MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
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Congratulations to Kendra Pierre-Louis, ’16, and Maria Temming, ’17, for winning top honors at the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards this year. Kendra won the Gold Award in the Magazine category for “How Rising Groundwater Caused by Climate Change Could Devastate Coastal Communities,” a cover story published late last year in MIT Technology Review. The piece shines a light on the complex ramifications of groundwater rise and why substantial research exists on the problem, but few solutions have been put into practice.

In a AAAS press release, judge Richard van Noorden, features editor for Nature, said, “Pierre-Louis’ gripping and memorable article about rising groundwater vividly weaves together human stories and science to explain this under-appreciated consequence of climate change.” In response to her win, Kendra said, “I’m proud to receive this award because it shows both how important it is to clearly articulate climate science and how vital it is to marry that science with an understanding of climate change’s impact on us as people.”

Maria Temming also scooped up a Gold Award in the Children’s Science News category as part of a team from Science News Explores. Winning alongside Sarah Zielinski and JoAnna Wendel, the team winning submission included three stories, all of which were partially written in a comic format: “Cockatoos Learn From Each Other How to Open Garbage Bins,” “A Panda Stands Out at the Zoo But Blends in the Wild,” and “Goldfish Driving ‘Cars’ Offer New Insight Into Navigation.”

“I loved all three stories and the wonderful way the well-written text jibed with the comics,” judge Christine Dell’Amore, online natural history editor for National Geographic, said in a press release. “I can imagine a kid getting really engaged in these stories, especially the cockatoo one. The goldfish study was really surprising and drew me in right away.” In a team statement, the winners said: “Even fun topics in science can sometimes be intimidating for kids, especially when it comes in large chunks of text. We thought comics would be the perfect way to hook a young audience and show them that science doesn’t have to be a slog.”

Congratulations to Kendra and Maria!