Rebecca Hersher | KERA News

Rebecca Hersher

Rebecca Hersher is a reporter on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research. Since coming to NPR in 2011, she has covered the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, embedded with the Afghan army after the American combat mission ended, and reported on floods and hurricanes in the U.S. She's also reported on research about puppies. Before her work on the Science Desk, she was a producer for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered in Los Angeles.

Hersher was part of the NPR team that won a Peabody award for coverage of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and produced a story from Liberia that won an Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound. She was a finalist for the 2017 Daniel Schorr prize; a 2017 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting fellow, reporting on sanitation in Haiti; and a 2015 NPR Above the Fray fellow, investigating the causes of the suicide epidemic in Greenland.

Prior to working at NPR, Hersher reported on biomedical research and pharmaceutical news for Nature Medicine.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is looking into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer system, after the website WikiLeaks published thousands of internal emails on the eve of the party's convention.

How WikiLeaks obtained the emails is unclear.

The water supply for communities in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is threatened by an oil spill that dumped an estimated 66,000 gallons of heavy oil, along with natural gas used to dilute it, into a major river.

The pipeline that broke is owned by Husky Energy Inc. The site of last Thursday's leak is within 1,000 feet of the North Saskatchewan River.

Updated 9:40 p.m. ET with evacuees being allowed back

Authorities are permitting the return of many of the 20,000 residents who were ordered to evacuate areas threatened by the Sand Fire north of Los Angeles.

It's really hot in most of the mainland United States right now. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the triple digits through the weekend in much of the South, Midwest and along the East Coast.

The culprit: a "heat dome."

It's a real meteorological event — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration even took the time to define it in the agency's warning this week:

Facebook just announced the first full-scale test flight of its unmanned, high-altitude airplane, Aquila. The plane isn't finished yet — the 90-minute test flight assessed only its takeoff and low-altitude flying capabilities — but its ultimate goal is to provide wireless Internet to the ground as it flies.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shared a video of the test flight.

The government of Peru has declared a state of emergency in the southern Andes after brutally low temperatures killed tens of thousands of alpacas, according to The Associated Press.

The government is promising $3 million in relief to farmers in the region, who live at or around 15,000 feet above sea level and raise the animals, relying on money from selling their lightweight wool.

The Justice Department is suing to block two proposed mergers between major health insurance companies, saying the deals violate antitrust laws and would lead to higher health care costs for Americans.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained the decision at a press conference:

Administrators at Phillips Exeter Academy acknowledge that the prep school failed to respond adequately when a student was accused of sexual assault, and was assigned an "act of penance" that included baking and delivering bread to the girl he allegedly assaulted.

A journalist for a Ukrainian investigative news website and host of a popular radio talk show was assassinated Wednesday morning by a bomb inside the car he was driving to work in Kiev.

Updated at 10:00 am:

A coup attempt by factions in the Turkish military crumbled Saturday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his way to Istanbul and his government began reestablishing control after a long night of widespread violence.

"The people have taken to the streets and voiced their support for democracy," the acting head of the military, Gen. Umit Dundar, said at a news conference Saturday. "The nation will never forget this betrayal."

Updated 4:00 a.m. ET Friday:

The French interior minister says 84 people have been killed. The four new reported deaths are thought to come from the list of critically injured.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET Thursday:

A truck drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing dozens of people on Thursday evening. The French interior minister says 80 people have been killed and 18 are in critical condition.

The 2016 Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning in Los Angeles. The full list of nominations is here.

Although HBO's hit Veep received the most comedy nominations, the ABC show Black-ish was nominated in three top categories, including best comedy series and best lead actor and actress in a comedy series.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Please do not catch virtual monsters among the graves of fallen soldiers.

This is the message from authorities at Arlington National Cemetery, aimed at those who might use the hit mobile game Pokémon Go at the cemetery.

President Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke at an interfaith memorial service this afternoon for the five police officers murdered in Dallas last week.

Bush, a resident of Dallas, noted that he interacts with law enforcement every day.

"We're proud of the men we mourn," he said.

Tim Duncan, the long-time star of the San Antonio Spurs, announced today that he is retiring. He helped the team win five NBA titles since he joined the franchise in 1997.

Duncan's reserved personality kept him largely out of the spotlight, despite his consistently stellar performances with the Spurs, who made the playoffs every year that Duncan played for the team. Duncan was voted most valuable player five times, two of them regular-season M.V.P. awards and three others for his performances in NBA finals.

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET with names of the victims and gunman

Two bailiffs were killed and a deputy sheriff was wounded in a shooting Monday afternoon at a courthouse in southwestern Michigan, according to Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey.

The gunman was shot and killed. The deputy sheriff was in stable condition, as was one civilian who was also wounded.

Bailey said the shooting took place on the third floor of the courthouse in St. Joseph, about 40 miles from the border with Indiana.

At least 25 people have died in clashes between militants and the Indian Army in the Himalayan region of Kashmir since Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Most of those killed were protesters, who took to the streets after the death of Burhan Wani, the young and charismatic leader of the region's largest rebel militia, Hizbul Mujahideen. Wani was killed by Indian security forces in a shootout on Friday, according to the AP.

It's Day 3 of the Wimbledon tennis championships, and there's already a controversial new star: a Nike dress.

The dress, which Nike provided to players it pays to wear its apparel, is "designed for incredible cooling and comfort," according to the company. But some athletes are finding that the loose, short garment gets in the way of what they came to do: play aggressive tennis.

As the water recedes in West Virginia, residents are taking stock of their losses. At least 23 people died in massive floods that swept across the southeastern part of the state on Friday.

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A German court sentenced 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning to five years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people between January 1942 and June 1944, when he served as an SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

More than 1 million people were systematically murdered at the camp during World War II. Almost all of them were Jewish.

Temperatures are expected to reach potentially lethal levels this weekend in parts of the Southwest and the Plains. Forecasters say major cities including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson, as well as parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, will reach highs above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

A judge has rejected a lawsuit filed by Texas officials who want to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.

The suit claimed the Obama administration had not adequately consulted with states before placing the refugees. In his decision, signed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Godbey ruled that the state has no authority over resettlements handled by the federal government, which has authority over immigration policy.

Godbey also found the state had failed to present plausible evidence that Syrian refugees pose an imminent risk.

This is what passes for good news about coral reefs these days: Around the world, some reefs aren't dying as quickly as scientists thought they would.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox spoke on Monday evening at a vigil in Salt Lake City to honor the people killed and wounded in the weekend shooting at an Orlando gay club. Cox, a Republican, struggled to keep his voice from breaking as he apologized for bullying gay people in the past.

Oscar Pistorius reached out a hand to steady himself as he walked across the South African High Court room on the stumps of his amputated legs.

Lawyers for the former track star, nicknamed "blade runner" for his speed and double-prostheses, are trying to demonstrate that Pistorius is severely disabled and deserves a more lenient murder sentence than the 15-year minimum term for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013.

Confused about the word Eskimo?

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