Press Release

March 21, 2024 | By Cole Hatcher

'Breathing Clean Air'

Science Journalist to Discuss Environmentally Conscious Career April 8 at Ohio Wesleyan

Virginia Gewin

DELAWARE, Ohio – Virginia Gewin, an independent science journalist, will present "Breathing Clean Air: An Environmental Success Turned Environmental Justice Story" when she presents Ohio Wesleyan University's 2023-2024 Benjamin F. Marsh Lecture on Public Affairs.

She will speak at 7 p.m. April 8 in Benes Room B of OWU's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

As a freelance journalist, Gewin focuses on sharing stories at "the intersection of food security, land use, and climate change," and her adventures have taken her around the world thanks to multiple fellowships and grants. Currently, she is serving as the 2023-2024 Nova Media Fellow, where she is exploring "Tainted Air: Unearthing the public health impacts of novel fine particulate matter sources and tracking emerging pollutants."

Of her project, Nova Media states: "Fine particulate matter is considered the most dangerous pollutant, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2021, the WHO lowered air quality guidelines for particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller (PM2.5) in a bid to save lives. The United States regulatory standard, set by the EPA, is currently 2.5 times higher than the WHO – even as dust levels doubled in the Midwest states between 2000 and 2018."

Over the past decade, Gewin's work also has included:

  • Traveling to mainland Malaysia for a two-week wild banana collection trip.
  • Visiting the Crops for the Future research institute outside Kuala Lumpur.
  • Attending an Arctic Circle meeting in Iceland to explore shifting agricultural opportunities.
  • Traveling from the Amazon to the Andes to report on efforts to save Peru's agricultural heritage.
  • Touring peatland restoration in the highlands of Scotland to help mitigate climate change in the country.
  • Reporting on dust and its effects in the increasingly arid West.
  • Exploring toxic dust from the Salton Sea and its impact on the health of migrant farmworker families working in the Imperial and Coachella valleys in the California desert.

Gewin's articles have appeared in Nature, Science, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Discover, Popular Science, and many others. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Auburn University and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Washington State University. She also is a NASA Earth Science Fellow and a Mass Media Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ohio Wesleyan's Marsh Lecture series, begun in 2001, is coordinated by Ohio Wesleyan's Department of Politics and Government and its Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs. During his life, Marsh, a 1950 OWU graduate and attorney, held numerous political posts at local, state, and national levels, and served as registration supervisor and adjudicator for the U.S. Department of State to the Organization and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as an election supervisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Learn more about OWU's Department of Politics and Government and its lectures and programs at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at or learn more at