Genetics and Behavior Journalism Fellowships


The Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia is offering six $7,500 Genetics and Behavior Journalism Fellowships aimed at early- and mid-career journalists. The fellowship supports ambitious, long-form stories on the broad theme of genetics and behavior. The fellowship was established by Eric Turkheimer, Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia, and Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch and Maxwell M. Geffen Professor of Medical and Scientific Journalism at Columbia Journalism School.

Online applications for the next fellowship cycle will be due September 17, 2018. The application consists of a one-page pitch with a story idea rather than just a topic. The pitch should reflect preliminary research, and propose a narrative and reporting strategy. The application also requires a CV, three published clips, and two optional letters of recommendation. The fellowship is open to anyone, although competitive applicants will have some experience in science journalism. (See detailed application instructions below.)

Winners will be announced in late October, and the one-year fellowship period will begin December 3rd, 2018. The project should be completed within this one-year timeframe.

The fellowship is a part of the Genetics and Human Agency Initiative, which is supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation. All applicants will maintain editorial independence before, during, and after the project.  Recipient will retain full rights to any media produced before, during, and after the project. Recipients will be selected by an independent committee led by Jonathan Weiner.

**Note: This is the final year the fellowship will be offered**


  • All applications must be received by September 17, 2018.  Applications that are late, incomplete, or do not follow the guidelines will be not be considered. The GHA Journalism Fellowship is for individuals, not teams.
  • Please submit your application to
  • The application, except optional letters of reference, should be sent to the email address above as a single pdf file, with your name in the file title.
  • Guidelines:
    • Cover sheet should be one page long and include the following information:
      • Title of story pitch
      • Your name, email, and phone number
      • List of writing three published clips with titles, publication date, publication venue, and a link. Please also append the full text of each clip at the end of your application pdf. Please do not include co-written articles.
      • List of letter writers, if applicable, including their emails and phone numbers
    • Story pitch should be one page long (12-point font and 1-inch margins). No budget necessary.
    • Please include a CV.
    • Optional letters of reference should be one page long. Letter writers should be familiar with your work and be able to speak to your ability to carry out an ambitious story.
  • Optional letters of reference should be sent directly to the email address above by the letter writer.

2017-18 Fellows

Carrie Arnold is an award-winning freelance science and medical journalist living in Virginia. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Science Writing program, she has written for a variety of publications, including Nature, Mosaic Science, Scientific American, New Scientist, STAT News, Women’s Health, and more. When Carrie isn’t writing, she enjoys cycling, knitting, drinking too much coffee, and annoying her cat. For the GHA Fellowship, Arnold will investigate how pre-conception gene carrier testing is changing decisions about how we have children and who we have them with.

website | @edbites

Andrew Curry is a freelance journalist covering science, history, culture, cycling and politics for a wide variety of publications, including Archaeology, National Geographic, Nature, Rouleur, Science, and Wired. His work has been included in “The Best American Science and Nature Writing” anthologies and awarded prizes by the German Foreign Ministry. In 2016-2017 he was the recipient of a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship. He worked at US News and World Report and Smithsonian before moving to Germany in 2005 as a Fulbright Journalism Fellow. He lives in Berlin with his family. For the GHA Fellowship, Curry plans to report on research showing traumatic experiences can alter DNA in ways that can be passed on to our descendants, increasing the risk of mental illness for subsequent generations.

website | @spoke32

Roxanne Khamsi is a science journalist and editor. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Economist, Scientific American, Slate, and The New York Times Magazine. Khamsi has received recognition for her work, including the Walter C. Alvarez Award from the American Medical Writers Association and a first-place award from the Association of Health Care Journalists in the trade publication category for her coverage of insurance issues plaguing medical foods. She is also a former recipient of a UC-Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship. Khamsi oversees science coverage as the chief news editor at the monthly biomedical journal Nature Medicine. In addition to her work as a journalist, she is a lecturer at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Khamsi earned her degree in biology from Dartmouth College, with a concentration in genetics. For the GHA Fellowship, Khamsi will explore the role of genetic diversity in the development of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.

website | @rkhamsi

Samir S. Patel is a science journalist, photographer, and editor based in Brooklyn. He is currently Deputy Editor at Atlas Obscura, an online magazine dedicated to science, history, and exploration. Before that he served in the same role at Archaeology Magazine. In addition to those publications, his work has appeared in Nature, The New York Times, Discover, Outside, and Seed, among others. He is a recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, and has reported from all over the world—India, the South Pacific, Tanzania, Brazil, Australia, and other countries—covering a wide range of topics, including archaeology, climate change, genetics, neuroscience, chemistry, crime, and social justice. Samir is an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, where he teaches reporting and writing, and an accomplished editor of art publications. For the GHA Fellowship, Patel will examine current research in archaeology, neuroscience, and genetics—or, more precisely, stone tools, functional MRI, and paleogenetics—for an integrated look at critical moments in the evolution of the human mind and behavior.

website | @SPatel_v1

Sushma Subramanian is an assistant professor of English, specializing in journalism, at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Discover, Scientific American Mind and many other publications. Her book on the sense of touch is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. For the GHA Fellowship, Subramanian will observe researchers studying the physiology of the Bajau laut, a group in Indonesia known for their unique ability to see underwater and hold their breath for long periods while diving, to understand whether humans may have special adaptations for swimming.

website| @sushmaaaaaaaa


Please direct any questions to:

Administrative Coordinator

GHA Journalism Fellowship