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.

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Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

Congress has passed a national GMO labeling bill that would nullify Vermont's labeling law, which went into effect July 1. 

Courtesy University of Vermont

Wetlands and floodplains along Otter Creek protected Middlebury from more than $1.8 million of flood damage during Tropical Storm Irene, according to a new study from the University of Vermont.

A collage of food labels
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Vermont’s GMO labeling law aims to provide consumers with more information, and yet it's just one of a growing number of food labels popping up on grocery shelves.

The state is allowing Vermont’s largest utility to continue accepting community-scale solar projects. Last fall Green Mountain Power hit the cap, maxing out how many of these types of solar projects can be hooked up to the grid.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

While the terms “GMO” and “genetic engineering” carry some stigma for certain audiences, to scientists simply agreeing on a definition of what counts as genetically engineered — and what doesn’t — isn’t so straightforward.  

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Vermont’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell said Tuesday that he has some concerns that new federal legislation will limit states’ rights to regulate chemicals within their borders.

The Grand Isle County Sheriff's Department recently paid a nearly $30,000 payment to settle an instance involving illegal discrimination against a Mexican national working in Vermont.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

As our reliance on solar and wind energy grows, so does the challenge of reliability: The wind and sun can’t be turned on and off whenever people need electricity. One part of the solution is energy storage. 

The Missisquoi River basin is one of the most polluted sections in Lake Champlain, consistently failing to meet pollution limits. Now, a Franklin County project is developing new detailed forest maps to identify roads that might be contributing to phosphorus runoff.

ponsulak / iStock.com

Being a teenager is hard enough. There are awkward hormonal changes, increasing academic pressures, and seismic shifts in relationships in and outside the home. But today's teens have an additional challenge: the ubiquitous presence and lure of social media, smartphones and other technologies that allow gossip and rumor to go viral at the touch of a button. 

Last week VPR reported on a recent downturn in commodity prices that has some waste district managers scrambling to make ends meet to comply with Vermont's universal recycling law. Our story drew a response from officials with the Chittenden Solid Waste District, because they say planning for exactly this kind of circumstance has left them in a much better position.

Thomas Faull / iStock.com

The battle over bathrooms and gender identity has come to a head in recent weeks, at least in some parts of the country. And Vermont is making an effort to stay ahead of the curve. 

BrianAJackson / iStock.com

Technology is evolving faster than we could have ever imagined, and with it new challenges regarding social etiquette, privacy and security.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Thirteen years ago, it cost nearly $3 billion to sequence the first human genome. Now that cost has plummeted to closer to $1,000 per genome, making it likely an increasingly common tool for patients in the not-so-distant future – and the subject of a recent pilot study at the University of Vermont.

Toby Talbot / AP file

Solar arrays have sprouted across the Vermont landscape over the past decade, but policy makers weren't ready for one consequence of the solar boom: reaching the cap on new solar projects. 

Last fall, Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, hit the cap for how many mid-sized and larger solar projects it can hook up to the grid. That means many that were planned just won't get built this year.    

Alexandre Silberman

Recently, a group of Vermont little league baseball players traveled to Cuba, taking on some of the best of that island nation in the cultural and sporting trip of a lifetime. Ollie Pudvar, 12, of Shelburne, spoke with VPR to reflect on the trip.

vgajic / iStock.com

Children with autism often have trouble reading emotions. It’s difficult for them to tell a happy face from a sad one.

New research from the University of Vermont has uncovered part of the reason: Using eye-tracking technology, the researchers found that children with autism fixate longer on a speaker’s mouth — rather than the eyes — when the conversation turns emotional.   

Environmental officials suspect the Chemfab plant in North Bennington has been emitting the chemical PFOA through its smokestacks for years

Yet since the 1960s, the chemical manufacturer DuPont had information that PFOA may be linked to heightened cancer risks. It wasn't until a lawsuit in the mid-2000s that the company shared this information with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mitch Wertlieb / VPR

The Vermont Tourism Industry crowned the "Bartender of the Year" last week in Killington. 

The winner was Matthew Farkas of Mule Bar in Winooski. The competition challenged the bartenders to mix a special drink from surprise ingredients revealed during the contest. It used all local, made-in-Vermont spirits.

Frederic Silberman

A team of 11- and 12-year-olds from Vermont are about to play ball in a country normally off-limits to Americans. The little league players are traveling to Cuba to compete against their peers in Havana.   

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