2015 Fellows & Editors


Below are short biographies of the 2015 Food Fellows. We will add links to stories funded by the fellowship once they are published.

Tina Antolini, Oakland, California @tinaantolini

Tina Antolini is Senior Story Producer with Pop-Up Magazine. She was the founding host and producer of Gravy, a James-Beard-Award-winning podcast with the Southern Foodways Alliance, which tells stories about the South through the lens of food. Tina won a Peabody Award for her work as senior radio producer at NPR’s State of the Re:Unionand has reported stories on everything from daikon radishes to Iraqi religious minorities for a variety of public radio programs. In December 2015, she aired her fellowship story, a 50-minute radio documentary called “Fighting for the Promised Land: A Story of Farming and Racism.” Since it aired, the piece has been featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Ali Budner, Colorado Springs, Colorado @ali_budner

Ali recently got a job as a radio reporter covering land and water, growth in the western U.S. for 91.5 KRCC and the Colorado Public Radio funded Mountain West Collaborative.  Before that, she worked with the The Kitchen Sisters, NPR’s Latino USA, PRI’s The World, WHYY’s The Pulse, Capital Public Radio, The National Radio ProjectThe Fukushima Reporting Project, and local San Francisco Bay Area stations, KPFA and KALW. Before her freelance career, she produced KALW’s daily live call-in show, Your Call, with Rose Aguilar. Ali also reported and co-produced a documentary, “The Race To An Emergency,” about the 9-1-1 system in Oakland, which won a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow award for best documentary. Ali’s fellowship story on Food Commons Fresno aired on Valley Public Radio in February 2016. Listen here. 

Sara Brooke Curtis, Brattleboro, Vermont @sbcsays

Sara is a freelance radio producer, writer and photographer based in Vermont. Her radio stories have aired on KCRW’s UnFictional, ARRVLS, State of the Re:Union, KALW’s Audiograph and PRX Remix. Sara’s first fellowship story on food servers “Dispatches from the Front of the House” aired on KCRW’s Good Food in January 2016. Her second fellowship story, “The Rituals of Regulars” aired on The Splendid Table in April 2016. Her new podcast about the restaurant industry called Today’s Special is currently in production with The Heard Collective.

Monica Eng, Chicago, Illinois @monicaeng

Monica is reporter and producer on food, health and agriculture at WBEZ Chicago Public Media. Before moving into radio, Monica reported on food, health and culture at the Chicago Tribune for 16 years.  Her food writing has been nominated for 5 James Beard awards and her work has been published in/aired on Gourmet, Bon Appetite and National Public Radio. She co-hosts a podcast at WBEZ called Chewing the Fat.

Monica’s fellowship story aired in the fall of 2015 as a multi-part series on school lunches for WBEZ

“Chicago High Schoolers Launch Website Against School Food”
“High Schoolers Get CPS’ Attention with Website and Lunch Boycott”
“Federal money to make school lunches healthier remains unspent in many states, including Illinois”
“Is School Food Too Healthful?”
“Is a national policy on school milk boosting lunchtime waste?”

Eva Hershaw, Lazio, Italy @eva_hershaw

Eva is a journalist and researcher, born in Idaho and raised in Washington State. Her work, appearing in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera America, VICE News, and The Washington Post, has focused on politics, environment, and social justice in Latin America. In 2016, she was a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil’s central highlands covering land conflicts and agriculture. She now lives in Italy and on land monitoring with the International Land Coalition. She continues to freelance. Eva’s fellowship story on antibiotic resistant bacteria migrating off feedlots in Texas, “When the Dust Settles,” was published in the September, 2016 issue of Texas Monthly. In 2017, the story was awarded the Science in Society Award for regional news from the National Association of Science Writers.

Roxanne Khamsi, Brooklyn, New York @rkhamsi

Roxanne is the chief news editor at Nature Medicine and a freelance journalist. A former staff reporter at New Scientist, where her beat included medicine and nutrition, she has also written for publications such as The Economist, Scientific American, Slate and New York magazine. Roxanne also teaches at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating science and is a recipient of the 2016 Walter C. Alvarez Award from the American Medical Writers Association. Her fellowship story about the scientific race to develop a less allergenic peanut, “A Peanut’s Progress,” was published in The New York Times Magazine on December 18, 2016.

Nick Neely, Hailey, Idaho @nsneely

Nick is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes about ecology and the environment. His work is published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, Orion, Audubon, and High Country News. He holds an MFA in nonfiction from Hunter College and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University, and is the recipient of the 2015 John Burroughs Nature Essay Award. Nick published his fellowship story called “To Save the Rivers and the Woods, Try Hurling a Few Dead Fish” in the August 2017 issue of  Mother Jones. His first book, Coast Range (Counterpoint 2016), is a collection of west coast natural history essays. It includes an essay about steelhead and salmon “stream enrichment” in Oregon that he wrote with the help of the fellowship. The book was named a finalist for the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for natural history writing and CLMP’s Firecracker Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Erik Neumann, Salt Lake City, Utah @ErikMNeumann

Erik is a radio reporter at KUER, Utah’s NPR affiliate located in Salt Lake City, where he covers health. His writing has been published in San Francisco, Mother Jones, Outside and many other print and online publications. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Washington and a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley. Erik’s fellowship story on carbon farming on agricultural land is titled “Science Has Found a Brilliant New Use for Your Kitchen Scraps,” and was published by Mother Jones Magazine in March, 2016.

Heather Smith, San Francisco, California, @strangerworks

Heather Smith is the news editor at Sierra. She’s been a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT, a city reporter, and a writer and researcher for the atlas Infinite City. She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Current obsessions: bison, office parks, finance. Heather is working on a print piece about grazing and bison.

Malavika Vyawahare, New Delhi, India @MalavikaVy

Malavika is a science and environment reporter at Hindustan Times, one of India’s leading English dailies. She is a 2015 Columbia Journalism School graduate specializing in science, health and environment reporting. Malavika’s fellowship story on vertical farming, “World’s largest vertical farm grows without soil, sunlight or water in Newark,” was published by The Guardian in September 2016.


Jack Hitt is the author of a new book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character. Most days, he’s a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He occasionally contributes to the public radio program, This American Life. His book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain, was made into a motion picture, “The Way,” directed by Emilio Estévez and starring Martin Sheen. His work has won the Peabody, Livingston and Pope Awards. His Harper’s report on American anthropology was selected for a collection of the best science writing of the past 25 years, The Best of the Best of American Science Writing. His work also appears in Harper’s, Rolling Stone andWired. He is currently touring a one-man show, “Making Up the Truth”–a series of his slightly incredible real-life stories woven in with the contemporary brain science that nearly answers the question, “Is any of this true?”

Wendy Dorr is an independent radio producer formerly of This American Life. During her five years at the show, Wendy produced many classic stories and shows including “The House at Loon Lake,” “24 Hours at The Golden Apple,” and “Somewhere in the Arabian Sea.”  Wendy got her start in radio working for Joe Richman at Radio Diaries, editing both the Teenage Diaries and Prison Diaries Series.  As an independent producer, she has edited stories for TAL, Wiretap, Un-fictional, ATC, Planet Money & Here’s The Thing.  She is currently working as a producer for Gimlet Media on “Mystery Show.”

Clara Jeffery became editor-in-chief of Mother Jones in May 2015. Prior to that she was co-editor with Monika Bauerlein. She has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: “With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns. In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein’s relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine’s increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper’s magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Edwin Dobb is a former editor in chief of The Sciences and a former contributing writer at Harper’s. Dobb is the co-author, with Jack Horner, of Dinosaur Lives, which The New York Times selected as a notable book of the year and The Los Angeles Times picked as a best book of the year. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing Series. Dobb is the co-writer and co-producer of a documentary film about the social and environmental consequences of industrialized copper mining. Called “Butte, America,” the film was broadcast nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens. Dobb is a continuing lecturer at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches narrative writing, literary journalism, and environmental journalism. For the past several years, Dobb has been a feature writer at National Geographic.


Michael Pollan is the author of seven books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. In 2010, Time Magazine named Michael one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Malia Wollan is a columnist for The New York Times Magazine and a contributing writer for the New York Times. Her work appears in Fast Company, The Wall Street JournalHarper’s, National Public Radio, New York Magazine, the Associated Press, PBS’s Frontline/World and elsewhere. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an editor at Meatpaper magazine.