Knight Science Journalism Program introduces new fellowship for HBCU Science Journalists

The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT unveiled a fresh fellowship initiative that will offer students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) resources, guidance, and early career backing to cover science, health, and environmental topics. The first group of fellows will comprise 10 accomplished journalism students from Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and North Carolina A&T State University.

The commencement of the HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship is set for June, featuring a week-long science journalism summer camp at MIT, providing fellows the opportunity to learn from acclaimed science journalists, connect with editors of top science publications, and enhance their skills through practical workshops. Each fellow will be assigned a professional science journalist mentor over the following year to collaboratively pitch stories to national and regional science publications.

The intent behind the initiative is to broaden the horizons within a specialized journalism domain that has gained significance in the public domain. A central aspiration is to enhance the diversity in science journalism to better mirror the served communities.

Notable inclusions in the inaugural HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship cohort are: Mykal Bailey (Howard University), Jonathan Charles (Florida A&M University), Christén Davis (North Carolina A&T State University), Zoe Earle (Morgan State University), Jordyn Isaacs (Hampton University), Steven Matthews Jr. (North Carolina A&T State University), Sabrina McCrear (Howard University), Trinity Polk (Hampton University), Skylar Rowley (Florida A&M University), and Utrurah Whitley (Morgan State University). The fellows exhibit diverse interests, encompassing areas from astronomy and artificial intelligence to women’s health and environmental justice.

“We’re excited to welcome this exceptional cohort of students to MIT,” mentions Knight Science Journalism Program Associate Director Ashley Smart. “Their remarkable talent, skills, and dedication, coupled with their potential to influence science reporting for the better, are truly impressive.”

The collaboration between the Knight Science Journalism Program and journalism deans and faculty at the five participating schools was crucial in formulating the fellowship concept and selecting the inaugural group.

The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship initiative is an addition to the series of endeavors by the Knight Science Journalism Program to foster and enhance science journalism for public welfare. These efforts include the flagship academic-year fellowship for mid-career journalists, the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellowship for early-career journalists with STAT, and the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East.

“The 2024-25 HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship cohort comprises individuals with diverse interests and talents:

– Mykal Bailey from Howard University focuses on environmental justice and agricultural science.
– Jonathan Charles from Florida A&M University covers environmental science and AI.
– Christén Davis from North Carolina A&T State University dives into international economics and infectious diseases.
– Zoe Earle from Morgan State University delves into astronomy and zoology.
– Jordyn Isaacs from Hampton University specializes in AI and environmental justice.
– Steven Matthews Jr. from North Carolina A&T State University explores meteorology and natural disasters.
– Sabrina McCrear from Howard University delves into women’s health and genetics.
– Trinity Polk from Hampton University is keen on climate change and public health.
– Skylar Rowley from Florida A&M University focuses on animal science and infant mortality.
– Utrurah Whitley from Morgan State University concentrates on information technology.

Established in 1983 at MIT, the Knight Science Journalism Program stands as the premier global science journalism fellowship initiative. With over 400 prominent science journalists graduating from the program across six continents, participants benefit from a comprehensive curriculum at MIT, Harvard University, and other distinguished institutions in the Boston region, along with specialized training workshops, seminars, and science-oriented field trips. Additionally, KSJ publishes the acclaimed science magazine, Undark, and offers diverse journalistic programming covering topics from science editing to fact-checking.

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