SEJ 2016 Emerging Environmental Journalist Award Winners

The SEJ Emerging Environmental Journalist Award recognizes students with outstanding potential in environmental journalism at institutions that SEJ members identify and help to develop a local selection process. The member also supports the student's first-year membership in SEJ or finds another source to do that (such as the sponsoring university or college). Submissions are accepted year round on a rolling basis, but we highly encourage submitting before May 1 so that students can be recognized locally before they leave school that year.

Want to launch a promising environmental journalism career and the next generation of SEJ leadership? Find more information here.

Congratulations to the 2016 Award Winners

 

Katie Callihan
Sponsored by Bernardo H. Motta
University of South Florida Saint Petersburg
Katie L. Callihan is both a great photographer and a thoughtful reporter. Katie's work in her final semester was covering how a science education program was bringing elementary children back in touch with nature while enhancing their science skills. From the quality of her writing to the intensity of each picture, Katie has the skills and talent to become a successful environmental investigative reporter, feature writer and photojournalist.
       
Katy Canada
Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder
Katy is pursuing a master's in journalism and a certificate in environment, policy and society at CU Boulder. Relevant coursework thus far includes science writing and reporting on the environment. Her work focuses on topics including fracking, the emerald ash borer and green burial practices. Katy is currently interning at the Denver Post.
       
Kevin Duffy
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Kevin “Fitz” Duffy has written for Great Lakes Echo and researched environmental journalism since joining MSU's EJ master’s program two years ago. His specialty is explaining scientific studies for lay audiences, including recent stories about riverless urban areas in the Great Lakes Basin, the impact of climate change on rare plants and the use of sex pheromones to combat the invasive sea lamprey.
       
Lauren Fox
Sponsored by Doug Struck
Emerson College
Lauren is an outstanding student in Emerson College's Environmental Reporting Class. She has a nose for news, and a desire to pursue a story to its conclusion. She also works as a coop intern at the Boston Globe, has contributed to her hometown Nashua Telegraph and is the recipient of a scholarship from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.
       
Samantha Lee
Sponsored by Andrew Simon
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Samantha Lee was fabulous as an intern at Grist this summer. She jumped right in and did terrific work. The managing editor was practically in tears to see her go, she was such a consistent performer, and great attitude. And she pitched in on video projects, too.
       
Cay Leytham-Powell
Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder
Cay is a master's student at CU Boulder's Media and Public Engagement program, with an emphasis on environmental risk and society. She has pursued her interests by taking a science writing course, and by focusing the projects from other classes around environmental issues such as climate change and human-wildlife conflict. Previous stories include human-coyote conflict on the front range, a Q&A with the director of "Chasing Ice," the evolutionary role of shame and a look at the Fourmile Canyon fire five years later.
       
Morgan Linn
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Morgan Linn has reported on topics as diverse as flame retardants bioaccumulating in Lake Erie fish, the impact of the spiny water flea on a Wisconsin lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site nominees in the Great Lakes states and a proposed national marine sanctuary surrounding Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
       
Katherine McNally
Sponsored by Elizabeth Rush Mueller
Bates College
Kate McNally is a senior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where she is studying and writing about the ways coastal fishing communities use marine resources (and the work it takes to get those resources) to perpetuate community connections and create meaningful lives. Last summer she received the Otis Fellowship to travel to the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. While there, she studied the lobster industry and the community connection with the ocean. She will spend the summer of 2016 on the Shetland Islands as a Phillips Fellow researching the cultural importance of the local fishing industry, specifically on the islands of Burra and Whalsay. 
       
Laura Mulrooney
Sponsored by Bernardo H. Motta
University of South Florida Saint Petersburg
Laura Lynn Mulrooney is not only a prolific journalism student, having published nearly 20 stories in one semester in local professional publications, she is also a caring and mindful reporter covering food-related issues, including but not limited to Ag Gag laws, food distribution and resources in food deserts, and the social impacts of underutilized health food programs in a local underserved African American neighborhood. Laura is a top student in her classes and she is dedicated to her beat. 
       
Jack Nissen
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
As an undergraduate research assistant, Jack Nissen continuously demonstrates a solid grasp of research concepts, something unusual for a young and emerging environmental journalist. He has a keen interest in improving environmental journalism by conducting rigorous research.
       
Kit Norton
Sponsored by Doug Struck
Emerson College
As I write this, Kit is at sea on a two-day trip with a commercial fisherman to do another story for Emerson College's Environmental Reporting Class. Kit Norton is a tenacious reporter with a keen interest in environmental matters and a desire to get the story straight.
       
Colleen Otte
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Journalism major Colleen Otte has covered a wide range of environmental topics for Great Lakes Echo, including stories about the impact of climate change on Isle Royale National Park, the use of satellite imagery to study lake trout spawning areas, solar energy incentives and the expanding wild-and-urban interfaces in the Great Lakes Basin.
       
Marie Orttenburger
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Marie is a talented multimedia journalist adept at translating science and policy into engaging stories. She has produced podcasts on vernal pools, urban garden innovations, environmental art and written stories pairing diverse subjects such as bats and bugs, drones and wildlife, and invasive plants and microbes.
       
Ali Pechulano
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Ali Pechulano, a journalism master’s student from Cameroon, has written for Great Lakes Echo about the plight of eels threatened by power plants and overfishing in the Upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River, and about the threatened pitcher’s thistle. He handles social media for Great Lakes Echo, a nonprofit environmental news service.
       
Alex Pilnick Alex Pilnick
Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder
Alex is a master's student in CU Boulder's Media and Public Engagement program with a keen interest in environmental issues. An avid photographer, he continues to hone his video and multimedia skills through storytelling. He recently completed a documentary short focused on the impact of climate change on corals.
       
Lauren Price
Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder
Lauren is a first year master's student in the journalism program at the University of Colorado and is also working toward a certificate in Environment, Policy and Society. Lauren works as the graduate assistant for the university's undergraduate student newspaper and as a teaching assistant. Her work has focused on exploring the toxicity levels in pesticides and the toxins in everyday household products, specifically cosmetics. 
       
Amanda Proscia
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Amanda Proscia is a journalist emerging on many fronts. She has produced a graphic to explain how septic tanks function, created an animation of how manure threatens water supplies, written how genetic engineering can remove the horns of cattle and reported how a couple coped without access to a safe supply of drinking water.
       
Kelsey Ray
Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder
Kelsey will graduate with her master's in journalism from UC Boulder in 2016. She has worked closely with the school's Center for Environmental Journalism and wrote her thesis about the environmental activists fighting against the proposed Nicaraguan canal. As an intern with the Colorado Independent, she writes about fracking, environmental policy and coal mine methane.
       
Cheyna Roth
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Cheyna Roth is a graduate student at Michigan State University's School of Journalism. She has served as the host and a producer for the Food Fix, a podcast that examines innovative solutions to better feeding people in developing countries. Her work explores the environmental implications of food production and efforts to move it to greater sustainability.
       
Kayla Smith
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Kayla Smith frequently experiments with stories at the interface of art and environmental news. She has written about movie stars who build bat boxes, birds that play electric guitars and kiteboarders in Halloween costumes. She has also reported on birds that bash buildings and once questioned via Skype an entire classroom hundreds of miles away and that later tweeted pictures of their interview.
   
Sayra Trejo
Initiated by Elizabeth Grossman
Dominican University of California
Sayra is a remarkable student who has quickly become one of the best journalists we have had in years. She is a critical thinker, problem solver and is quick to adapt to the needs of her audience or story. She shows the qualities of a seasoned journalist including the ability to find the story within the story, interviewing as well as the choice of interviewees and the ability to do deep, thorough research.
       
Kasey Worst
Sponsored by Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Kasey Worst is a podcast editor and interviewer for the Food Fix, a news service covering innovations that helps better feed the developing world. She has written stories on subjects as diverse as intercropping maize and pigeon pea, hydroponics and frugal innovations in the markets of Malawi.
       
Cole (Nicholas) Zingas
Initiated by Emilia Askari and Julie Halpert
University of Michigan
Cole is a future physician who also is deeply engaged with environmental justice and journalism. He brought this unusual combination of interests and talents to the university's environmental journalism course as a first-year student – and wound up with the highest grade in the class. In a news feature story on algal blooms that he wrote for this class, Cole took a very complex scientific topic and made it understandable for the general public. Cole has great potential to craft a career that combines environmental health, medicine and journalism.