WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Press Club, the world's leading professional organization for journalists, has chosen Brett Simpson as the winner of its 2019 Shirley and Dennis Feldman Fellowship. The award is for a student pursuing graduate studies in journalism and is a one-time scholarship of $5,000.
Simpson is a 2016 graduate of Princeton University. She will use the scholarship to attend the University of California Berkeley School of Journalism's two-year full-time Master's program.
"Brett's ability to take a complex science and environmental issue and convey its urgency in a reader-friendly story is excellent," said Alison Kodjak, President of the National Press Club. "We look forward to seeing important work from Brett in the years to come."
Simpson's letters of recommendation included one former Washington Post reporter Amy Ellis Nutt, a Pulitzer winner in 2011, and longtime non-fiction author and New Yorker writer John McPhee. "Brett wrote one of the better papers," said McPhee, after the influential architect Maya Lin spent three hours with his class. "The piece ended with a description of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: "In this configuration of opaque black stone, which reflects green fields and shimmers in summer heat, not a thing seems to be missing."
Simpson was among the nine percent of low-income Pell Grant recipients in the Class of 2016, which had an impact on her outlook. She noted the gap between Princeton students who could take their opportunities for granted, and people back home in Richmond, California, "where our landlord posted fliers instructing cooperation with ICE." She became very interested in the effect of wealth inequality in healthcare while her father was getting treatments for kidney disease from a large dialysis chain. He died from a preventable infection that led to pneumonia, Simpson wrote. Legislation to oversee dialysis centers in California last November lost at the polls.
The award judges, comprised of nearly 30 current and former reporters and editors, were impressed by her personal essay as well as her clips. Simpson plans to cover the nexus of health and the environment in the Science, Health & Environmental Reporting program.