STEM Scholarship for Graduating Boston Public High School Students Established in Her Honor

(Boston, MA May 21, 2019) -- Following a career spanning more than four decades in public media and science journalism, including 33 years leading the acclaimed public television science series NOVA, Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell is retiring from WGBH, and being named Senior Executive Producer Emerita.

“Paula’s remarkable talent and dedication to science literacy has kept NOVA at the forefront of science media,” said WGBH President Jonathan Abbott. “She has worked to advance the public understanding of science for generations of NOVA viewers. I am pleased to appoint her Senior Executive Producer Emerita.”

WGBH is establishing an annual scholarship in her name in recognition of Apsell’s distinguished service and steadfast support of science education. The Paula S. Apsell/WGBH STEM Boston Public School Scholarship will be granted to Boston public school students who plan to study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the college level.

“We created this scholarship to recognize Paula’s three decades of leadership at the helm of NOVA. Her commitment to science journalism and education have been exceptional and we hope this scholarship will inspire future generations to study in the STEM fields,” said Abbott. The scholarship is endowed for ten years.

“I am honored to have this scholarship bear my name and hope it provides the opportunity for students to realize their dreams of studying in a STEM field,“ said Apsell. “I wish to thank WGBH, the team at NOVA, and our independent producers for their tremendous support over the years. Whatever I have accomplished, it is because of those talented, dedicated and hardworking individuals.”

Apsell got her start in broadcasting at WGBH fresh out of Brandeis University, typing the daily television program logs, a job that, she notes, is now mercifully automated. That led to a stint with WGBH Radio, where she developed the award-winning children’s drama series “The Spider’s Web,” and reported from the Massachusetts State House. In 1975 she became a production assistant at NOVA, then a new and innovative science documentary series at WGBH that would go on to set the standard for science programming on television and online. She was named Executive Producer in 1984, and Senior Executive Producer in 2006.

Under Apsell’s leadership NOVA has become the most popular science series on American television, a highly respected site online, and a trusted source for teachers and students in classrooms nationwide. The series has tackled every kind of science story, from black holes to string theory, to archaeology that revealed stories of the Holocaust. In recent years NOVA has probed the intersection of science and social justice with films like ‘Poisoned Water’ about the Flint, MI water crisis.

During her long tenure, NOVA won every major broadcasting award, most many times over, including the Emmy; the Peabody; the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award; the duPont-Columbia University Gold and Silver Batons; and an Academy Award nomination. Apsell has been recognized with numerous individual awards for her work, including the Bradford Washburn Award at Boston’s Museum of Science and the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Emmy of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She served on the board of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, holds honorary doctorates from Southern Methodist University and Dickinson College, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

About WGBH
WGBH is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRI/PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub; a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™ providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content; and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at