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Faculty Member JD Allen’s Climate Change Podcast Wins National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Award |

STONY BROOK, NYNovember 1, 2022 Stony Brook University School of Communication and Journalism (SoCJ) Lecturer and WSHU Editor JD Allen received a Eric and Wendy Schmidt Award for Excellence in Science Communication of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

The award is for the first season of Allen’s ongoing climate change podcast higher ground, produced for WSHU, a Long Island National Public Radio affiliate station. The prize is in the category “Best science report at local/regional level”.

“The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is one of the most important organizations for developing evidence-based scientific advice for the United States and beyond,” said Maurie. McInnis, president of Stony Brook University. “This honor is a significant achievement for our School of Communication and Journalism and a victory for climate change communication in general, which could not be more important at this time. I am delighted that Stony Brook’s collaborative approach to science and science communication – across the School of Communication and Journalism, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and WSHU – has earned this well-deserved recognition. Congratulations to all.”

In the series, which is produced with the support of the Kavli Foundation and the Alan Alda Center for Science Communication, Allen, a 2016 Stony Brook alumnus, and co-host/producer Sabrina Garone explore some of the many ways climate change is affecting people and places across Long Island, as well as how communities are working to s Adapt, Mitigate and Respond to Climate Crisis.

“Many of the most pressing global problems – including climate change – involve science, but science alone is not enough to create solutions. Effective science communication and engagement is essential for us to create the powerful solutions we need,” said Laura Lindenfeld, Dean of the School of Communication and Journalism and Executive Director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. “JD’s hard work to shed light on the efforts of Long Island communities to mitigate the impact of climate change helps demonstrate the importance of effective science communication and solution-focused storytelling in this fight. . I am so proud of this work and JD’s achievement.

The Schmidt Prizes recognize journalists and researchers from all fields and at all career stages with 12 awards in three categories highlighting efforts to communicate science in society. Sponsored by Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s philanthropic foundation, Schmidt Futures, the awards give $600,000 in total prize money to recipients. Additionally, WSHU will receive a $20,000 prize.

The first season of higher ground included episodes ranging from problems with Long Island’s power grid in the event of another superstorm, the effect of dying bee populations on local agriculture, and the social complexities of which populations are most affected by a changing climate , among other topics. It included experts from Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, including Donovan Finn, assistant professor; Lesley Thorne, associate professor, and Kimberly Lato, doctoral student.

The podcast was produced with the help of several student interns at Stony Brook University: Kelly Hills-Muckey, then a graduate student in genetics and science communication, worked as an associate producer alongside journalism major Sara Ruberg’ 22. Josh Joseph, who also earned a degree in journalism in 2022, produced graphics for the first season and is working on the second. WSHU’s Long Island office is located on the Stony Brook campus and frequently offers internships to SoCJ students.

WSHU publishes higher ground Second Season with the support of Sesame Workshop. The new season travels across the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, CT, and examines climate change through the eyes of some of the city’s eighth graders.

The podcast is a great example of solutions journalism, an approach to reporting that focuses on identifying and highlighting efforts to solve society’s problems rather than just reporting the problems. Solutions journalism is a core component of the SoCJ’s undergraduate and graduate journalism programs, and the school was recently named the first of four core institutions in the Solutions Journalism Network. WSHU is also moving towards more comprehensive integration of the solution-based approach in its reporting, according to Dael.

higher ground was supported by the Kavli Foundation, through the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

The award marks the second national recognition the SoCJ has received following the 2021 Murrow Award for report on the history of slavery on Long Island.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University – New York’s flagship university and the #1 public university – goes way beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,800 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a leading academic health center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a center for Distinguished research-intensive innovation dedicated to tackling the world’s greatest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide the highest quality comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, and is ranked among the top 35 public universities by Forbes and one of the top 100 universities in the nation by the list US News & World Report Best Colleges. . Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavours, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have won prestigious awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for Animal Conservation, Abel Prize, and the first Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook is responsible for co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the US Department of Energy – one of eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth to neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku)