Columbia, Mo. (March 29, 2011) — Missouri School of Journalism sophomore Amy Fenton will have the opportunity to combine her interests in journalism and chemistry during a summer internship at the National Science Foundation (NSF).
She will work with NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs in Arlington, Va., on a variety of studio interviews and multimedia projects, including NSF news stories, video content for Science360.gov, podcasts and U.S. News and World Report and other websites.
“I am really excited to be able to work not only in Washington, D.C., but at the National Science Foundation. I never thought that I would be able to combine my two interests, chemistry and journalism, but also this summer I will get that chance,” said Fenton. “It really is an amazing opportunity.” She is from Germantown, Tenn., a suburb of Memphis.
Fenton is studying radio-television journalism with a minor in chemistry. It was her multimedia skills and interest in science communication that qualified her for this opportunity, according to Jon Stemmle, who co-directs the Health Communication Research Center. HCRC is one of six research centers located at the School.
The University of Missouri last summer received a $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to fund an interdisciplinary program aimed at undergraduate science communication. NSF’s public affairs office decided to make this internship opportunity available to Missouri journalism students after learning of this project.
One key component of the four-year, $1.5 million HHMI grant is to teach undergraduate science majors how to communicate complex topics to the general public. Stemmle and his team of graduate assistants teach basic journalism principles and skills to these students. Their stories, videos and photos will be posted on sciXchange.missouri.edu in the coming months as that website is developed.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Amy to get to take part in the excellent work being done at NSF,” said Stemmle. “NSF has really increased their efforts with online multimedia projects and social media, and we believe Amy will be a perfect fit for this work. We hope to be able to offer this kind of opportunity to J-School students each summer.”
About HCRC: The Health Communication Research Center is a grant-funded center based at the Missouri School of Journalism. Its primary mission is to foster interdisciplinary research to improve communication between the health care and science community and the public. The center capitalizes on the University of Missouri’s strengths in health care and science outreach, education and prevention.