Newest Class of Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows to Tackle Global Issues Through Digital Storytelling

Aug 1, 2016 9:00 AM ET

Beginning this fall, the 2016-2017 class of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship will embark on global journeys to study significant social and environmental issues--from the need for community-based food systems in India to the effects of climate change on rural communities in Northern Africa--and share their findings with the world through National Geographic's media assets. 21st Century Fox expanded its partnership with the organization in 2015 to bring together all of the organization's media properties, with 27% of all proceeds going toward the Society's grant-making endeavors.

"We are thrilled to partner with the U.S. Department of State for the third class of the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship," said Keith Jenkins, general manager of digital for the National Geographic Society. "This platform is exactly in line with our belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Our team is excited to work closely with the five Storytellers on their projects throughout the coming year."

The fellowship launched in 2013 as a new component of the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program, combining the Fulbright program's focus on cross-cultural study with National Geographic's storytelling resources and infrastructure. In addition to receiving Fulbright grants for travel, living expenses and health coverage, Fellows work directly with National Geographic editorial staff to train in media production before their departure and for continued direction and mentorship throughout their Fulbright grant period. Once a week, fellows post on a dedicated National Geographic blog.

This year's finalists were selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board following recommendations by National Geographic Society editorial experts. The list of fellows is as follows:

  • Christiana Botic: a Serbian-American photographer and filmmaker who will document the impact of mass migration of refugees on the cultural landscapes of Serbia and Croatia.
  • Lauren Ladov: a garden educator who will share stories about those striving to create sustainable, community-centered food systems in India and produce education materials for a gardening curriculum.
  • Tim McDonnell: a New York City-based digital multimedia journalist who will document how a changing climate is compounding longstanding problems with food insecurity and rural poverty in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.
  • Kevin McLean: an ecologist, conservationist and National Geographic Young Explorer who will use motion-sensitive cameras (camera traps) to report on rainforest canopy wildlife in two of the most biodiverse areas of the world: Amazonian Ecuador and Malaysian Borneo.
  • Ishan Thakore: a multimedia storyteller, journalist and global health researcher who will create a series of short films to portray a nuanced portrait of the human benefits as well as the human costs of large-scale development in South Africa and Nicaragua.

Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year are now being accepted and should focus on issues such as geo-politics, conservation, health, medicine, technology, energy, and more. The deadline to apply is October 11, 2016.

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