ComSciCon Organizer Awarded AAAS Mass Media Fellowship at NPR

August 26, 2014
ComSciCon Organizer Awarded AAAS Mass Media Fellowship at NPR

ComSciCon Organizer and MIT Physical Chemisty PhD student Kara Manke has returned to Cambridge after serving as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow this summer at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington DC.

AAAS Mass Media Fellows spend 10 weeks at the front lines of science communication, working as journalists for news agencies around the country. While at NPR, Kara wrote for the health blog Shots, the food blog The Salt, and the global development blog Goats and Soda. Kara published 17 articles in total with NPR.  She also shadowed radio reporter Joe Palca as he worked on his summer radio series Unfolding Science.

When asked to describe her experience Kara said -

“During the second week of my placement at NPR I told one of my friends back at MIT that working as a science reporter is like graduate school at a much faster scale, and I still think that is true. Rather than slowly learning every detail of a topic and then writing a massive thesis, you have a day, maybe less, to take in as much as you can about a story, and then find a way to make it interesting to the masses – while still being as accurate as you possibly can. It was a huge culture shock to someone coming from academia – stressful, terrifying, exhilarating, and liberating.

The most surprising thing I learned from my experience was just how many skills STEM graduate students have – we can pick up new skills quickly, think on our feet, and manage a number of different projects at once. And with opportunities like ComSciCon – communicate!”

We congratulate Kara on her amazing accomplishments!  If you are a ComSciCon alumni with exciting news to share, please contact us at!