Rose builds environmental journalism skills through scholarship in Thailand


Courtesy of Maria Rose

Rose attends her scholarship in Thailand. “I was representing a project I worked on supporting Shan migrants from Myanmar to gain better access to career advancement and service provision,” Rose said.

Maria Rose started gaining interest in environmental issues in middle school. After watching “An Inconvenient Truth”, a documentary by Al Gore, everything clicked into place for Rose. After graduating, Rose attended Vassar College in New York, where she majored in environmental science and English and graduated in 2015.

“I chose [to major in] environmental science because it was something I had been deeply interested in from high school onwards. I really wanted to, and still intend to pursue environmental journalism, so the combination of environmental science and English were two things that went hand-in-hand to get me towards environmental journalism. I wanted to have more of a specific understanding of what I was going to write about,” Rose said.

While in college, Rose received a scholarship to go to Thailand and work with a small nonprofit organization that focuses on child rights and migrant rights. Rose spent two and a half years in Thailand doing situational analysis. Not knowing how to speak Thai made it harder for Rose to do basic things.

“[Working in Thailand] was a really challenging job for a wide variety of reasons, but it was really powerful. The first eight or nine months I was there I mostly listened, and I think that is a hugely important thing in any kind of service work, to be an empathetic listener,” Rose said. “Not listening to respond, not listening to solve a problem, but just listening really hard to try to understand what’s going on. [Not knowing how to speak Thai] definitely made it harder.”

Rose currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she is a part of Coro Pittsburgh Fellowship in Public Affairs. Coro is a leadership and professional development program where students gain experience in different structures. Coro has a goal to help people develop their leadership skills so they can enter the workforce with a better understanding of how things work.

“I was coming back from Thailand and [Coro] was a scholarship that I thought I would try and get, and I got it. I think for me, because I am pursuing environmental journalism, there is no set way to do it, like being a doctor who just goes to medical school,” Rose said. “You can get there by going to journalism school, you can start working, or you can do all of these things. There is this one quote [by Benjamin Franklin] that says, ‘Write something worth reading or do something worth writing’, so for me I just wanted to build my skills if I wasn’t going to start writing immediately.” said Rose.