SHERP has a long tradition of attracting outstanding students, and the program's 33rd class is a typically diverse and accomplished group. Profiles of the 32nd, 31st, 30th, 29th, 28th, 27th, 26th, 25th and 24th classes are also available for viewing. (Note: All students wrote their profiles before coming to SHERP.) To see what SHERP graduates are doing now, visit the alumni page. You can also read Q & A interviews with recent SHERP graduates and current students on the Scientific American website and also on the Knight Foundation blog and mongabay.com.
Lydia Anderson just graduated with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. She thought she was going to be a research scientist until she realized she enjoyed cornering people to tell them about science more than actually doing it. Now her experimenting will be confined to the kitchen, while she instead learns how to articulate her excitement about the natural world more convincingly than “THIS IS SO COOL!”
Chelsey B. Coombs graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and too many bee stings to count (having researched honey bee aggression for three years). At UIUC, she wrote articles and created multimedia presentations about science for the News Bureau and the School of MCB. When she's not writing, she's almost certainly on Twitter.
Katherine Foley proudly hails from Wilmington, Delaware. She holds a B.S. in Science, Technology and International Affairs from Georgetown University. When she's not following her favorite science writers in print or podcasts, Katherine enjoys long-distance running, spicy Korean BBQ, and swing dancing. Her journalistic interests include genetically modified foods, space exploration, and everything in between.
Anchal Gupta went from engineering to MBA to job only to realize he’s an explorer. From myriad cultures further shaped by science, he wants to share them all. He dreams of a world running on clean renewable energy and humankind becoming a multiplanetary species, but nothing comes close to a car trip with friends up the snowy Himalayas. He thinks Tendulkar of cricket and Federer of tennis are the two greatest sportspeople ever.
Jeni Hackett is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she attained a B.A. in History and a minor in Physics. She’s always been fascinated by science but writing and communication have been her specialty; combining the two by pursuing science journalism seemed like the logical (and fun) thing to do. When not writing about things like space probes or weird particles, she enjoys sewing, video games, and anything involving atomic culture.
Shannon Hall is hooked on three things: the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, the feeling of enthrallment while traveling solo, and the wonders of the Universe. She earned her B.A. from Whitman College in physics-astronomy and philosophy, and her M.S. from the University of Wyoming in astronomy. A compulsion to share the stories strung throughout the Universe has led her 3,000 miles from the forests to the mountains and now to the city.
Rebecca Harrington graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Journalism. She worked at the U’s student newspaper the Minnesota Daily, where she discovered her passion for explaining the complexities and bizarre aspects of science to non-scientists. You can often find her cooking without recipes, discussing scientific explanations for everything around her, and laughing at the little surprises in life.
JoAnna Klein is a scientist and writer from North Carolina, currently based in Brooklyn. She has a master’s in Psychology from Appalachian State University and worked four years in Dr. Joseph LeDoux’s world-renowned neuroscience lab. Currently, JoAnna is working with Blue Chalk Media on Ochre, a new blog on visual journalism. She is excited about chartering a new journalism landscape. She aspires to humanize science through solid storyline, compelling visuals and immersive multimedia experiences.
Nicole Lou is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Williams College with majors in Spanish and Biology. She has worked with plants, bacteria, birds, and mice during her times in various labs and is excited to learn how basic science can better reach humans. You might run into her on one of her quests for dim sum and a good trivia game in town.
Vasudevan Mukunth grew up in Chennai, India. A chance encounter with a theoretical physicist while studying mechanical engineering left him fascinated with the philosophy of quantum field theory. He then spent two years with a national daily bringing high-energy physics to a low-energy audience, and experimenting with ideas of future newsrooms. At SHERP, he hopes to take both pursuits to the next level, with a break from small-town Chennai in the Big Apple.
Hanneke Weitering is a lifelong physics fanatic from Knoxville, Tennessee. While pursuing a B.S. in Physics at the University of Tennessee, she discovered her passion for science communication and dove into the world of journalism. First, she began writing stories for the Sci/Tech column at Tennessee Journalist. Afterwards she joined the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she wrote features about research being performed on the Kraken and Nautilus supercomputers.
Steph Yin spent her undergraduate career at Brown University chasing research opportunities—leading her to a remote island in Indonesia, a Marine Corps Base in North Carolina and salt marshes across Cape Cod—before she realized she preferred the stories to the academic interpretations of these experiences. Armed with an Environmental Science degree and two decades of science media consumption (she read all her Kids Discovers), she’s making the move from dreamy Providence to NYC.
Lauren Young is passionate for both science and writing, as she majored in Biology and minored in English at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Between bug hunting and wielding micropipettes, Lauren created an academic journal for scientists-in-training and wrote stories for her university library’s blog. She also loves traveling, show tunes and strong coffee. Lauren can’t wait to begin her adventures as a SHERPie in New York City.