Here’s what a few former SJP Fellows had to say about the MBL’s unique program:

“This was an invaluable experience for me as a science journalist. It was incredibly useful to see – and take part in – science in action. I learned a lot about the ways scientists think about problems in the real world, and the ways they develop research to understand and then tackle them. It was fantastic to spend so much time being around scientists, which will really help when interviewing and spending time with researchers on future reporting trips. It was also a serious amount of fun. The lectures were all very interesting and provided many ideas for future stories. The program really developed my thinking as a science journalist.” — Richard Kemeny, Independent Science and Technology Journalist (2019 Environmental Fellow)


2019 Fellow Olivia Willis prepares a microscope slide in the Biomedical Hands-On Research Course. Credit: Harini Barath

“This program was so great! I had time to ask biomedical scientists questions about so many different topics, including the research projects we were working on. We talked about ethical issues, the challenges scientists face, different research organisms, new technologies, drug development, the cell cycle… It was an opportunity to increase my knowledge in biology. I got to use the very same tools I often mention in my articles (such as GFP). It was like [carrying out] real science!” — Mélissa Guillemette, Quebec Science (2019 Biomedical Fellow)

“This one of the best-designed science journalism courses I have been part of.  Instead of the usual talks and presentations, this course takes journalists into the field and places them into the shoes of scientists. That helps journalists experience, understand and appreciate the scientific process a lot more. The course also opens up a wealth of information and resources for journalists who can generate new story ideas from the experience.” — 2018 Environmental Fellow

“The fellowship gave me more insight into the scientific process and has already helped inform the kinds of questions I ask/edits I make (and the language I use) on our microbiology/genetics stories. I also gained an appreciation for how passionate scientists are about the work they do. It was just an awesome opportunity to briefly shift gears and pay attention to the source of our content, not just the end product.” — 2018 Biomedical Fellow

“This program was outstanding and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I got a crash course in biomedical research that gave me concrete experience into what goes on during laboratory research. The course instructors were fantastic and patient, and willing to answer my innumerable questions about their work and how they think … All of this gave me a rich sense for lab work and microscopy, and a deeper knowledge of what’s at stake in biomedical research.” — Regan Penaluna, Guernica Magazine (2017 Biomedical Fellow)

2018 Environmental Fellows Drew Costley and Katie Bourzac sampling at Waquoit Bay, Cape Cod. Credit: Javier Lloret

“To take data directly from nature, whether it’s water straight from the ground or fish from the sea, is a visceral experience. Data aren’t just some abstract numbers. They’re a direct reflection of nature. I’m sure we all knew that on an intellectual level. But now we saw it with our own eyes, and the experience makes me appreciate scientists’ work so much more. …The course also provides lots of new story ideas and expert sources that journalists can follow up with later. It expands journalists’ networks, as we get to know new colleagues and friends. Overall, it’s a great benefit to science journalism.” — Marcus Woo, Freelancer (2017 Environmental Fellow)

“This program is invaluable because it allows scientists and journalists to exist as equals. Journalists experience firsthand the disappointment of wonky results and then learn how to tease out what might have happened and how to move forward. At the same time, our instructors took a keen interest in our work as journalists. The program was an exchange of ideas and knowledge that left everyone richer… It was quite amazing to work on research projects that neither of our instructors had done before — the outcomes were unknown to all of us. We worked long, intense hours, but the instructors always had a smile on their faces and a funny story to tell. They patiently answered all our questions and allowed us to share the wonder of discovery.” — Jamie DePolo, Breastcancer.org (2017 Biomedical Fellow)

Shark embryo in its egg case. Credit: 2017 Biomedical Fellow Anna Nowogrodski

Shark embryo in its egg case. Credit: 2017 Biomedical Fellow Anna Nowogrodski

“This was the most hands-on and comprehensive fellowship I ever done. I don’t think there is an equivalent for this program anywhere else. Journalists rarely get a chance to witness the scientific process, let alone to participate in it. …We need this understanding so we can inform the general public and the governmental entities of what it really takes (and costs) to do science.” — Lena Zeldovich, Freelancer (2017 Environmental Fellow)

“The program was immensely valuable. Working in a lab with researchers, learning about the triumphs and setbacks they face in their work, gave me a deeper understanding of the many processes beyond just inquiry that go into successful research. Possibly paradoxically, I think the experience will make me a more skeptical reporter. I understand better how the same work on the same materials can yield different results, and how even the most rigorous research maintains an element of the subjective.” — Alec Hamilton, WNYC (New York Public Radio) (2016 Biomedical Fellow)

“The Logan Science Journalism Program is far and away the most valuable fellowship I’ve done to date. It showed me what it’s like to think like a scientist, and for that reason, will undoubtedly change the way I write about research. I have a whole new appreciation for the little details now—how difficult it is to take an accurate measurement in the field, for example, or to properly process a sample in the lab.” — David Levin, Pellet Productions (2016 Environmental Fellow)

2016 Environmental Fellows Emiliano Rodríguez Mega and Shanna Baker.

2016 Environmental Fellows Emiliano Rodríguez Mega and Shanna Baker.

“This program is absolutely critical to training science journalists to correctly evaluate research. …Courses like these [are] essential to good science journalism and the communication of the importance of science to the public.” — Bethany Brookshire, Science News (2016 Environmental Fellow)

“I would recommend this fellowship to all. It was tremendously useful to be hands-on, to see the practical lab/field work side of science and the painstaking effort it takes to get coherent results. It will continually provide a backdrop to every science story I do. Our instructors were fantastic, illuminating, and often inspiring. The fellowship also provided me with story ideas and boosted my knowledge in several fields.” —Nick Clark, Environment Editor, Al Jazeera English (2014 Environmental Fellow)

“Trying to answer a scientific question oneself, which is what we did during this course, really helps to understand both the beauty and the limitations of the scientific enterprise. I now realize better just how much the answers nature gives us are partial, and open to a range of interpretations−any result can in fact be interpreted in many ways, especially in ecology, which is a science of complexity. But I also see better the amount of effort−both physical and intellectual−and the amount of creativity scientists have to invest to get these answers, however limited they are, and the treasure that they hence represent.” −Yves Sciama, Science et Vie, France (2015 Environmental Fellow)


2015 Environmental Fellow Chris Joyce, left, talks with Bill Klimm, captain of the MBL’s collecting boat.

“I absolutely loved the MBL Science Journalism Program. I loved my professors, their assistants, and the other fellows. To feel part of an actual scientific investigation made me understand, more than ever, what scientists go through with their work. I was also exposed to some state-of-the-art imaging tools, which was very exciting for me. To see how visual microbiology is becoming only inspires me (a documentary filmmaker) even more to want to communicate the work and discoveries of science to the public. —David Jacobson, Documentary Filmmaker, Los Angeles (2014 Biomedical Fellow)

“Showing journalists how painstaking is the scientific process is a great way to encourage journalists to be equally meticulous in our reporting of science. In effect, we should exercise just as much care with our coverage as scientists do with their research.”−Chris Joyce, NPR, Washington, D.C. (2015 Environmental Fellow)

“I walked away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the most basic units of life−cells−and the complex dance of organelles and proteins interfacing inside the human body and other living organisms… By experiencing scientific research methods firsthand, I left this course feeling more empowered to approach complex stories on biomedical research.”−Nancy Eve Cohen, freelance radio journalist (2015 Biomedical Fellow)

“I’m a trained scientist (with a Ph.D. in chemical biology), and I still learned an immense amount from the Environmental Hands-on Course. … I feel much better prepared to tackle environmental reporting than I did before because I now have a much better understanding of the work these scientists do.”—Sarah Webb, Freelance Journalist (2014 Environmental Fellow)

“I found the fellowship to be tremendously valuable. Journalists never get a chance to do hands-on lab work; to get inside the minds of scientists in that way. This was a rare opportunity that’ll inform my reporting for many years to come.”—Julia Belluz, Vox.com (2014 Biomedical Fellow)

“I found the experience fascinating and fulfilling.  Most stories I have worked on focus on scientific work after it has been done. It is a rare experience for me to see it being done …  This kind of an experience should be a requisite part of the career of any science journalist.” Erik Olsen, The New York Times (2013 Environmental Fellow)

Collecting eggs or sperm from a sea urchin. Credit: David Jacobson, 2014 Biomedical Fellow

“It was a wonderful way to see how, exactly, science works. As a journalist I pop in and out of labs and hear about the research after its completed. But participating in the research itself gave me a deep understanding of how long it takes to complete research, the attention to detail that’s required, and the *patience* that a scientist must have in order to come up with legitimate, reliable results.” —Erin Biba, Correspondent, Wired Magazine (2013 Environmental Fellow)

“The journalism industry is now suffering an unprecedented economic contraction and reorganization, just as science and technology writing is becoming ever more crucial to elucidating important public and societal debates. Educational programs such as the SJP are critical for preparing science/technology journalists to meet the forthcoming challenges.” —Steven Ashley, Scientific American (2012 Biomedical Fellow)

“Spending 10 days in the shoes of a scientist gives me a deeper perspective on what scientists do, what their motivations are, what questions I need to ask them and what kinds of stories are out there that I am missing.” Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing.net, New York Times (2012 Environmental Fellow)

“The program was an invaluable introduction to cell biology, microscopy, and the life of a scientist. Despite being editor of The Biologist magazine, my degree is in physics … The hours I spent in the lab with professional biologists opened my eyes to the beauty and depth of a different science. It will have a huge impact on my editorship.” —Sue Nelson, The Biologist (2012 Biomedical Fellow)

“What a fabulous experience: Like stepping through the looking glass, sliding down the rabbit hole and finding oneself in the unfamiliar role of scientist. Even if only for a few days. The very best part was going through the whole process from working in the field, collecting data, evaluating what one has (or rather doesn’t have) and then presenting it, and not just have somebody speak about it. Even the most detailed and vivid talk leaves you on the outside. This is the closest one can come as a journalist to experiencing what if feels like to be  scientist.” —Madeleine Amberger, ORF Austrian Broadcasting Corp. (2012 Environmental Fellow)

2015 Environmental Fellow Amy Quinton of NPR/Capitol Public Radio explores a whelk. Credit: Fellow Rachael Buchanan, BBC

2015 Environmental Fellow Amy Quinton of NPR/Capitol Public Radio explores a whelk. Credit: Rachael Buchanan, BBC

“More and more, as magazines and newspapers cut their budgets, time becomes a rarer commodity for journalists. The time to immerse yourself in your subject matter, the time to converse with your peers, the time to question things, the time to let things sink in, the time for serendipity or creativity – all of it shrinks as the demands on journalists to multitask and produce material nonstop grow. The gift of time afforded by this fellowship may seem like a luxury, but when it comes to the job of communicating science to the public, such time spent in the field, with great peers, learning from great scientific minds, is not a luxury but essential. This fellowship is like a whetstone for us journalists: it sharpens our minds and hones our ability to communicate science accurately, passionately and infectiously.” —Anne Casselman, Freelance (2013 Environmental Fellow)

“I feel that every science journalist should take this course. It is truly unique in letting reporters ‘step into the shoes’ of scientists …  It was an excellent way for journalists to look at the science from the other side and also to cement their knowledge of basic scientific concepts. I know I will be using what I have learned for many years to come.” —Euna Lhee, freelance, Fulbright Young Journalist (2012 Biomedical Fellow)

“The SJP biomedical track gave me a lot of insight into the work scientists do and gave me long-term, unfettered access to scientists who think creatively and speak freely. I am certain that I am coming back from this program more prepared to do my job than before. The experience was overwhelmingly positive… and I largely credit the course directors, Kerry Bloom, Chad Pearson, and Racheal Bloom, for making it such a valuable encounter.” —Brendan Maher, senior editor, The Scientist (2007 Biomedical Fellow)

“The instructors in the SJP biomedical track were top-notch. Their lectures were clear and they were mixed well with the lab work.” —Stephanie Nano, supervisory editor/reporter, Associated Press (2007 Biomedical Fellow)

“It’s clear to me that my time at MBL made me a much better science journalist in three ways. First, I got a lot of bedrock knowledge in two fields—the basis of the ‘postgenomic’ era (at MBL) and ecology (at Toolik). Second, I saw how to improve my questions—that it’s important not to look for a bottom line, an answer, a good quotation, without also finding the intellectual context. Another way to put this is that science comes from its own context, and you can’t do good science writing if you don’t see how the work matters to scientists as well as to readers. Third, and most important, I learned, from the experience, to look for *how* scientists know things, not just *what* they know…it’s a rare day when I don’t think about how much the fellowship meant to me.” —David Berreby, freelance (1995 Fellow)