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. My writing and reporting interrogates so as to learn more, and learn better.

My award-winning work has been featured in The New York TimesNPRThe Nation, Al Jazeera, the Mail & Guardian, The AppealBloomberg News, AlterNet, TruthOut,, The British Medical Journal, and the Globe & Mail, as well as several health and development publications. I am currently a recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation Fund for Women Journalists. 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, the 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.