Meet the WCSJ2017 Student Journalism Travel Fellows

Students from 12 nations received travel fellowships to cover sessions and events at the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 in San Francisco. Front row (l-r): Amelia Jaycen (U.S.), Carolyn Wilke (U.S.), Jillian Clemente (U.S.), Margarida Marques (Portugal), Elizabeth Kimbrough (U.S.), Jesus Antonio Pascual Álvarez (Mexico), Rithy Odom (Cambodia). Middle row (l-r): Ellen Rykers (New Zealand), Michelle Morelos (Mexico), Kelsey Harper (U.S.), Setsen Altan-Ochir (Mongolia), Jia Naqvi (Qatar), Omnia Gohar (Egypt), Andjela Djuraskovic (Montenegro). Back row (l-r): Sergio Villagrán (Chile), Sibusiso Biyela (South Africa), Inés Gutiérrez (Mexico), Sebastián Rodríguez (Costa Rica), Felix Reskala (Mexico), Jennifer Lu (U.S.), Leah Rosenbaum (U.S.). Photo: Diego Graglia

Extensive news coverage of scientific sessions, journalism panels, and field trips at the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 will appear on this page within the next two weeks, thanks to reporting from an international group of science writing students attending the meeting on full fellowships.

The reports, both news stories and multimedia presentations, will be crafted by 21 student travel fellows, representing 12 nations. The students were among a competitive group of 167 international students who applied to attend WCSJ2017 to jump-start their new careers in science journalism.

"A few years ago, I did not even know science journalism was a thing."

Seven of the funded students are from the U.S., while six live in Latin America. The rest come from an array of nations in Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, and Europe. Of the 21 recipients, 15 are women.

“A few years ago, I did not even know science journalism was a thing,” says Sibusiso Biyela, a student attending the conference from South Africa. “I look forward to meeting the very people whose work in science writing has inspired me to pursue this career.”

“I think WCSJ2017 will be the most impactful week of my life,” adds Kelsey Harper of Johns Hopkins University. “I am new to science journalism, but the work and the community already feel like home!”

Ample conference coverage

Each student will file two stories: a news story during the conference, and then a second report one week later in any format they wish. A volunteer group of 21 editors from the National Association of Science Writers and the Mexican Network of Science Journalists (RedMPC) will work with the students on their first drafts.

Ten graduate students in the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz also will contribute stories to the meeting’s news site, which will serve as a permanent resource for science journalists worldwide.

All funds to cover the costs of bringing the student travel fellows to San Francisco were provided by three generous donors: the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Organizers of the student program at WCSJ2017 and editors of the news site are Robert Irion, director emeritus of the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program, and independent journalist Diego Graglia, former editor for The Associated Press in Mexico City.

Irion and Graglia conducted a training workshop for the students on 26 October, the first day of WCSJ.

Former traveling fellows shared advice with the students

Conference off to a good start! @wcsj2017 #wcsj2017

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Read more about the students

See the links below for bios and photos of the student travel fellows:

Setsen Altan-Ochir (Mongolia)
Sibusiso Biyela (South Africa)
Jillian Clemente (U.S.)
Andjela Djuraskovic (Montenegro)
Omnia Gohar (Egypt)
Inés Gutiérrez (Mexico)
Kelsey Harper (U.S.)
Amelia Jaycen (U.S.)
Elizabeth Kimbrough (U.S.)
Jennifer Lu (U.S.)
Margarida Marques (Portugal)
Michelle Morelos (Mexico)
Jia Naqvi (Qatar)
Rithy Odom (Cambodia)
Jesús Antonio Pascual Álvarez (Mexico)
Félix Reskala (Mexico)
Sebastián Rodríguez (Costa Rica)
Leah Rosenbaum (U.S.)
Ellen Rykers (New Zealand)
Sergio Villagrán (Chile)
Carolyn Wilke (U.S.)
Olansis Wolde (Ethiopia) *

* Olansis Wolde received a travel fellowship but was unable to attend the conference.