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 an invitation-only, weeklong intensive that trains scientists 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, film, and publishing.

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"

2023 Program

2023 dates: June 24-July 1, 2023


Saturday, June 24: Fellows arrive in Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, June 25: Fellows embark for Catalina Island; begin workshops, studio time, and critiques

Monday, June 26-Friday, June 30: Workshops, studio time, and critiques; instructors arrive and depart as needed

Saturday, July 1: Return to Los Angeles; wrap party

Sunday, July 2: Fellows depart Los Angeles

2022 Fellows

Dr. Joe Árvai, USC. Joe’s research focuses on how people form opinions and make decisions about things that have social and environmental consequences.  

Dr. Elena Bennett, McGill University. Elena’s research focuses on the role of people’s relationships to one another and to nature in building a better future.

Dr. William Deverell, USC. Bill’s research focuses on the history of wildfire in the American West and the wildfire management methods used by Indigenous peoples.

Dr. Simon Donner, University of British Columbia. Simon’s research focuses on climate and how it interacts with coral reef ecology.

Dr. Ambika Kamath, University of Colorado Boulder. Ambika’s research focuses on animal behavior, ecology, and evolution.

Dr. Neil Lewis, Jr., Cornell University. Neil’s research is based in the behavioral sciences and focuses on disparities in environmental impacts and how they affect people’s health.

Dr. Vernon Morris, Arizona State University. Vernon’s research focuses on atmospheric sciences and their intersection with climate and air quality issues.

Dr. Suzanne Pierre, California Academies of Science. Suzanne’s research focuses on how climate affects plant-microbe interactions.

Dr. Chelsie Romulo, University of Northern Colorado. Chelsie’s research focuses on the management of non-timber natural resources.

Dr. Merritt Turetsky, University of Colorado Boulder. Merritt’s research focuses on ecosystem ecology, carbon cycling, permafrost science, and fire ecology.

Information for Fellows

a man wearing glasses, a white shirt, and red shorts writes on a notepad in his lap as he sits on a patio chair outside

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, visual 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 beginnings of a project that can be completed on your own or shopped around to creative professionals for collaboration. 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 save. You’ll also build relationships with peer faculty so you can support one another long after you leave Catalina Island.

Fellowship and Application

The Wrigley Storymakers Fellowship covers all program-related costs, including travel, lodging, meals, instructors, and scheduled activities. Participation is by invitation only and is limited to full-time U.S. college and university faculty conducting environment- or sustainability-related research in the natural or social sciences.

If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague for a fellowship, please complete the online nomination form, 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.

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 an invitation-only group of environment- and sustainability-focused faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities.

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 funding for reasonable travel costs.

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 complete the online nomination form, 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.