Emily (Eggleston) Toner

Urban Agriculture Extension Educator • Purdue University • Indianapolis, IN
Last edited April 6, 2017

School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Year in school: 2nd year graduate student
Age: 24

Emily grew up in Iowa and attended Iowa State University, earning bachelor degrees in Agronomy and Environmental Studies. While studying soil science and food system sustainability, she did a service learning project in rural Uganda and a summer project at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. Both projects helped her learn about agriculture in developing countries and fueled her interest in social and environmental justice.

Following that interest, she pursued a Master’s in people-environment geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While immersed the academic setting, Emily decided to pursue another interest — telling the meaningful stories — and is now half-way through a second Master’s degree in journalism. Emily chose to use her familiarity with the quantitative to incorporate data into her reporting and storytelling. For her remaining year of study, she’s pursuing data journalism as a career path.

In 20 years of schooling, Emily has also managed to develop some hobbies outside of the classroom. She loves to cook and her favorite ingredients come from her garden. She enjoys biking, even through the snowy Madison winter, and practicing yoga. Emily also has chronic wanderlust.

The proposal

“Simultaneously pursuing an M.S. in geography and an M.A. in journalism is training me in two types of storytelling. One type is based on soil chemistry data. The other takes a more qualitative route, emphasizing people and story tension. In December, I started the first data-driven journalism group at UW-Madison. As the data journalism group enters its second semester, we are gearing up to tackle the stories hiding in Madison’s data. Madison Commons, a hyper-local news site run by the department, recruited our group to produce databased stories about our Wisconsin metropolis. I plan to really dig into producing data-inspired stories about Madison next year.”

Read more about Emily.