Emily Kwong Emily Kwong is the founding reporter and now co-host for Short Wave, NPR's science podcast.
Emily Kwong, photographed for NPR, 6 June 2022, in Washington DC. Photo by Farrah Skeiky for NPR.
Stories By

Emily Kwong

Farrah Skeiky/NPR
Emily Kwong, photographed for NPR, 6 June 2022, in Washington DC. Photo by Farrah Skeiky for NPR.
Farrah Skeiky/NPR

Emily Kwong

Co-host and Reporter, Short Wave

Emily Kwong (she/her) is the founding reporter and now co-host for Short Wave, NPR's science podcast.

Before joining NPR, Kwong was a reporter and host at KCAW-Sitka, a community radio station in Sitka, Alaska. She covered local government and community news, chasing stories onto fishing boats and up volcanoes. Her work earned multiple awards from the Alaska Press Club and Alaska Broadcasters Association. Prior to that, Kwong taught and produced youth media with WNYC's Radio Rookies and The Modern Story in Hyderabad, India.

Kwong won the "Best New Artist" award in 2013 from the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition for a story about a Maine journalist learning to speak with an electrolarynx. She was NPR's 2018 Above the Fray Fellow and reported a three-part series on climate change and internal migration in Mongolia. Her team's multimedia narrative, "Losing the Eternal Blue Sky," won a White House News Photographers Association award in 2020.

Kwong's reporting style is driven by empathy and context — a desire to slow down and spend time. There is a sense of people being real people, and of their lives continuing on after the story ends. She is proud to have interviewed both of her parents, shining a light on mental health for StoryCorps with her mom and heritage languages for NPR's "Where We Come From" series with her dad.

Kwong takes great pride in co-leading NPR AZNs, the employee resource group for (ERG) that supports over 100 staff members who identify as Asian, Asian-American, and/or Pacific Islander. Kwong is also co-president of the board for the Association for Independents in Radio (AIR) and was a 2015 AIR New Voices scholar. She learned the finer points of cutting tape at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2013.

Story Archive

Monday

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Here's how the brain experiences pleasure — even the kind that makes us feel guilty

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Monday

Sea levels in Guyana are rising several times faster than the global average. High tides sometimes spill over the seawall that is meant to protect the coastline. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

The two sides of Guyana: a green champion and an oil producer

For Guyana the potential wealth from oil development was irresistible — even as the country faces rising seas. Today on the show, host Emily Kwong talks to reporter Camila Domonoske about her 2021 trip to Guyana and how the country is grappling with its role as a victim of climate change while it moves forward with drilling more oil. (encore)

The two sides of Guyana: a green champion and an oil producer

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Friday

A post-reproductive toothed whale mother and her son. David Ellifrit/Center for Whale Research hide caption

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David Ellifrit/Center for Whale Research

Most animals don't go through menopause. So why do these whales?

Across the animal kingdom, menopause is something of an evolutionary blip. We humans are one of the few animals to experience it. But Sam Ellis, a researcher in animal behavior, argues that this isn't so surprising. "The best way to propagate your genes is to get as many offspring as possible into the next generation," says Ellis. "The best way to do that is almost always to reproduce your whole life."

Most animals don't go through menopause. So why do these whales?

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Thursday

This week in science: whale menopause, bird rest stops and a speech-generating patch

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Wednesday

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Monday

Blastocyst illustration. A blastocyst is a hollow ball of cells with a fluid centre formed after several divisions of a fertilised cell (zygote). The inner cell mass (purple) contains the cells that will form the embryo proper, the embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library/Getty Images hide caption

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Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

In light of the Alabama court ruling, a look at the science of IVF

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Saturday

Georgianna McKenny, 17, is the high school grand-prize winner in NPR's fifth-annual Student Podcast Challenge. Imani Khayyam for NPR hide caption

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Imani Khayyam for NPR

Wednesday

Endometriosis may affect more than 10 percent of reproductive aged women. It's a major cause of infertility and can increase a person's risk for ovarian cancer. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

This cellular atlas could lead to breakthroughs for endometriosis patients

For people with endometriosis—a mysterious disease where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus—medical visits can be especially frustrating. It takes some patients years (on average, ten years) to get a diagnosis and treatment options are limited. There are currently no cures. One researcher, Dr. Kate Lawrenson, is trying to change that. She and her team of researchers have created a cellular atlas of the disease and hope this cell-by-cell approach will open up doors for faster diagnosis options and better ways of managing it. In the meantime, she hopes that more people will learn about the disease in the first place.

This cellular atlas could lead to breakthroughs for endometriosis patients

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Monday

Denis Riek

Wednesday

Residents of Curtis Bay, Maryland have been fighting for cleaner air for years. A new satellite will take will help Air pollution data to get a big upgrade. Will it lead to cleaner air in the most burdened neighborhoods? Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

This satellite could help clean up the air

In pockets across the U.S., communities are struggling with polluted air — often in neighborhoods where working class people and people of color live. A new NASA satellite called Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring Pollution (TEMPO) could detail just how polluted those pockets are. Today, NPR climate reporters Rebecca Hersher and Seyma Bayram talk to host Emily Kwong about how this new satellite could help communities like Curtis Bay, a Maryland neighborhood where residents have been fighting for clean air for decades.

This satellite could help clean up the air

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Friday

This cutaway view of Saturn's moon Enceladus is an artist's rendering that depicts possible hydrothermal activity that may take place on and under the seafloor of the moon's subsurface ocean. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

A newly-discovered asteroid, and what's beneath the ice on Enceladus

All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro returns to nerd-our with Short Wave hosts Emily Kwong and Regina G. Barber on three science headlines from space: a newly-discovered asteroid, a new moon-related discovery and a new study about what spaceflight does to the human body.

A newly-discovered asteroid, and what's beneath the ice on Enceladus

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Thursday

Science news: Elements of life on a Saturn moon and how spaceflight affects the brain

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Friday

Head of the Brain-Computer Interface Programm at the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), Guillaume Charvet from France, shows implants that allows a paralyzed man to walk naturally, during a press conference in Lausanne on May 23, 2023. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Helping a man walk again with implants connecting his brain and spinal cord

This week's science news roundup reunites All Things Considered host Ailsa Chang with Short Wave hosts Emily Kwong and Regina G. Barber to dig into the latest headlines in biomedical research, also known as cool things for the human body. We talk new RSV vaccines, vaccination by sticker and a new device helping a man with paralysis walk again.

Helping a man walk again with implants connecting his brain and spinal cord

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Thursday

This week in science: a paralyzed man walks again and a sticker-like vaccine patch

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Wednesday

Some of the fastest sea level rise in the world is happening in Galveston, Texas. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

Wednesday

Leila Mirhaydari, shown shortly after her kidney transplant surgery in 2014. Eight years later, Leila learned her body was rejecting the donated organ. Courtesy of Leila Mirhaydari hide caption

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Courtesy of Leila Mirhaydari

Monday

A lodgepole chipmunk (Tamias speciosus) on a rock. Ketki Samel hide caption

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Ketki Samel

Climate change stresses out these chipmunks. Why are their cousins so chill?

Kwasi Wrensford studies two related species: the Alpine chipmunk and the Lodgepole chipmunk. The two have very different ways of coping with climate change. In this episode, Kwasi explains to host Emily Kwong how these squirrelly critters typify two important evolutionary strategies, and why they could shed light on what's in store for other creatures all over the globe.

Climate change stresses out these chipmunks. Why are their cousins so chill?

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Friday

Tuesday, researchers at Ozyegin University and Middle East Technical University published a paper in the journal Physics of Fluids that investigates various formulations and storage settings for gummy candy. Cosmin Buse / 500px/Getty Images/500px hide caption

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Cosmin Buse / 500px/Getty Images/500px

Scientists finally know the secret to creating — and storing — perfectly gummy candy

This week for our science news roundup, superstar host of All Things Considered Ari Shapiro joins Short Wave hosts Emily Kwong and Regina G. Barber to discuss the joy and wonder found in all types of structures. The big. The small. The delicious. We ask if diapers can be repurposed to construct buildings, how single-celled organisms turned into multi-cellular ones and how to make the best gummy candy?

Scientists finally know the secret to creating — and storing — perfectly gummy candy

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Monday

As part of studying long COVID, graduate researcher Bradley Wade Hamilton separates out microclots from blood platelets in a solution. Anil Oza/NPR hide caption

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Anil Oza/NPR

Friday

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Thursday

This week in science: Virtual reality sickness and the truth about 10,000 step goal

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Tuesday

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Monday

In the transition to a zero-carbon world, what will the future of energy storage look like? MF3d hide caption

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MF3d