For more than 20 years, Nell Lake has reported on, analyzed, and written intimate narrative about American social issues, focusing on health, healthcare, and medicine. Her book, The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love, chronicles two years in the lives of people caring for ill and elderly family members (Scribner 2014; paperback 2015). Since the fall of 2016, Nell has been pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Brown, focusing on “women’s work” and care, and the social and moral issues in health and healthcare. She holds an American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women and is a research associate with the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.
Nell was founding editor of the Nieman Narrative Digest, now called Nieman Storyboard, at Harvard University. She has received journalism fellowships from the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University and from the Gerontological Society of America. She has taught courses in American Studies, journalism, and writing at Smith College, UMass-Amherst, Brown University, and other institutions. Nell holds a BA in cultural anthropology from Smith and a MA in American Studies from Brown.
Nell’s dissertation and next book is tentatively titled “Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid: Race and the Moral Politics of ‘Women’s Work’ in America.” This ambitious project uses both journalism and archival research to examine how women’s work is shaped by race, examining the history of white women’s care and domesticity in relation to the care labors of women of color.
When not pursuing such serious matters, Nell loves making music with her husband and two sons, hiking with her dog and biking with friends. She has practiced mindfulness meditation and yoga for most of her adult life.