WGBH News and Media Relations


February 17, 2017


Fellow Will Advance Efforts to Expand Science Literacy Through a Variety of Media   Platforms

February 17, 2017, Princeton, NJ. Today, the Rita Allen Foundation and WGBH Boston announced a grant establishing the inaugural Rita Allen Fellow for Science Communication. A fellow will be selected this year to embed at WGBH, the flagship public media station that is home to NOVA, one of the pre-eminent science media series in the United States. The fellowship is part of a shared commitment of the Rita Allen Foundation and WGBH to develop productive and inspiring public engagement with science.

“We live in a powerful time for science communication,” says Elizabeth Christopherson, President and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation. “Science holds crucial information and tools for navigating modern life—for communities and individuals. Meanwhile, new research is emerging about how science communicators can effectively engage with the public about complex topics. We are excited to partner with WGBH to create a fellowship rooted in learning and experiment, with the goal of informing and inspiring audiences across the country while providing leadership for the field of science communication.”

“It has always been critically important to promote knowledge about science, the understanding of scientific methods, and the role of science in our daily lives,” says John Bredar, Vice President for National Programming at WGBH. "We expect the fellow will dive in, experiment, learn, and publish information about the state of science communication and more effective ways to reach and engage new audiences."

Candidates for the paid fellowship will be early-to-mid-career science media producers, journalists or working scientists with a commitment to communication about science. The selected fellow will work closely with the NOVA Science unit, including the NOVA Next digital platform that publishes a highly successful science blog and short-form videos, and creates immersive videos and other opportunities to experiment in a variety of media and formats.

“NOVA has been dedicated to delivering the highest standard of science journalism to the public for over 43 years,” says Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer for NOVA. “Science literacy plays a crucial role in civic decisions impacting individuals, communities, and entire countries every day. We look forward to the impact this fellowship program will have on the future state of science communication.”

In addition to NOVA, the fellow may work with WGBH children’s programs that have a strong science focus, including Curious George; with WGBH’s STEM-focused projects for PBS LearningMedia, the number-one online educational media resource available for free to teachers across the country; science radio programs such as Innovation Hub with Kara Miller; and SMASH, the biennial Science Media Awards and Summit in the Hub, which WGBH co-produces with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The fellow also may work outside of WGBH, connecting with Boston’s many hubs of science inquiry and innovation.

Applications forms will be posted on the website http://wgbh.org/ritaallenfellowship soon.  Applications for the fellowship will be due by June 30, 2017.  Selection of the inaugural fellow will be announced at the beginning of September 2017.  The fellowship will begin in January 2018 and last a year.

More information about the Rita Allen Fellowship for Science Communication is available on the website or by contacting fellowship coordinator Judith Vecchione (judith_vecchione@wgbh.org).

The Rita Allen Foundation

The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.  http://ritaallen.org/

WGBH Boston

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, NOVA, American Experience, Masterpiece and Antiques Roadshow, as well as lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom. WGBH is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. www.wgbh.org.

Press Contacts:

WGBH: Jeanne Hopkins, jeanne_hopkins@wgbh.org, 617-300-4363

Rita Allen Foundation: Kate Belyi, kb@ritaallen.org, 609-683-8010




WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke