Get to know: The Diversity Committee

A headshot of Jane Lee

Jane Lee

In each issue of ScienceWriters, we feature one of NASW’s many volunteer-led committees as a refresher on their role and ongoing efforts on behalf of our member community. Here, we speak with Jane Lee and Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, co-chairs of the Diversity Committee.

What does the Diversity Committee do? Our mission is to enhance diversity in science journalism by supporting writers from underrepresented communities, and by bringing new members into the fold. We do this in several ways, including providing monetary support for writers from underrepresented communities who are getting their start in the field, and running the @CultureDish Twitter account—which aims to cultivate diversity in science writing.

What are some examples of your recent discussions and initiatives? Before the COVID-19 pandemic, our committee had been discussing a study akin to the Byline Project (bit.ly/byline- project), which looked at gender disparities in science-journalism bylines, to examine other forms of authorship diversity, including race and ethnicity. However, faced with the unprecedented disruption of the pandemic, our members wanted to help the science writing community. So we’ve been discussing shifting our finances to provide funds to support science writers and diversity.

A headshot of Rodrigo Pérez Ortega

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega

Who should volunteer for the Diversity Committee, and why? Anyone with an interest in supporting the wider science writing community! Our members are enthusiastic, supportive, and always willing to learn and grow. Fresh ideas on how we can expand our efforts to achieve a more diverse community are welcomed!

Jane Lee is a media relations specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Rodrigo Pérez Ortega is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter at Quanta Magazine.

Reach them at diversity@nasw.org.

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