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Zoe Earle & Utrurah Whitley School of Global Journalism and Communication

Morgan State University Students Selected for Inaugural Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT

by Morgan State U
April 17, 2024

HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship Cultivates Early-Career Science Journalists While Providing Year of Skill Building, Freelance Experience and Dedicated Mentorship


The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT has selected two students from Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC) from a nationwide pool of candidates to participate in a new fellowship. The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship identifies promising students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) interested in reporting on science, health and environmental issues and provides them with training, mentorship and early career support. Zoe Earle and Utrurah Whitley, both Multimedia Journalism majors at Morgan, join the inaugural cohort of 10 talented journalism students representing five of the country’s top HBCUs.

Beginning in June, the fellowship will kick off with a weeklong science journalism summer camp at MIT, where fellows will learn from award-winning science journalists, meet editors from leading science publications and develop their skills in interactive workshops. Over the following year, each fellow will be mentored by a professional science journalist, who will work with them to pitch stories to national and regional science publications. Each fellow will also receive a $5,000 stipend.

The Knight Science Journalism Program worked closely with journalism deans and faculty at the five participating schools to develop the fellowship concept and select the inaugural cohort.

“We’ve long sought to develop science and health reporting and writing in a deeper way in the School of Global Journalism and Communication. The Knight Science Journalism Program is a critical step in that direction,” said Jackie Jones, SGJC dean. “We couldn’t be more delighted for our phenomenal students to receive this opportunity.”

School of Global Journalism & Communication

Through the initiative, the Knight Science Journalism Program aims to open new pathways into a specialty area of journalism that has become increasingly important in the public sphere. An overarching goal is to help make science journalism more representative of the communities it serves.

The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship adds to a suite of efforts by the Knight Science Journalism Program to sustain and improve science journalism in the public interest, including its flagship academic-year fellowship for mid-career journalists; the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellowship for early-career journalists (a collaboration with the Boston-based publication STAT); and the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East.

“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome this impressive group of students to MIT,” said Knight Science Journalism Program associate director Ashley Smart. “They have an incredible wealth of talent, skill and dedication — and immense potential to do science reporting that really impacts people’s everyday lives.”

In addition to Earle and Whitley, the inaugural HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship class includes two students each from Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University and North Carolina A&T State University. The fellows’ varied reporting interests range from astronomy and artificial intelligence to women’s health and environmental justice.

The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT seeks to advance science journalism in the public interest by nurturing and enhancing journalists’ ability to accurately and thoughtfully illuminate science and its intersection with human culture. The HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship is open to rising juniors, seniors, and graduate students at participating universities who are motivated to report science, health or environmental stories for general audiences.

Congratulations to Zoe Earle and Utrurah Whitley for this notable achievement!