Science Writing Graduate Students

 

Laura Castañón
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

lacast@mit.edu
Laura Castañón Laura has never managed to be just one thing. While growing up in Needham, Massachusetts, her indulgent parents allowed her to fill their home with collections of insect molts and unidentified bones as well as the deconstructed remains of old TVs and a ship’s radar. She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she earned a first major in theatrical design and technology and a second in environmental studies, while spending her free time performing story-based comedy. After graduation, her job titles ranged from mad scientist to tall ship bos’n to theatrical carpenter and electrician. She has repaired windsurfers, lectured about climate change, built elaborate golden candelabras, and taught preschoolers how to pet a snail.

Laura sees science writing as the perfect intersection of these disparate interests. Her experiences in performance and education have made her a lively communicator and storyteller, and her dual interests in technology and nature make MIT the ideal place to turn those skills into writing.

Laura has two dogs and a gecko to keep her company through her endeavors. The dogs are a constant delight and remind her that hiking is better than working. The gecko reminds her that she is slightly less important than a piece of banana.
TJ Dimacali
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

dimacali@mit.edu
TJ Dimacali TJ grew up in Manila, the Philippines, on a staple of vintage comics and classic sci-fi, which instilled in him a lifelong love for literature and science. After graduating with a creative writing degree from the University of the Philippines, TJ found himself pursuing a variety of odd jobs from financial news info editor to cultural commission speechwriter to advertising copywriter. He put this diverse experience to good use when he eventually landed a job as Science and Technology Editor at GMA Network, one of the country’s largest media companies. He managed to secure some accolades along the way, including the Philippine government’s Gawad Scriba Award for Science Communicators. He is also an alumnus of the Asia Journalism Fellowship, the Netherlands Fellowship Program, CERN School Philippines, the Silliman University National Writers Workshop, and the Iligan National Writers Workshop. His sci-fi short stories, which often blend Philippine history and mythology, have appeared in local and foreign anthologies. TJ is attending MIT as a Fulbright scholar—like Dolph Lundgren, only a bit less buff.
Fatima Husain
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

fhusain@mit.edu
Fatima Husain Fatima was born in Houston, Texas but raised in West Des Moines, Iowa, where she spent most of her time caught between writing and gardening. Fascinated by the soil and atmospheric chemistry that affected each season’s roses or hydrangeas, she studied biology and chemistry by day and posted actively in gardening forums by night. She continued her study of nature and its stories at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she performed arctic paleoclimate research for three years while she earned an Sc.B. in Geology-Chemistry. She has published her work in numerous media, including The College Hill Independent, where she served as science editor for two years. Her other works have been published in the Catalyst journal, The Brown Daily Herald, Johns Hopkins University’s Imagine Magazine, the Lyrical Iowa journal, Closed Captioned magazine, and online at theindy.org. When she’s not attempting to germinate avocado seeds in her kitchen or researching geoengineering experiments, she can be contacted at fhusain@mit.edu or on Twitter @fatimagulhusain.
Lydia-Rose Kesich
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

lkesich@mit.edu
Lydia-Rose Kesich Lydia-Rose grew up in Portland, Maine, where she developed an early passion for life science. She studied developmental biology at Smith College, where a major part of her education included leading a research project on disruption of neural crest development by environmental hydrocarbons and the creation of a new technique for studying protein turnover in yeast.

After graduation Lydia-Rose joined the gubernatorial campaign of a clean energy entrepreneur in her home state of Maine, where her responsibilities included communications work, fundraising, and science policy. She hopes to use the skills she develops at MIT to pursue a career at the interstices of science and politics, where smart, persuasive writing has the power to create real change.
Heather Mongilio
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

mongilio@mit.edu
Heather Mongilio Heather first declared she was going to be a journalist walking home from the bus stop in fifth grade. She grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she first discovered how fascinating the brain is and the adrenaline high from breaking news. After deciding not to choose between her interests, she earned her bachelor’s degree from American University in journalism and psychology. Heather worked at The Eagle, American University’s student-run newspaper and served as editor-in-chief during her senior year.

Prior to attending MIT, Heather could be found reporting on murder, domestic violence, drunken driving and other crimes as a crime and courts reporter. She’s always been interested in psychology and medicine, but since working as a crime reporter, Heather has discovered her interest in the science of crime, including the psychology behind criminal acts and domestic violence as a public health concern. Heather is a self-described brain lover, and she enjoys chasing a good story, breaking news, reading, baking and watching the Patriots and the Red Sox.
Frankie Schembri
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

fschembr@mit.edu
Frankie Schembri Frankie Schembri was raised on snowy winters and long books in Ottawa, Canada. She began her undergraduate education at MIT in Mechanical Engineering, but realized that she was most excited about explaining what she was learning to her friends and family. Frankie switched to MIT’s undergraduate Science Writing program, where she was able to combine her background in STEM with her love of communication, and graduated with a B.S. in June 2017.

Frankie has worked in an MIT Mechanical Engineering lab, as a communications assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School (reporting on the intersection of technology and democracy), and as an intern at a public relations firm writing content for software companies. Most recently, she was a communications fellow at MIT’s Office of Sustainability, where she reported on efforts to use the university as a living laboratory by testing researchers’ work on MIT campus operations.

Frankie is fascinated by the power of information technology and computing to shape modern life and hopes to report on these subjects in way that is inclusive to all, arming the public with the information necessary to navigate an increasingly technology-driven world. She is electrified by the opportunity to continue strengthening her skills at MIT. Recreationally, Frankie enjoys meeting cats, eating doughnuts, searching for the freshest memes, and watching baseball.
Kelsey Tsipis
Graduate Student, Science Writing, '18

ktsipis@mit.edu
Kelsey Tsipis Growing up in Cleveland, OH, Kelsey Tsipis did not always aspire to be a science writer. She was a child with ardent aspirations, prone to ever-changing interests and great immoderation in her passion. It wasn’t until she took her first science journalism class as an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill that she recognized that science writing perfectly suited her inquisitive disposition. As an undergrad, Kelsey focused primarily on a wide range of public health topics, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, mental health coverage, and research findings from UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University — winning her the North Carolina Medical Society Scholarship for Medical Journalism. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a specialty in Editing and Graphic Design from UNC Chapel Hill, Kelsey worked as a medical editor for an independent, nonprofit global research institute and served on the executive committee of the American Medical Writers Association Carolinas Chapter. Kelsey is now beyond grateful to continue her passion for science writing at MIT with fellow students and professors whom she admires greatly.