Diana Cai Awarded ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

Diana Cai has been selected as the ASA’s 2019 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow. She will spend 10 weeks this summer as a science journalist with STAT News in its Boston office.

Cai, who is wrapping up work at a pharmaceutical company, earned a PhD in genetics and genomics in 2018 and a master’s in statistics in 2017, both from Harvard. Her dissertation focused on characterization of mutations in a gene identified to be important in lung cancer and pathogen discovery in an autoimmune disease of unknown origin. She has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Cai has made writing, communication, and mentoring part of her training. Her experience includes a stint as a journalist with NatureJobs. She was also part of the Broad Research Comm Lab, a group of scientists at the Broad Institute who help other scientists communicate their work in a variety of media.

Diana Cai

Additionally, Cai has worked with visiting doctors and researchers from Nigeria on communicating projects related to molecular biology and genomics, taught an introductory statistics class in Mexico, and mentored a high-school student through Genes in Space—a program allowing students to propose experiments to be performed on the International Space Station. She also notes a desire to bring increased scientific exposure to underserved communities.

The ASA joined the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship sponsorship programs in 2017 to expand its efforts to promote statistical capacity in reporting and provide statisticians with more media experience. The ASA Committee for Excellence in Statistical Reporting evaluates the candidates.

The ASA’s previous fellows are Nick Thieme and Irineo Cabreros, both of whom worked with Slate. Thieme is now a data reporter with the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cabreros is completing his dissertation.

A call for 2020 fellows will be issued this fall. Find out more about the ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship by visiting the AAAS website.