Two high schools win journalism-environmental science grants from the Knight Center

The Knight Center is awarding $2,000 grants to two Michigan high schools for collaboration between journalism and environmental science classes.
The winning projects were selected in the center’s second statewide competition.
The Knight Center also has matched the schools with professional journalism mentors to work with the students and teachers for guidance and advice on the projects.
The grants go to:

  • Charlevoix Middle/High School in Charlevoix for a project to help science students explain natural phenomena in their lives and how human societies can affect these situations. Students will collect data and provide evidence to provide credibility for their claims and connect their evidence to their situation with the understanding that scientific principles operate the same way in the past, present and future. Journalism students will work with local newspapers and television stations to document the projects from hypothesis to solution by interviewing students and teachers and by photographing and videotaping the projects.

The teachers are Karen Peterson, and Kristine Burmeister.
The professional mentor is Matt Mikus a digital reporter for the Petoskey News-Review specializing in multimedia reporting. He is an MSU Journalism alum and a former associate producer for the Knight Foundation and WKAR documentary “Bad Company,” which focused on the history of invasive species and their connection to human activity in the Great Lakes Basin

  • Troy Athens High School in Troy for an experimental project to investigate whether a certain treatment can quickly and effectively kill E. coli at public beaches and bodies of water, allowing them to reopen faster to the public. Broadcasting students will create mini-episodes as they work through the experiment, followed by a larger documentary at the culmination of their research.

The teachers are Adam Burns and Rachel Peterson.
The professional mentor is Ilene Wolff, a Detroit-area freelance writer, editor and writing coach who often covers health, the environment, technology and business. She formerly was with the Oakland Press and Beaumont Hospitals.
The Knight Center created the grant program and invited journalism and science teachers to propose innovative class projects in which journalism students report about field research conducted by themselves or separately by environmental science students. The program’s principal goals are to:

  • help young prospective journalists better understand and explain to the public how science is done
  • help environmental science students learn to use the media to explain their work to the public.
  • promote STEM learning, environmental awareness and communication skills among high school students.

Last year’s grants went to Onaway High School in Onaway, Divine Child High School in Dearborn and Grosse Pointe North High School in Grosse Pointe Woods.
The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and Michigan Science Teachers Association helped publicize the grant competition.

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