SEJ 2017 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 2017 Award Winners

 
Julie Rothey
Sponsored by Jeff South
Virginia Commonwealth University
Julie Rothey, a rising senior and member of the Honors College at VCU, is a multimedia journalist with expertise covering environmental issues. Among other topics, she has written about legislation to prevent coal ash ponds from polluting rivers and groundwater and about the major sources of toxic chemicals released into the environment in Virginia. Her work has been published by news outlets throughout Virginia, including The Washington Post.
       
Daniel Kam
Sponsored by Doug Struck
Emerson College
Daniel is a native Hawaiian who cares about the environment and reports on it with understanding and appreciation. He comes to the environmental beat with a wealth of information and a desire to explain that will serve his readers well.
       
Mia Zarella
Sponsored by Doug Struck
Emerson College
Mia is a senior from Rhode Island who is zealous about her reporting and about covering environmental issues. Her reporting is always thorough, well done and insightful, and her enthusiasm carries over into her field work and her journalism.
       
Natasha Blakely
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Natasha Blakely is a journalism major who has written a variety of stories for Great Lakes Echo, including legal stories about clean energy issues, stories about deer population, how climate change is affecting Michigan's wine culture and new archaeological techniques. She is accomplished at deciphering studies and research to produce interesting and fun new stories about the environment.
       
Kate Habrel
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Kate Habrel is pursuing a master's degree in journalism with a focus in environmental and science news at Michigan State University. She reports for Great Lakes Echo, covering topics as diverse as newly discovered categories of microplastic pollution and poetry informed by Great Lakes shipwrecks.
       
Karen Hopper-Usher
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Karen Hopper Usher has reported on wild rice, wolves, dogs, hunting, ticks, soil and taxidermy (because why not?) for Great Lakes Echo at the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. She accepted a post-master's job offer from a paper in northern Michigan.
       
Maxwell Johnston
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Maxwell Johnston is majoring in journalism, specializing in radio news at Michigan State University. His goal is to make compelling written and radio stories on environmental issues that affect the public. His print reporting has covered issues as diverse as the fate of wooly mammoths and invasive species for Great Lakes Echo. His audio work includes reports on innovative ways to end world hunger for The Food Fix podcast. This summer he is interning as an environmental reporter for Interlochen Public Radio.
       
Apoorva Joshi
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Apoorva Joshi is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism, a research assistant with the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and an Environmental Science and Policy Program Fellow — all at Michigan State University. Originally from India, she has a master’s degree in environmental science and natural resource journalism from the University of Montana. As a correspondent for Mongabay.com, Apoorva has reported on such global environmental stories as wildlife crime, illegal mining, deforestation, coal-based energy in developing countries, injustice against indigenous communities and biodiversity conservation. Her research explores the role of the news media in covering environmental, policy and conservation crime stories.
       
Steven Maier
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Steven Maier is pursuing a degree in journalism and religious studies at Michigan State University. He stumbled into environmental journalism along the way, and has since covered environmental politics, water quality, amphibians and an inordinate number of fish species. He's interested in exploring the intersection of environmental issues, religion and philosophy.
       
Carin Tunney
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
Carin Tunney has reported on diverse environmental issues across the Great Lakes Basin, including North America’s largest edible insect farm in Ontario, the search for hidden groundwater springs in Minnesota and plant-poaching in New York and Ohio. As a masters’ student at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism she has also conducted extensive research on the Flint water crisis and the media’s role in environmental disaster.
       
Ian Wendrow
Sponsored by The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University
As a reporter for Great Lakes Echo, Ian Wendrow has tackled the complicated but engaging world of scientific research and the challenge of explaining it. His stories include the use of computer models to improve dairy farm production, the impact of climate change on maple syrup production and a review of a book about successful grassroots efforts to preserve pristine dunes. He has learned a great deal about the fascinating interconnection between ecology, politics, economics and community, and looks forward to applying what he has learned.