Applications Due January 31st

The Ferriss – UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship

Ten $10,000 reporting grants issued per year.

2024 Ferriss-UC Berkeley Journalism Fellows

Robin Beghaus_headshot
Austin, Texas

Robin Berghaus

Robin writes feature stories and produces documentaries that engage the public about advances in science, health, medicine, and technology. Her projects have shown at international film festivals, on PBS, and as part of Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Science on Screen. Robin serves as a speaker and production consultant for organizations and universities, and as a film envoy for American Film Showcase. She holds a BS in biology from Boston College, and an MFA in film production from Boston University. For the fellowship, Robin is working on an audio project on psychedelics in Texas.
Socials:, X @RobinPBerghaus

Mattha Busby bw
Vancouver, Canada

Mattha Busby

Mattha Busby is a freelance journalist. He worked as a news reporter at the Guardian in London from 2017 to 2021 after winning an award for a series on the gambling industry before moving to Mexico. There, he interviewed Maria Sabina’s family on her legacy, visited the town that banned Coca-Cola and documented 4/20 in Oaxaca City just after authorities approved public cannabis consumption. He has also written for TIME, the Times of London, the Observer, the Intercept, VICE, DoubleBlind and Men’s Health. In 2022, Thames & Hudson published a slim volume authored by Mattha titled, ‘Should All Drugs Be Legalized?’. His podcast Uncharted Territory unpacks the pro-psychedelics culture shift. For the fellowship, Mattha is working on a story about war trauma and psychedelics.
Socials: X @matthabusby, Instagram @matthamundo

Rachel Carlson_bw
Los Angeles, California

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson is a writer and producer at NPR, where she works on the science podcast, Short Wave. A recent graduate in cognitive neuroscience and literature at Brown University, she studied the intersections between the human brain and storytelling. She's fascinated by the ways our neurons are shaped by language, writing and experience. During college, she also did research on the science behind ketamine therapy, including barriers to access and patient experiences receiving the drug for treatment-resistant depression. For the fellowship, Rachel is reporting on the science and philosophy of “tripless” psychedelic-like drugs. 
Socials: X @_rachelcarlson

ANNE Chalmers
Albany, California

Anne Marshall-Chalmers

Anne Marshall-Chalmers is an investigative reporter with The War Horse focusing on the health of veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. Prior to The War Horse, her work appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Atlas Obscura, Mother Jones, Inside Climate News, NPR, Civil Eats, Cal Matters, and other publications. For the fellowship, Marshall-Chalmers will investigate the unusual and underground ways veterans have accessed psychedelic therapy to help with lingering trauma.
Socials: X @marshall_anne

Culver City, California

Meghan McCarron

Meghan McCarron is an award-winning freelance journalist focused on the intersection of food and culture, which has led her to cover everything from the history of Tex-Mex to the 2020 Presidential race to the rise of luxury psilocybin chocolates. She's written for The New York Times, Bon Appetit, the Los Angeles Times, and spent nearly a decade on staff at Eater as an editor and correspondent. For the fellowship, she will explore how legalization may change how psilocybin mushrooms are bred, and the challenges small cultivators face with the rise of Big Mushroom.
Socials: Instagram @meghanmccarron

Sarah Mirk bw
Portland, Oregon

Sarah Mirk

Sarah “Shay” Mirk (they/she) is a graphic journalist, editor, and teacher. For six years, Shay was a contributing editor at comics publication The Nib, where projects she worked on won both Eisner and Ignatz awards. They are the author of several books, including Guantanamo Voices, an illustrated oral history of Guantanamo Bay prison, which Kirkus called “extraordinary… an eye-opening, damning indictment of one of America’s worst trespasses.” They are a zine-maker and cartoonist whose comics have been featured in The New Yorker, Bitch, and NPR. Her book on the craft of making nonfiction comics, Making Nonfiction Comics: A Field Guide to Graphic Journalism (co-written with Eleri Harris), will debut from Abrams ComicsArts in 2025. For 2023-2024, Shay is the Applied Cartooning Fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. She is white, nonbinary, and queer. For their fellowship, Shay is working on a series of cartoons about people’s psychedelic experiences.
Socials: Instagram @mirkdrop

Cecilia Nowell bw
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Cecilia Nowell

Cecilia Nowell is a freelance reporter focused on health equity stories in the Americas. Her work has been published by The Guardian, KFF Health News, The Nation, New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and others. In 2022, she was recognized as a Livingston Award finalist in national reporting for her coverage of a California mother serving an 11-year prison sentence after a stillbirth, and in 2023, she reported on reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare deserts as a grantee with the Inaugural Journalism & Women Symposium Health Journalism Fellowship. For the fellowship, she will report on attempts to treat opioid use disorder with psychedelics.
Socials: X @cecilianowell

Brooklyn, New York

Erin Schumaker

Erin Schumaker reports on the future of health care for POLITICO. Previously she was Business Insider's science editor, where her team covered space, climate, extreme weather and discoveries. Prior to that, she reported on the Covid-19 pandemic for ABC News, including the trends driving infections and the struggles of safety-net hospitals. She was also a reporter at HuffPost, where she covered the opioid crisis and gun violence as public health challenges. For her fellowship, Erin will be writing about the Washington decision-makers hashing out the future of psychedelics policy. 
Socials: X @erinlschumaker

Haleema Shah bw
Baltimore, Maryland

Haleema Shah

Haleema Shah is a journalist with a decade of experience making podcasts and radio shows. She is currently a senior producer and reporter for Vox's news program Today, Explained. As a lover of history, her work draws heavily on archival footage and oral history to explore how the past informs our present. For the fellowship, she is reporting on the early use of psychedelics in psychotherapy before they were restricted as dangerous drugs, and how those discoveries might be applied in today's radically different mental health landscape.
Socials: X @haleemakshah

Seema Yasmin_bw
Las Vegas, Nevada

Seema Yasmin

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy award-winning journalist, author and poet whose writing appears in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, WIRED and Scientific American. She trained in medicine at the University of Cambridge and in journalism at the University of Toronto. She is the author of eight books including a poetry collection, children's picture book and a YA novel. For the fellowship, Seema is exploring psychedelic chaplaincy and the shifting permissibility of psychedelics in medicine, religion and law. 
Socials: X @DoctorYasmin