Five science writers receive Diversity Reporting Grants from the National Association of Science Writers

The National Association of Science Writers congratulates Genevive Bjorn, Izzy Bloom and Jennifer Tsai, Melba Newsome, and Shady Grove Oliver on receiving the latest NASW Diversity Reporting Grants to pursue their freelance reporting projects.

Launched in 2020 during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NASW Diversity Reporting Grant was created to support freelance science writers specifically to offset any challenges securing work during uncertain times and added stressors — while further nurturing science news coverage of vulnerable communities and peoples struggling against uncertainty and great challenges.

Administered by the NASW Diversity Committee, Diversity Reporting Grant proposals are open to any freelance science writer pitching to publications in the United States, including non-NASW members. With up to $1,500 per grant, recipients can use these funds to support field travel, reporting costs, as well as time worked. The produced work must be intended for a U.S. outlet or platform, such as a magazine, newspaper, website, broadcast outlet, or institutional publication (e.g. alumni magazines).

Meet our latest NASW Diversity Reporting Grant recipients:

Portrait photo of Shady Grove Oliver with glasses and paisley shirt. Photo courtesy of Oliver

Genevive Bjorn

Shady Grove Oliver (@shadygroveo) will be applying her NASW grant towards reporting on racial inequities in the clean transportation transition. Oliver is a freelance print and audio journalist and creative writer with a background in narrative medicine. Working at the intersection of science and storytelling, Oliver can often be found reporting from Alaska (especially the Arctic) and her home state of California, covering everything from climate and infrastructure to health care and bioethics.

Portrait photo of Melba Y. Newsome. Photo courtesy of Newsome
Melba Newsome (@Melba_Newsome) will be applying her NASW grant towards reporting on environmental justice and Indigenous foodways. Newsome is an independent journalist with more than 20 years of experience contributing science, health and environmental features to regional and national publications including Scientific American, Nature, National Geographic, Science News, WIRED and High Country News. She is a two time Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting grantee and was a fellow for the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative and the UC Berkeley 11th Hour Food & Farming Fellowship. As a 2020 Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, she developed a training curriculum to help journalists diversify their reporting sources and subjects.

Portrait photo of Izzy Bloom. Photo credit: Brandon Yadegari

Melba Newsome

Izzy Bloom (@izzyabloom) and Jennifer Tsai (@tsaiduck77) will be applying their NASW grant towards reporting on health diagnostic inequities facing Black Americans.

Bloom is an audio journalist covering stories about race, language, disability and the environment. She is a 2022 graduate of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and also works as an audio producer at KQED in San Francisco. Her work has appeared on NPR’s Code Switch, PRI’s The World, KQED’s The California Report Magazine, and more.

Portrait photo of Jennifer Tsai. Photo courtesy of Tsai

Shady Grove Oliver

Tsai is an emergency medicine physician, writer, educator, and advocate in New Haven, Conn. She received a Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her academic work centers on the intersection between race, medicine, inequity, and trauma-informed care. Her essays and research have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Scientific American, The Washington Post, ELLE Magazine, STAT, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, among other outlets.

Headshot photo of Genevive Bjorn with a scarf and smiling. Photo by Adam Burgasser.

Izzy Bloom

Genevive Bjorn (@GeneviveBjorn) will be applying her NASW grant towards reporting at the intersection of learning and the pandemic. Bjorn is a freelance science journalist specializing in STEM education initiatives, focusing on equity and social justice. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Nature, Science, The New York Times, and many other outlets. She was a regular contributor to Nature Medicine and a fellow at the Knight Digital Media Center. She holds a doctorate in education from Johns Hopkins University.

The NASW Diversity Committee focuses on special projects and programs that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in science journalism. The committee’s initiatives are intended to support writers from underrepresented communities and bring new members into the field. Connect with committee chairs at

NASW members interested in supporting the Diversity Reporting Grant can volunteer to serve on the NASW Diversity Committee. To learn how, visit for current listings and opportunities. And find out more about NASW’s growing programs sustaining talented colleagues and untold stories at

Founded in 1934 with a mission to fight for the free flow of science news, NASW is an organization of ~ 2,700 professional journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. To learn more, visit