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When not being chased by polar bears or living among Ethiopia’s last traditional tribe, Neil Shea is a lecturer in journalism at Boston University. As an editor-at-large for Virginia Quarterly Review and a regular contributor to National Geographic, he has travelled to some of the planet’s most extreme environments and combat zones. Shea has reported on the effects of shrinking sea ice in the Arctic sea, explored Madagascar's remote stone forest, and covered an expedition in Mexico to an otherworldly cavern with the world's largest known crystals. In Paris, he explored the underground world of Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, along with the famous catacombs. Shea has also been embedded with U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and written numerous articles about those experiences, among them a story about combat medicine for National Geographic, a story about a Marine in Ramadi for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and a story about soldiers on the edge for The American Scholar. More recently, Shea has turned to Instagram (@neilshea13) as a powerful storytelling tool to complement his documentary work, creating short prose poems to accompany images from assignments to "convey some deeper sense of momentary 'truth'." Other publication credits include Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, and Stars and Stripes. Shea has been honored with gold and silver Lowell Thomas Awards for his stories on Ethiopia and Cuba, and an award for environmental reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the Overseas Press Club Award. To learn more about Neil Shea’s intrepid reporting, visit

Elizabeth Grammer, Director
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