NASW officers, executive board and staff

Curious about the roles of board members, terms, elections and other details or want to run for the board? Read more here.

Elections occur in even years, prior to the fall annual meeting.

Robin Marantz Henig, president

Ron Winslow will be a tough act to follow. As the incoming NASW President, I hope to focus on some of the ongoing projects the organization has mounted in the name of greater diversity, both in our membership and in the science writing profession as a whole. This means making NASW more welcoming to science writers from minority groups, which is the impetus behind the “diversity mixer” we’ll be holding at our annual conference in October. We also hope to mount some outreach efforts to attract more persons of color into the profession, which will include sending NASW delegations to the meetings of groups like the National Association of Black Journalists. Greater diversity also means greater gender diversity, and another goal of my presidency will be to make science writing a safe and professional environment for women. This will be a continuation of work begun at the 2013 annual conference with “The XX Question” panel, which focused on the then-emerging awareness of sexual harassment in the field. That panel led to the next step in this effort, the Solutions Summit 2014: Women in Science Writing, held at MIT in June. I hope to provide leadership to be sure this work continues. With our first-ever all-women slate of officers and an ever-enthusiastic board of directors, I’m looking forward to a really exciting and productive two years!

First elected to the board in 1998

Laura Helmuth, vice president

The most important responsibility of the vice president, who also chairs the programs committee, is to organize the annual NASW workshops for the ScienceWriters conference. I hope to make the annual meeting as useful, productive, and convenient as possible for NASW members. I and the programs committee are planning to experiment with additional NASW events throughout the year and find other ways to serve members who are unable to attend ScienceWriters. I’ve been a board member and member of the programs committee for the past term. I have pushed for better representation of women and minorities in the science writing community, been an advocate for freelancers, and tried to demystify and improve the editor-freelancer relationship. I am the science and health editor for Slate magazine in Washington, D.C. I previously worked as the science editor at Smithsonian magazine and before that as an editor and writer for Science magazine’s news department and ScienceNOW. I have a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley, and went through the UC Santa Cruz science communication program. I have served on the board of the D.C. Science Writers Association and am on the board of advisers for The Open Notebook.

First elected to the board in 2012

Jill Adams, treasurer

I truly believe that one of the great benefits of NASW is sharing stories and strategies for success with other professional science writers. During my first term on the board, I tried to be a voice for science writers who want to take charge of their careers. Whether freelancers or staffers, all of us benefit from having information and resources at the ready via NASW-supported efforts. I’ve contributed to The Science Writers’ Handbook, The Open Notebook, and helped launch the contracts database The Fine Print. I will continue to support creative regional meetings organized by NASW members, often funded by Idea Grants. I’m in favor of efforts to promote international outreach efforts and, at home, to increase the welcoming nature of our community to science writers of all colors, creeds, and genders. A long-term freelancer, I write about health, medicine, and the environment for the Washington Post, Audubon, Nature, Ensia, and Entrepreneur. I’ve been a member of NASW since 2004 and have organized annual meeting workshops and served on the freelance, awards, and programs committees. I would welcome the chance to contribute even more to the future of this organization as a member of the executive board.

First elected to the board in 2012

Deborah Franklin, secretary

I’m a staff science editor and reporter for NPR, based in San Francisco. Over the years I’ve covered science and medicine up and down both coasts in print, online, and for public radio. I got my start in magazines, first interning at Science News, then working as a staff writer and/or editor at Science News, Science ‘86, Hippocrates, Health, and Fortune magazines. I’ve recently worked as a contributing editor (writer) at Scientific American and also have contributed regularly to the New York Times’ personal health column “The Consumer.” As a member of the NASW executive board I am excited about finding new ways to strengthen the ties and the sharing of skills and perspective among new and long-time science writers across media. I’m eager to help talented science writers in every region connect to national and international networks and audiences, and to help ensure that any member or regional group with creative energy and a great idea gets the nurturance and support needed to thrive. Don’t be afraid to contact any member of the board if you have concerns or would like to get more involved but don’t know how. It’s not a cabal, it’s a community, and we need you. We’re all in this together.

First elected to the board in 2010

Board members-at-large

Robert Frederick

Science is communicated now more than ever before thanks to the democratization of the Internet, but in keeping with NASW’s charter to “foster and promote the professional interests of science writers” (emphasis added), I think we can do more to help our members adapt to the rapidly changing media landscape while earning professional rates. I am seeking a position on NASW’s board to work to enhance our member services and professional development programs. A multimedia freelancer with staff experience at Science magazine, American Scientist, and St. Louis Public Radio, I am keenly aware of the constraints that limit staffers and freelancers alike both in adapting to the rapidly changing media landscape and getting properly paid for it. I contributed the chapter on multimedia freelancing in the NASW-sponsored The Science Writers’ Handbook, have hosted workshops on multimedia production at regional and national meetings, participated on panels, and mentored student members. I would like to do more. Having served as board member and treasurer of the D.C. Science Writers Association, on NASW’s programs committee, and currently serving on NASW’s finance and audit committee, I believe I have prepared myself to do more to serve our community. I ask for your vote. Thank you.

Peggy Girshman
Kaiser Health News

Peggy Girshman is an executive editor at Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service covering the practice of medicine, health care policy, health financing and the politics of health care reform. Previously, she was an Executive Editor at Congressional Quarterly. She held a number of jobs at National Public Radio, including deputy senior science editor, deputy national editor, assistant managing editor and, was also one of several managing editors. She served as senior medical producer at Dateline NBC, senior producer at the PBS programs Scientific American Frontiers and Against All Odds: Inside Statistics. She has also worked at local television stations in Washington, D.C., and helped launch a start-up that eventually became New York Times television.

First elected to the board in 2006

Jeff Grabmeier
Ohio State University

Jeff Grabmeier is director of research communications at Ohio State University, where he has worked since 1985. At Ohio State, Jeff is the principal writer covering research in the social sciences, business and humanities. He has three times won the top award for “Research, Medicine and Science Writing” from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Jeff co-chairs the Education Committee of the National Association of Science Writers, and is a past columnist for the association’s newsletter ScienceWriters. In addition, he is the recipient of the Diane McGurgan award for service to NASW. He has done freelance writing for several consumer and college magazines and has written chapters for the books “Soul of the Sky” and “Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Family and Personal Relationships.” In 2009, Jeff was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Before coming to Ohio State, Jeff was a reporter for the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and the Columbus Citizen-Journal. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University and an M.A. in political science from Ohio State.

First elected to the board in 2010

Michael Lemonick
Climate Central

Michael D. Lemonick is the senior writer at Climate Central, a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting nonpartisan science-based information about climate change to policymakers and the general public. Prior to joining Climate Central, he spent nearly 21 years at TIME Magazine, where he wrote more than 50 cover stories on topics ranging from climate change to genomics to particle physics before stepping down as a Senior Science Writer in early 2007. He remains a Contributing Writer at TIME, and also continues to freelance for Discover, Scientific American, National Geographic, Yale E360 and Newsweek and other magazines. Lemonick is the author of four popular books on astronomy, and is working on his fifth, on the search for Earthlike exoplanets. He has taught science and environmental writing at Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and New York Universities. His professional honors include two AAAS-Westinghouse awards for magazine writing; the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, and the Overseas Press Club's Whitney Bassow Award for International Environmental Reporting. He holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College and an M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

First elected to the board in 2010

A'ndrea Messer
Penn State

I believe the association needs strong representation from the public information membership. As assistant systems operator for the website I helped establish the website and two web redesigns. I have created NASW workshops and understand the importance of balancing all segments of the association — PIO, freelance, staff. I have seen the association grow and want to help sustain that growth and move NASW to the next level. I am the senior science and research information officer in Research Communications at Penn State. I was a science writer at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and worked at Bell Labs doing technical writing and on the “History of the Bell System.” In Israel, I edited 11 review journals in chemistry, book translations, and children’s book. I write about engineering, physical sciences, earth and mineral sciences, materials science, and anthropology. I have a B.A. in science & culture (chemistry) from Purdue University, an M.S. in journalism: science communication from Boston University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Penn State. I am a AAAS Fellow. I’m currently on the Internet and PIO committees and have served on the workshop committee.

First elected to the board in 2012

Seth Mnookin

I believe I’d be a valuable addition to the NASW board because my background — as a blogger, staff writer, editor, full-time freelancer, author, and academic — means that regardless of your position, I can probably empathize. The landscape for science writing is evolving so quickly and dramatically that we are constantly forced to address brand-new issues: What are the ethical implications of writing for free? Should a publication’s online work be held to a different standard than its print output — and, for that matter, should a personal blog be considered differently from one written as part of a network? As a board member, I’d help NASW tackle these thorny questions by working to develop recommendations we can use to help guide us through these uncharted waters. My most recent book, The Panic Virus, won the 2012 NASW Science in Society book award, and I’ve written about science for everyplace from Slate and Smithsonian to The New Yorker and Boston Globe. As the associate director of MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing, I’m helping to train the next generation of science journalists. I also am one of the organizers of the Solutions Summit 2014: Women in Science Writing, which grew out of a 2013 NASW workshop session.

First elected to the board in 2014

Dave Mosher
Popular Science

My platform is pretty straightforward: Reinvention amid chaos has defined my science-writing career, and it’s this enterprising spirit that I’d bring to the NASW board. I’m a science and technology journalist and the online director for Popular Science, where I lead the editorial operation that is Prior to that, I worked for or contributed to outlets such as Wired, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic News, Discovery Channel, and My work for these outlets included writing news stories, chasing features, hosting web shows, launching websites, and babysitting astronauts. Then there’s my seven active years of involvement as an NASW member. I’ve repeatedly served as a volunteer in the organization’s student mentorship program at AAAS, pitched annual meeting sessions, lurked the email listservs, and recruited countless newcomers. I know our field from a dizzying variety of angles, and I’m equipped to further push NASW into the future while honoring the core values and standards of our field. I’m counting on your vote to make that happen.

First elected to the board in 2014

Hillary Rosner

I’m a freelance science journalist specializing in the environment, and a 2012 Alicia Patterson Fellow. In 2011, I was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and won a AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award for a story about valiant efforts to save an endangered Colorado River fish. My reporting has taken me around the world, from the Canadian Rockies to Borneo, Iceland to Ethiopia. Over the years, I’ve been a staff writer, an editor, and a full-time freelancer. I write for the New York Times, Wired, National Geographic, Popular Science, Mother Jones, Audubon, OnEarth, High Country News, and many other outlets, and I blog at the PLoS Blogs Network. Over the past several years, I’ve organized panels and workshops for NASW, SEJ, and Science Online. I’m interested in improving science communication broadly, and I’ve led many workshops for scientists on how to present their work and ideas to the media and the public. At a time when nearly half of NASW’s members identify themselves as freelancers, I think it’s crucial to understand freelancers’ unique needs and concerns: financial, technological, psychological. As someone who has successfully navigated that world for more than a decade, as it’s shifted (okay, quaked) beneath our feet, I am ready to contribute to NASW’s leadership.

First elected to the board in 2012

Jill Sakai
University of Wisconsin-Madison

I have been an NASW member since 2006, when I had the dubious honor of being the last of three decades’ worth of AAAS Mass Media Fellows at the Richmond Times- Dispatch. After completing a Ph.D. in neuroscience, I changed my aspirations from science PI to PIO and talked my way into a job as a science writer for UW–Madison University Communications. I recently left after seven years to direct communications for the campus Office of Sustainability, where I do a bit of everything — writing, editing, web, social media, strategy development, media relations, intern management, you name it. My NASW service includes running a workshop at the Raleigh meeting, co-executing and reporting on a survey of social media use among PIOs, assisting with the recent compensation survey, and co-organizing the 2012 Science Writing in the Age of Denial conference in Madison. I am also on the program and PIO committees. If elected to the board, I hope to enhance the diversity of voices within NASW and increase engagement of all segments of the membership. I am skilled at using diplomacy and tact to get things done and will work to increase the value and community of NASW for all members.

First elected to the board in 2014

Brian Switek

Science writer is a polyphyletic term. We’ve converged on the same occupation from an array of backgrounds, creating a collective of journalists, scientists, students, and amateurs whose interests and expertise are as varied as their pathways to becoming science scribes. My own trajectory was of the informal sort. I started blogging about science to give myself the education I wasn’t getting as an undergraduate, and that unremarkable start eventually allowed me to chart my own course to becoming a widely published freelancer, author of the critically praised books Written in Stone and My Beloved Brontosaurus, blogger for National Geographic, and Twitter’s de facto dinosaur expert. Given my background, I’m especially sensitive to the concerns of others who came to science writing from outside the halls of journalism. My personal goal for the NASW board is to be a voice for the impassioned amateurs, former researchers, science students, and others who have taken non-traditional routes to this profession. Furthermore, science writers are no longer scribes alone. Writers frequently use audio, video, and photography to tell stories, too, and I hope to expand the role of NASW in preparing writers to make the most of these storytelling tools.

First elected to the board in 2014

Emily Willingham

If elected to the NASW board, I will engage in two critical areas for science communication. One focus will be promoting a diverse membership that approaches science from historically underrepresented perspectives. This aim involves promoting inclusiveness in NASW, across editorial levels, and in narratives and source selection. As an organizer of the Solutions Summit 2014: Women in Science Writing, funded in part by an Idea Grant, I have made clear my commitment to equality and inclusion for science writers. As founder of Double X Science, an online science magazine for women, I have ensured that we feature a diversity of writers on our site. Another aim is broadening the scope of the communications media we emphasize to include more information and training on data visualization and infographic development, in addition to other tools that are becoming increasingly important to success in a digital world. My science writing career spans two decades, with recent work appearing online at Forbes, New York Times, Scientific American, Discover, and Slate, among others, and selected for inclusion in the Open Lab anthology. I also am co-authoring a science-based parenting book for Penguin’s Perigee Books, slated for 2015, and am a university science writing instructor.

First elected to the board in 2014

Other key NASW personnel

Tinsley Davis, executive director
Organizer, NASW ScienceWriters annual meeting
P.O. Box 7905
Berkeley, CA 94707
Phone: (510) 647-9500

Lynne Friedmann, editor
P.O. Box 1725
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Phone: (858) 793-3537
Fax: (858) 345-3925

Russell Clemings, cybrarian
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, assistant cybrarian
National Association of Science Writers

The cybrarian is NASW's Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) agent.