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.
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.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, Nell is a research associate with the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.
Nell’s dissertation and next book is tentatively titled “Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid: The Enduring Moral Politics of ‘Women’s Work’ in America.” This ambitious project uses both journalism and archival research to examine women’s work and care, with particular attention to race, including white domesticity and the paid care labor of women of color.
When not pursuing such serious matters, Nell loves making music with her husband and two sons, hiking with her labradoodle and biking with friends. She has practiced mindfulness meditation and yoga for most of her adult life.