Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Paired Fellows selected for first mentored science journalism project grants

Two recent Taylor/Blakeslee Graduate Fellows have been awarded CASW’s first Taylor/Blakeslee Mentored Science Journalism Project Fellowships, small grants for independent reporting projects that come with the support of a senior journalist—a previous Fellow—as mentor.

The grants are designed to help early-career science journalists gain important experience by organizing and executing freelance projects at a time when publishers are rarely able to cover the full cost of field reporting. The mentoring component is intended to help ensure the success of the project and also to build a cross-generational scaffold of mentoring within the community of Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows.

The project grants are funded by the Chicago-based Brinson Foundation, which provides underwriting for the Taylor/Blakeslee Graduate Fellowships.

The 2019 Taylor/Blakeslee Mentored Project Fellows and their mentors are:

Susie Neilson, Project Fellow, and Phil McKenna, mentor (upper left and right photos)

Neilson, who will earn her master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in May, plans an environmental investigative project called “A Toxic Bargain.” The grant will cover a reporting trip to talk with experts and community members to develop online and magazine articles. Neilson’s mentor will be environment and energy reporter Phil McKenna, a 2005 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellow, now part of an investigative team at InsideClimate News in Boston.

Joshua Sokol, Project Fellow, and Bryn Nelson, mentor (lower left and right photos)

Sokol, who was a 2014 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellow at MIT, plans a trip to scientific fieldwork sites in tropical Africa for “Birth of a Parasite,” a project exploring the evolution of a major infectious disease vector. His mentor will be Seattle-based freelance biology writer Bryn Nelson, a 1998 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellow.

The project grants are funded by the Chicago-based Brinson Foundation, which provides underwriting for the Taylor/Blakeslee Graduate Fellowships.