National Geographic and U.S. Department of State Name New Class of Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship Awardees

The National Geographic Society and the U.S. Department of State today announced the five awardees selected for the third class of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. 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 National Geographic digital platforms using a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations and/or social media.

Over a nine-month period, the five Storytellers will create stories on globally significant social or environmental topics, including cultures, wildlife and food. The new class includes:

  • Christiana Botic, a Serbian-American photographer and filmmaker who will document the impact of mass migration of refugees on the cultural landscapes of Serbia and Croatia.
  • Lauren Ladov, a garden educator who will share stories about those striving to create sustainable, community-centered food systems in India and produce education materials for a gardening curriculum.
  • Tim McDonnell, a New York City-based digital multimedia journalist who will document how a changing climate is compounding longstanding problems with food insecurity and rural poverty in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.
  • Kevin McLean, an ecologist, conservationist and National Geographic Young Explorer who will use motion-sensitive cameras (camera traps) to report on rainforest canopy wildlife in two of the most biodiverse areas of the world: Amazonian Ecuador and Malaysian Borneo.
  • Ishan Thakore, a multimedia storyteller, journalist and global health researcher who will create a series of short films to portray a nuanced portrait of the human benefits as well as the human costs of large-scale development in South Africa and Nicaragua.

Finalists were selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board following recommendations by representatives from the National Geographic Society. Fulbright-National Geographic Storytellers receive funding for travel, living expenses and health/accident coverage as well as a reporting and materials allowance from the U.S. Department of State. National Geographic organizes a pre-departure training, and staff mentor the Storytellers, helping them tell their stories to a wider global audience.

For more information and details on applying for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, visit

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We fund hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of our members and donors, we work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit

About the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. Established by Congress in 1946, the educational exchange program is 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 160 countries to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and find solutions to shared international challenges.


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