Please tell us about your work
Four outstanding early-career science journalists from India and China have been named winners of the 2015 EurekAlert! Fellowships for International Science Reporters, awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific organization, which publishes the Sciencefamily of journals.
The newly named EurekAlert! Fellows–including two from India, for the first time in the program’s decade-long history–will attend the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting, Feb. 12-16, in San Jose, California, where they will have access to breaking research news and networking opportunities with journalism peers from around the world. EurekAlert! fellowships are awarded through a competitive, juried process to professional science journalists who have worked for less than three years and published works in news media in China, India, the United States, and Europe.
Shreya Dasgupta, currently a staff writer at Mongabay.com, is one of them
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
I was brought up in a family of geologists who loved their long hours of field work, and I have fond memories of the storytelling that followed. As a child I travelled all over the world with my family and inherited a voracious appetite for books from my parents. I spent my childhood in Delhi, Jodhpur, and Baroda.
My love for animals began with my pet dogs and has been growing ever since. I graduated from Miranda House, Delhi University, with a degree in Zoology and completed my masters in Environmental Studies at TERI University.
Tell us about your career path
After my masters, I started working as a research assistant with an NGO in Bangalore. I was involved in several wildlife monitoring and conservation projects in the Western Ghats, India; collecting data, tiger and leopard poo and occasional bruises, then analyzing them and writing reports.
Two years later, I was awarded a research grant to study human-elephant conflict in North Bengal, which turned out to be a very rewarding experience. I recently started volunteering for a citizen science project in Bangalore, where I live with my husband and cat. We share a blog together, where we write short stories, rants and… well, other blog stuff.
Now I want to write more, about science, environment and conservation; communicate it creatively and accurately, and enjoy the process. When I am not writing, or working on research projects, I enjoy violently cuddling my cat. I also like reading and singing (much to my cat’s chagrin), hiking, riding my cycle, and going into a forest every chance I get.
How does your work benefit the community?
Shreya sees room for improvement in the science journalism landscape of India. “Often, scientists are wary of talking to journalists, most universities or research organizations lack a dedicated media centre, and bureaucracy within government-aided organizations makes interviewing researchers a cumbersome affair,” she said.
While she has written for various national and international publications since 2013, One of her goals for science journalism is to “help people apply scientific enquiry to their everyday lives, and make informed choices.”