I am a freelance journalist who writes about science, the environment, health, technology, and anything else that delights, disturbs, or distracts me. Currently, that means organic waste and where we put it--whether it's landfills, compost heaps, or toilets.
After graduating from Columbia University with a bachelor's in astronomy, I traveled to Chile on a Fulbright grant to study ancient Andean cosmology. I returned to the United States and earned a master's in journalism from Indiana University. Before launching my freelance career, I worked at a local NPR affiliate, physics news and blogging sites, publications for talented young people, and a one-minute radio show about science. I now live in The Hague and report from around the world.
I am currently busy with a reporting project called #WasteNot, supported by the European Journalism Centre, and a book, tentatively titled Pipe Dreams: Transforming the Toilet, for Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster.
I'm a proud member of the DC Science Writers Association (where I served on the Board from 2006-2007), the National Association of Science Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the National Writers Union. I'm especially proud to have co-founded (with Christine Dell'Amore) and to continue to serve on the organizing committee of DCSWA's Science Newsbrief Award.
- 3rd Prize, Outstanding Feature Story, SEJ Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment, 2013-14. Judges' comments: "At a time when so much reporting on the environment is discouraging, if not downright depressing, along comes a feature story that lifts the reader off the ground with hope. Writer Chelsea Wald introduces a determined scientist who teaches himself to fly so that he can train a flock of northern bald ibises, nearly extinct, to migrate again. And while Wald's story covers many years and much frustration, she does it with a light touch. The story of this unusual conservation project is not without tragedy, but the overall takeaway is refreshingly sweet." Read the backstory in the Spring 2015 SEJournal.
- New York Festivals Silver World Medal in Science & Technology, presented to Science Update, 2006 & 2007
- The Communicator Awards Crystal Award of Excellence in both Science/Technology Program and Explanatory Writing, presented to Science Update, 2005 & 2006
- 1st and 2nd places, Medical/Science Reporting, radio category, and 1st and 3rd places, Best Radio Feature, student category, from the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, 2004
- 2nd Place, Best Use of Sound category, from Network Indiana, 2003
Fellowships & Grants
- European Journalism Centre Innovation in Development Reporting Grant, 2017
- European Geosciences Union Science Journalism Fellowship, 2014
- Nature Travel Grant Scheme at EuroScience Open Forum, 2014
- American Academy of Neurology Journalism Fellowship, 2006
Courses & Workshops
- Logan Science Journalism Biomedical Fellowship, 2017
- Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas Massive Open Online Course, 2013
- Fellow at Deutsche Welle, Burns Fellowship, Bonn, Germany, 2010
- Marine Biological Laboratory Polar Fellowship, Toolik Field Station, Alaska, 2010
- Biotechnology for Sustainability and Water Management workshops for journalists, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, 2008
- Metcalf Workshop for Marine and Environmental Reporting, 2007
- Medicine in the Media: The Challenge of Reporting on Medical Research, 2006