Doctoral Student Recognized for Excellence in Science Communications

Sumeet Kulkarni earns Schmidt award for writing, use of photography

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi doctoral student in physics has been recognized nationally for his excellence in science communications.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in partnership with Schmidt Futures awarded Sumeet Kulkarni (MEd 21) with a 2023 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Award. He is among 24 honorees in eight categories.

Kulkarni, an aspiring science journalist, is studying astrophysics at Ole Miss. His research with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, experiment involves studying violent black hole collisions through the gravitational waves that they emit.

“It is an incredible honor to win this award and see my work recognized by the science communication community,” he said. “It strengthens my resolve to freely explore multimedia storytelling and produce content that informs, engages and captivates audiences.

“This award is crucial to advancing my career as a science journalist.”

As an amateur astrophotographer, Kulkarni captures celestial images with his camera, and when applicable, uses them as storytelling elements. He is passionate about increasing public engagement in science and does so via co-hosting the Oxford Science Cafe; helping lead “ComSciCon,” a science communication workshop for graduate students; and writing science news and feature stories.

Kulkarni spent summer 2022 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science mass media fellow with the science desk at the Los Angeles Times. He also has written for Scientific American, Astrobites, IndiaBioscience and LIGO Magazine.