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Comer Scholarship

The Comer Scholarship supports students who demonstrate commitment to covering environmental issues. Comer Scholars are selected for their academic excellence, passion for environmental journalism and vision of environmental journalism’s potential impact—and their role in it.

The typical Comer Scholarship award is equivalent to almost half the cost of tuition for Medill's one-year master's degree program. Past Comer Scholars have gone on to report for public radio stations, newspapers, energy media, nonprofits and many other outlets.

While at Medill, Comer Scholars study techniques for reporting on science, the environment and climate change. They network with top environmental scientists from across the country and travel to report on stories of international concern.

The Comer Science & Education Foundation carries on the philanthropy of the late Gary Comer, who founded the Lands’ End clothing company. The Comer Foundation, based in Chicago, supports organizations in an array of fields including education, environment, health and social services as well as neighborhood rehabilitation.

Meet a Comer Scholar

Janice Cantieri holding a goat in India
Comer Scholar Janice Cantieri on a reporting trip in India

"Being a part of the Comer Scholars program at Medill was one of the best opportunities I've had to not only improve my ability to report, research and write about a wide range of environmental issues, but also significantly improve my own understanding of the science behind why our climate is changing. We sat down for hours with some of the world's top climate scientists at the Comer Abrupt Climate Change Conference in the fall. We learned so much from hearing the scientists present their latest research. We learned how to communicate with scientists, how to ask the right questions and how to explain complex issues for a general audience in a way that was not simplifying the concepts.

I also went on several international reporting trips through the program on the impacts and adaptations to climate change both in India and Puerto Rico, both of which were incredible experiences. I saw first hand how farmers were adapting to climate extremes like severe droughts and flooding and spent weeks in the field getting to know the community and the issues. This is one of the best programs to develop a specialized understanding of environmental reporting, build great relationships with others in the field, and learn how to effectively write about climate science and policy and the human-level impacts of environmental change."

— Janice Cantieri (MSJ17)

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