Mara Kardas-Nelson. Journalist.

Health. Environment. Development. Politics. Change.

About Mara

I am driven by curiosity.

I’m intensely interested in the world around me, the people that I meet, the way we interact with each other, and how different components of our world—technology, natural and built environments, political systems, culture—work, and work together. A few key questions underpin all of my work: Why does the world function as it does? How is it understood differently by different people? And how might it change?

My award-winning work has been featured in The New York TimesNPRThe Nation, Al Jazeera, the Mail & Guardian, The AppealBloomberg NewsThe British Medical Journal, and the Globe & Mail, and elsewhere. I have also had a career in global health, working for South Africa’s the Treatment Action Campaign, the Access Campaign of Médecins Sans Frontières, Open Society Foundation, and Partners in Health. I have lived in America, Canada, South Africa, and Sierra Leone. My time living and working in different parts of the world informs the questions that I ask as a journalist, and how I frame my stories.

I am an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where I focused on long-form narrative and audio journalism, and investigative reporting. While at the J-School, I received two fellowships from the Human Rights Center, as well as an internal fellowship, to support my reporting on the financialization of poverty in the development sector. I received a separate fellowship from the National Institute of Climate Education to support reporting on the renewable energy transition in Texas. I also received the 2019 Robert Whittington Award for Exceptional Reporting for my reporting on St. James, Louisiana.

I am currently working on a book on the global development sector. This work is supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. In my free time, I’m also working on a podcast and a documentary. I’m represented by Wendy Strothman.