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Charles Michael Ray grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota on the banks of Boxelder Creek downstream from the town of Nemo.
He began working for SDPB Radio as a reporter in 1992 at the age of 19. He worked his way through college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and received a degree in Geology in 1997. He then worked as a freelance journalist in the Czech capital of Prague, covering major stories in Central Europe. After a year overseas he returned home to continue his work at SDPB-Radio and to get back to the Black Hills.
Over the years his work has been recognized with numerous awards and fellowships. He's won two national Edward R. Murrow awards and a National Scripps Howard News Service award. In 2006 Ray was a finalist in the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. In 2009 he was selected as a Logan Science Journalist Polar Fellow, he spent three weeks above the Arctic Circle at a scientific research station reporting on the impacts of climate change. He has won 20 regional Murrow Awards since 2004 and over 40 awards from the Associated Press since 1993.
Ray and his wife Andrea live in Rapid City. He still enjoys spending time at the family home in the Black Hills. He's an avid whitewater kayaker and also enjoys ice hockey, mountain unicycling, backpacking, and several other outdoor activities.
Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.
Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.
This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.
During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.
In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.
The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.
Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.