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First 5 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows Named

The National Geographic Society and the U.S. Department of State today announced the five awardees selected as the first Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows. The Fellowship provides a unique platform for U.S. Fulbright awardees to build awareness of transnational challenges, comparing and contrasting cross-border issues. Fellows will share their stories on nationalgeographic.com, using a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations and/or social media, the two institutions said in a news statement.

The news release added:

Over a nine-month period, the five Fellows will create stories on globally significant social or environmental topics, including cities, cultures and energy.

  • Ann Chen, 32, an artist and researcher from New York City, will focus on mapping the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada through collective storytelling and citizen science.
  • Filmmaker Daniel Koehler, 24, of New York City, will film a documentary on the San living near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, focusing on the loss and change of their culture.
  • Erin Moriarty Harrelson, 36, of Washington, D.C., a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at American University, will explore the emerging culture of deaf Cambodians. She herself is deaf.
  • Mimi Onuoha, 24, a New York City-based researcher, artist and educator, will head to the United Kingdom to explore the chasms and overlaps between the online and offline lives of a demographically diverse group of Londoners.
  • Los Angeles native Michael Waldrep, 26, a documentary filmmaker, multimedia artist and researcher, will travel to Mexico City to document the city, its neighborhoods and its 22 million inhabitants through writing, mapping, data visualization, photography and video.

Fellows will receive funding for travel, living expenses and health/accident insurance as well as a materials and reporting allowance from the U.S. Department of State. Editors from National Geographic will mentor the Fellows, helping them tell their stories to a wider global audience.

Established by Congress in 1946, the Department of State’s Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program, designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries. The Fulbright Program annually supports more than 8,000 students, scholars, artists and professionals from the United States and more than 155 countries to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and find solutions to shared international challenges. 

Finalists were selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board following recommendations by five senior editors from National Geographic magazine. (Meet the Blue Ribbon Panel of Judges.)

“We are thrilled to partner with the U.S. Department of State for the first Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship,” said Keith Jenkins, National Geographic’s executive director, digital. “This platform is exactly in line with our mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. Our editors are excited to work closely with the five Fellows on their projects throughout the coming year.”

For more information and details on applying for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, visit http://us.fulbrightonline.org/fulbright-nat-geo-fellowship.