets to suit up for work sometimes at WPBT2 in Miami, Florida, where she dives into her job as creator, writer and producer of “Changing Seas,” a half-hour science and adventure series focusing on ocean issues and exploration.  A 2004 Metcalf alumna, Elliott says she continues to draw from her experiences at the Annual Science Immersion Workshop.

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Sujata Gupta

Armed with degrees in English and science writing, but limited first-hand exposure to the world of scientific research, science journalist Sujata Gupta dove headlong into Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists in 2011.  “It was amazing,” said Gupta.  “As a journalist who interviews researchers constantly, it helped me to hone in on what’s important and it really taught me how to talk to researchers.”
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Floriano Filho

Floriano Filho

Just months after Floriano Filho completed his fellowship at Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists in June of 2011, an environmental disaster struck his homeland. Hundreds of gallons of oil leaked into the Atlantic Ocean from Chevron’s drilling operation 75 miles off the Brazilian coast.  Filho says lessons learned during his Metcalf fellowship helped him when, a short time later, he served as a moderator at a conference on oil and gas and gave a presentation on “Brazil and the Geopolitics of Global Oil.”

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 Chelsea Wald

Chelsea Wald

When Chelsea Wald, a freelance science and environmental journalist, reflects on her experience at Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists in 2007, she values the connections she made with fellow reporters most.  One such friendship with alum Christine Dell’Amore led to the creation of the Science Newsbrief Award.  They came up with the idea during the Metcalf workshop and then established the award.

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