NASW invites students, mentors for the Perlman Virtual Mentoring Program in science writing this summer

This summer, the Education Committee of the National Association of Science Writers is once again offering its virtual mentoring program for graduate and undergraduate students. NASW invites students and volunteer mentors to sign up to participate by 11:59 PM Pacific Time, June 23, 2023.

Named for the late journalist and former NASW president David Perlman, the NASW Perlman Virtual Mentoring Program pairs students with science writing mentors for career guidance and support, and the opportunity to research and write a science news article and receive feedback from editors. Student participants get their work published in the NASW Student Newsroom and entered into NASW’s Summer Writing Awards. When the program was last offered in 2021, more than 85 students were matched with mentors. Students produced stories on a variety of topics, from the welfare of farmed fish to NASA’s DAVINCI+ mission to Venus. Several students also had their work published in major news outlets, including National Geographic, Scientific American and Popular Science.

During sign-up, students are asked to specify whether they would simply like the opportunity to meet with a mentor and ask questions — or if they wish to work with a mentor to develop a story for possible publication in the Student Newsroom; submit a pitch for consideration by other news outlets; and enter to win one of three $500 Summer Writing Awards. Mentors will be asked during signup whether they also wish to serve as editors for their assigned mentees.

Students and mentors will get together for a 75-minute kickoff event on Wednesday, June 28, 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Eastern Time. This will include a special presentation by invited speakers as well as the chance for mentors and mentees to meet with each other one-on-one. Mentors and students will then make their own plans for any future meetings or communications. Mentors of those students who choose to write a reported piece will be responsible for submitting the student's work to the online portal using the provided link, no later than Aug. 16. Detailed guidelines and suggested intermediate deadlines will be provided to participating students and mentors.

Student Applicants: Sign up here by June 23. Applicants must join NASW as a Student Member by June 23 to be eligible for participation. (The mentoring program itself is free of charge.)

Mentor Applicants: Sign up here by June 23. NASW membership is required to participate.

Confirmation of program participation, as well as additional details, will be sent to mentors and mentees before the kickoff event.

Questions? Contact NASW Education Committee Co-Chairs Czerne Reid and Ashley Yeager and Perlman Program Coordinator Courtney Gorman at Thank you to Czerne, Ashley, Courtney, and other NASW member volunteers who spearhead our student programming year after year. And tag #SciWriStudent in your social media posts to join the conversation.

The NASW Perlman Virtual Mentoring program is named for longtime science writer and past NASW President David Perlman. Dave, who died in 2020 at the age of 101 only three years after his retirement from the San Francisco Chronicle, was a mentor to countless members of the science writing community and always made time for kind and supportive words, especially for early career writers.

Founded in 1934 with a mission to fight for the free flow of science news, NASW is an organization of ~ 2,500 professional journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. To learn more, visit