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Johns Hopkins Student Awarded ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship 

1 June 2022 666 views No Comment

Jayati Sharma

To quote W. Edwards Deming, “If you don’t know how to ask the right questions, you will discover nothing.” As the ASA’s 2022 AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow, Jayati Sharma will spend the summer sharpening her ability to ask questions as a science journalist with The Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com.
 
Sharma completed her master’s degree in genetic epidemiology this May from Johns Hopkins University, where she used statistical methods to understand interactions between genetic ancestry, acculturation, and other lifestyle variables and their relationship with a genetic risk score for high BMI. She earned her bachelor’s degree in both public health quantitative methods and molecular and cellular biology in May 2020 from the University of Arizona.

Community-oriented nutrition has been her passion since high school. She has conducted research projects to improve diet quality in minority populations in India and Southern Arizona.  

Sharma applied for the mass media fellowship for an opportunity to hone her writing, journalism, and storytelling skills. She noted that, in today’s ever-divided and increasingly divergent ideological climate, “scientific storytelling remains an important but underutilized way to use humans’ inherent curiosity as a means to highlight our similarities over our differences.”

In her application, Sharma stated she is most interested in writing about epidemiology and public health, specifically to share stories about both systemic issues that plague these fields and new innovations that arise despite them. Her goal is to effect tangible change as a public health professional. 

“We’re looking forward to Jayati’s time as part of the Eagle newsroom this summer,” wrote Michael Roehrman, Wichita Eagle editor, in an email to the ASA. “Her perspective, scientific curiosity and passion for sharing information that helps people will be a boon for our readers.”

About the fellowship, Sharma said she’s “honored to have the support of ASA for this summer’s AAAS MMF and excited to write about and explore public health and statistical concepts relevant to community-level issues and local journalism.”   

Beginning in 2017, the ASA’s sponsorship has allowed the fellowship program to expand its efforts to promote statistical capacity in reporting and provide statisticians with more media experience. Previous fellows are Nick Thieme, Irineo Cabreros, Diana Cai, Jessica Craig, and Aparna Nathan.

A call for 2023 fellows will be issued this fall. Find out more about the ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship by visiting the AAAS website. Follow Jayati Sharma’s work via Twitter, @jayatirsharma.

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