Kathleen Masterson

New England News Collaborative Reporter

Kathleen Masterson is VPR's New England News Collaborative reporter. She covers energy, environment, infrastructure and labor issues for VPR and the collaborative. Kathleen comes to Vermont having worked as a producer for NPR’s science desk and as a beat reporter covering agriculture and the environment.

Kathleen covered food production for Harvest Public Media while based at Iowa Public Radio in Ames, Iowa. She wrote stories ranging from the risks of antibiotic use in livestock feed to how hedge fund managers visit corn fields to bet on the commodities market to how the fracking boom has spurred sand mining in Iowa. As a digital producer for NPR for several years, Kathleen reported science and health stories and produced multimedia series for NPR.org. She covered topics that ranged from human evolution to swine flu to the Affordable Care Act to plastic chemicals BPA and phthalates.

Kathleen has contributed work to NPR, Marketplace, Grist, and NPR-affiliates including KQED and WGBH. She also worked as a digital producer for PBS NOVA, a science writer for University of California, San Francisco and the Morning Edition producer/reporter for VPR.

Ways to Connect

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Many refugees who arrive on U.S. soil finally feel safe after decades of war or torture or loss of family members. But just because they're removed from physical harm, it doesn't mean the pain is over. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

On Town Meeting Day, local politics went national as a number of Vermont towns weighed in on presidential campaign ethics. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Sen. Patrick Leahy denounced the president's budget priorities, which would cut funding to environment and health research programs in order to increase defense spending. Leahy says budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency would have a direct impact in Vermont.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

As high volumes of migrants flee the United States to apply for asylum in Canada, one popular route into Quebec is just west of Lake Champlain. To get to the snowy illegal crossing, many are calling a cab.

But there's a catch: Some of those cabbies are coordinating with U.S. Border Patrol, and that practice has some civil liberties advocates concerned.  

New deportation rules issued by President Donald Trump's administration aim to significantly increase deportations, as well as enlist local police officers as enforcers. The Mexican general consulate of New England is now working to educate Mexican nationals about their rights. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

The Canada Border Services Agency has created a makeshift refugee processing center to respond to the influx of refugees crossing the border west of Lake Champlain.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting surges in illegal crossings in Canada in recent months. Officials say Quebec has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in remote, snowy areas west of Lake Champlain.

bluejayphoto / iStock.com

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting a flurry of illegal crossing into Canada this past weekend. Officials say Quebec has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in frigid, remote areas west of Lake Champlain, and ending up in Hemmingford and Lacolle.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

There are many challenges to farming for a living: It's often grueling work that relies on unpredictable factors such as weather and global market prices. But one aspect that's often ignored is the cost of health care. 

Jtasphoto / iStock

After the industrial chemical PFOA contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of people in southern Vermont, legislators wanted to avoid another surprise contamination. So last year, they tasked a working group to figure out how the state could more proactively regulate chemicals. Now the group is back with recommendations.

The federal department that oversees pipeline safety is looking into Vermont Gas Systems' 41-mile extension into Addison County.

zilli / iStock

Vermont has already invested significant time and money in combating the opioid addiction, from special drug courts to laws regulating prescription monitoring. Now the state is considering a new tool in its arsenal: acupuncture. 

Vermont Gas Systems says its 41-mile pipeline has stayed within its budget this past quarter, and is on track to be completed this spring. The news comes after costs have ballooned nearly 50 percent in the last three years.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders grilled President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency at his confirmation hearing Wednesday, while Sen. Patrick Leahy called Scott Pruitt "unqualified" and says his appointment would be a "disaster for the country."

Courtesy, John Mejia

A Monkton resident who has had multiple Black Lives Matter signs stolen from his front yard is appealing to the community for support. 

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England reports that they've received a large boost in donations in the weeks following this year's presidential election.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

In 2014, the Obama administration issued a federal memo aiming to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But a closer look finds that there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies, including in Vermont.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

A University of Vermont scientist recently won a $450,000 grant to continue his research that could one day lead to a new approach to treating a rare, more aggressive form of breast cancer.

Luka Lajst / iStock.com

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of illegal immigrants with criminal records. It’s unclear how many people fit this category — but Trump's sweeping statements are already sending shock waves into many undocumented workers' lives.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Lake Champlain water levels approached record lows this summer, which exposed acres of beach sand that would normally be underwater.  This allowed some rare — and a few endangered— species of sand-dwelling grass plants to blossom, some of which may have lain dormant for decades.

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