Mentors needed for 2011 AAAS meeting

Attention NASW members: We need your help grooming the next generation of science writers.

The NASW Education Committee is again sponsoring the annual mentoring program at the AAAS meeting in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-21, and we need volunteers to act as the mentors. The program matches a veteran journalist or public information officer with a student in a graduate science writing program or an undergraduate student who has displayed a serious interest in science journalism. We expect a larger than normal turnout of students this year in D.C., so we're hoping that the science-writing community will respond to help these students navigate the meeting successfully.

Here's what being a mentor involves: Fill out the application below, noting your availability at the AAAS meeting and your background, and we'll assign a student to you before the meeting starts. Then, all mentors and mentees who can make it will gather for an orientation session at the AAAS meeting on Friday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. If you can't make that gathering, simply contact your mentee in advance and arrange when to meet.

Mentors have traditionally had their mentee shadow them for day or half-day, showing them how they select talks and press conferences for coverage. But your involvement is totally up to you; if you prefer, you can have lunch or breakfast with your mentee and being available for questions throughout the meeting, or find some other way to help. So don't be shy about volunteering — we particularly need staff journalists; we also welcome PIOs and freelance writers, who have made up the majority of our mentors in past years.

More than 400 people have participated in the program in the past, and many former mentees are now regular mentors because they found the program so helpful. Let's keep that tradition going.

Thanks in advance for your support!

And just a note to students who want to apply for the mentorship program: Please be patient. We will send out an application on NASW Announce very soon, once we have an idea about how many mentors we will have.

Jeff Grabmeier and Rob Irion, NASW Education Committee Co-chairs

Here's a brief form that will help us match you with a new science writer with similar interests to your own. Just copy it and paste it into a new e-mail, fill it out and e-mail it to mentor@nasw.org. Please do not send attachments.

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YES! I'LL BE A MENTOR!!

Name: _________________________________

Affiliation: __________________________

Phone: ________________________________

E-mail: _______________________________

My preferred days to mentor are: ___Fri ___Sat ___Sun

Current position and responsibilities:

Science field(s) of particular interest:

Will you be filing stories from the annual meeting or working media conferences?

Briefly, my background is (include educational training, a summary of positions held, etc.):

Have you been a mentor before? If so, when?