Wrigley Storymakers Program

You have a story. We can help you tell it.

Through the Wrigley Institute Storymakers program, scientists become storytellers, and academic research becomes a vision that changes the world.

The Storymakers program is a weeklong intensive that trains full-time, mid-career researchers in the art of environmental storytelling. Held in residence at the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC)  on Catalina Island, the program includes lectures, workshops, studio time for creating original content, and networking opportunities. Instructors are chosen from the best in media, the arts, and publishing.

Note: Applications for the 2024 Storymakers cohort are now closed. Please check back with us in late 2024 to apply for the 2025 cohort.

a man in a blue jacket looks through the viewfinder of a video camera while a man wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt adjusts the settings on a lens
a woman wearing sunglasses, gold earrings, and a tan T-shirt gestures with her hands as she talks to a group of people seated around a table outside closeup of sticky notes, attached to a white board, with messages such as "listen thoughfully" and "be kind to yourself"

2024 Program

2024 dates: June 23-29, 2024


Saturday, June 22: Fellows arrive in Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, June 23: Fellows embark for Catalina Island; begin workshops, studio time, and critiques

Monday, June 24-Friday, June 28: Workshops, studio time, and critiques; instructors arrive and depart as needed

Saturday, June 29: Return to Los Angeles; wrap party

Sunday, June 30: Fellows depart Los Angeles

*Schedule is subject to change as 2024 plans evolve

Information for Fellows

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About the Program

Humanity today faces intensifying environmental catastrophes: climate change, wildfires, water shortages, biodiversity loss, and more. These are not merely scientific issues, but they cannot be solved without science. And yet, the vocabulary, communication styles, and formats that professional academics typically use are often ineffective and even counterproductive in engaging the public. So how can scientists share their knowledge in a way that moves hearts and minds and builds appetite for change?

The Wrigley Storymakers Program is designed to answer that question. Over the course of the program, you’ll learn the art of environmental storytelling so you can share your research with the public in creative and compelling ways. This program focuses especially on narrative persuasion and how to use it to build internet-friendly content that will engage and influence the widest possible audience. Hands-on practice will cover audio production/podcasting, writing, immersive storytelling, creative time for producing original content, and feedback sessions.

Fellows should come to the program with a clear idea of what message or story they want to communicate to the public. You will leave the program with the tools, training, and network you need to develop and advance project ideas for sharing your story with the public. The program location–Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island–is in a pristine marine reserve where you can retreat from the distractions of normal daily activity and be inspired by the beautiful planet you’re trying to aid. You’ll also build relationships with peer faculty so you can support one another long after you leave Catalina Island.

Fellowship and Application

Note: Applications for the 2024 Storymakers cohort are now closed. Please check back with us in late 2024 to apply for the 2025 cohort.

The Wrigley Storymakers Fellowship includes all costs associated with program instruction, transportation from Los Angeles to Catalina Island, room and board while on the island, the wrap party, and one night at a departure hotel. You will be responsible for your own travel to and from Los Angeles, plus your arrival hotel, if needed. Participation is limited to full-time, mid-career researchers studying environment- or sustainability-related topics in the natural or social sciences.

Before applying to the fellowship, please carefully read our FAQs. USC and the Wrigley Institute value diversity and encourage applications from individuals who are members of underrepresented or historically marginalized groups.

Information for Instructors

a man gestures at a projector screen as he teaches a group of people gathered around a U-shaped table

About the Program

The Wrigley Storymakers Program gives you the opportunity to make a difference for the future of our planet by training scientists to communicate their research in ways that engage and influence the public. You’ll work with small group of leading environment- and sustainability-focused researchers from some of North America’s most prestigious colleges, universities, and scientific organizations.

Instructors commit to a 2-3-day engagement that includes a workshop and availability to engage with Fellows while on the island. Engagements may involve either (1) an afternoon arrival on Catalina Island, with instruction and late-afternoon departure on the following 1-2 days, or (2) morning arrival and instruction on Catalina Island that day and possibly the day after, with departure on the second or third day.

Accommodations and Compensation

The program location–Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island–is a pristine marine reserve, providing a retreat-like environment to enjoy your stay. The California mainland and Los Angeles metro area are just 90 minutes away by boat. All instructors will receive boat transportation to and from the California mainland, meals, and 1-2 nights of private apartment- or cottage-style accommodations at WMSC. Catalina Island is also a popular Southern California resort destination, with recreational and cultural activities based in the city of Avalon. If you wish to extend your stay on the island following your engagement, we will provide departing boat transportation to Avalon.

In addition to transportation and accommodations, all instructors will receive compensation in the form of a competitive fee and reimbursement for reasonable travel costs to and from Los Angeles.

Instructor openings are by invitation only. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague to serve as an instructor for the Storymakers program, please email wies@usc.edu, and a member of our staff will respond soon. USC and the Wrigley Institute value diversity and encourage nominations of individuals who are members of underrepresented or historically marginalized groups.