MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
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Abby McBride

GPSW 2012

Abby McBride

Ecology, environment

Abby McBride is a sketch biologist and Fulbright–National Geographic Storytelling Fellow, often seen roaming the outdoors with a sketchbook like some kind of anachronistic Victorian naturalist. She uses art, science writing, digital media, and other elements to tell stories about the past, present, and future of landscapes and living things.

After studying biology at Williams College, Abby took the obvious next steps and worked on three farms in Spain, drew nature illustrations in New York City, manned the helm of a Maine lobster boat, bird-blogged across the western United States, researched siblicidal boobies on an uninhabited Galapagos island, coached swimming, taught piano lessons, helped revise an invasion ecology textbook, and worked as a pastry chef, in roughly that order.

Next she went to MIT for her science writing degree, wrote for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bowdoin College, developed a communications program for the American Ornithological Society, sketched icebergs in Iceland, babblers in Borneo, and giraffes in Kenya, and somehow ended up traveling from Pisa to Budapest on a three-speed bicycle with a basket in front. She then spent a year in New Zealand sketching and writing stories about seabirds for National Geographic and the Fulbright Program.

Abby is currently sketchbiologizing in Maine, working with a coalition of Nordic ecological societies, and tackling a variety of odd projects, the operative word being odd. Keep an eye out for her illustrations in the book Birdpedia (2021) from Princeton University Press.

Thesis: Don’t Call it a Seagull!