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

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.   

RomoloTavani / iStock.com

State officials in Vermont and New York have been testing water and people in areas where water wells are contaminated by the suspected carcinogen PFOA — and now professors and college students are joining the response team.  

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

It's come up repeatedly in recent political debates: the idea of monitoring U.S. residents based solely on their religion.

Julie Jacobson / AP

This chaotic political year is marked by deep disagreements and resentment, both within and across party lines. But regardless of one’s political stance, many people seem to agree on one thing: The media is failing in its coverage of the 2016 election.

Gromit702 / iStock

The news of the contamination of water wells in North Bennington and across the border in Hoosick Falls, New York, has drawn renewed attention to the chemical PFOA. It has been used in making Teflon and other water-repellant coatings. The chemical has since been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as an “emerging contaminant.”  


Results from a new study run by researchers at the University of Vermont and Johns Hopkins University show big strides in the development of a vaccine for the dengue virus. To learn more about this study released March 16, VPR's Mitch Wertlieb and Kathleen Masterson spoke with the research team at UVM on Friday.  

Martha Stewart / Courtesy Harvard University

William Julius Wilson’s academic writing on race has influenced everything from "The Wire" to speeches by former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Since 1996 Wilson has worked as a sociology professor at Harvard University. This Wednesday, March 16, he’ll be speaking at St. Michael’s College at an event free and open to the public. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin's ambitious plan to have Vermont become the first single-payer health care state in the U.S. never materialized, but in a quieter way, the health care system in Vermont is changing.

Susan Walsh / AP

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits with President Barack Obama at a state dinner this Thursday, it will mark the first time in nearly 20 years the United States has hosted a Canadian leader for a high-profile White House event.


An astrophysicist at McGill University in Montreal has achieved some significant milestones.

At age 48, Victoria Kaspi is now tied for the youngest person to win the Gerhard Herzberg Award – Canada’s top prize from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. And she’s the first woman to do so.

Courtesy Revision

A growing threat to airline safety is the illegal use of lasers to damage pilots’ eyes. Now an international company Revision, with offices in Essex, Vermont, has developed a protective eyewear that blocks the damaging effects of lasers.