Princeton Graduate Student Awarded ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

Irineo Cabreros, a fourth-year PhD student at Princeton with John Storey, has been selected as the ASA’s 2018 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow (MMF). He will spend 10 weeks this summer training as a science journalist with Slate in its NYC offices.

Cabreros’ primary research interests are in population genetics, causal inference, and the interplay between the two to harness genetic diversity to understand gene function. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory.

Irineo Cabreros, a fourth-year PhD student at Princeton with John Storey

Among Cabreros’ passions is teaching science, both in the classroom and through writing. He has taught Namibian middle-schoolers, Ivy League undergraduates, prison inmates, and just about everyone in between. He also contributes to the Massive Science Consortium, where he writes about the perils of statistical fallacy. Aside from science, he loves dancing, making and listening to music, playing sports, being outside, and watching “Planet Earth.” As an indication of his musical talent, he is a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and a two-time performer on NPR’s “From the Top.”

In his fellowship application materials, Cabreros wrote that statistics and journalism have much to learn from each other; journalists require statistical literacy for faithful reporting while statisticians require journalistic skills to convey their work to the broad community that uses it. Noting that statistics is a notoriously confusing subject, he commented that many people who aren’t experts in statistics—including scientists—need to understand statistics to do their jobs well and that the possible consequences from mishandling and misunderstanding statistics can be devastating. Cabreros wrote that he would like to contribute to more “statistically minded journalism.”

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 evaluated candidates.

The ASA’s 2017 fellow, Nick Thieme, also spent 10 weeks with Slate in its NYC and DC offices, publishing more than 20 pieces. He also wrote two engaging pieces for ThisIsStatistics, including “Stats in Action: 3 Data Journalism Skills I’ll Take Back to Grad School.”

A call for 2019 fellows will be issued this fall. Find out more about the ASA/AAAS Mass Media Fellowship.