MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
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William von Herff

GPSW Class of 2023

William von Herff

Conservation, ecology, ornithology, wildlife biology

When William von Herff was six, he started studying birds. Since this meant spending most weekends in birding groups made up of late-middle-aged people in khakis, he quickly learned how to communicate with different kinds of audiences. When he was 13, the Colorado Field Ornithologists published his first article: a piece on Accipiter hawks. His love for communicating about nature has only grown since.

While studying biology at McGill University, he split his time between researching birds across North America and exploring different science communication media, like podcasts, short-form articles, and public outreach. He spent summers in fieldwork jobs, studying grassland birds in North Dakota, songbird migration on Lake Erie, and salt marsh sparrows in the mid-Atlantic. After completing an honors thesis on the evolution of blood within vertebrates, he traveled across South America while anxiously awaiting news of his application to MIT.

In the Graduate Program in Science Writing, William plans to report on local and global conservation issues.