NASW volunteers get the job done

NASW relies on the dedication and hard work of volunteers throughout the year. Without the time and effort of these members, NASW’s programming, member resources, awards, grants, and mentorship opportunities wouldn’t exist. In 2019, more than 300 volunteers served on 13 active committees, in addition to the volunteer Board. We’ve highlighted some of their accomplishments below.

If you are interested in serving on an NASW committee, learn more or email

The Awards Committee administered NASW’s writing award programs, which presented five Science in Society Journalism Awards and two Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards at the ScienceWriters2019 meeting on Oct. 26, 2019.

The Diversity Committee published nine "Diverse Voices" pieces, in collaboration with The Open Notebook, highlighting the experiences and expertise of science writers from underrepresented communities.

The Education Committee held a 10th anniversary celebration for the NASW Undergraduate Travel Fellows program, which has supported 139 students’ travel to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. Also at the 2019 AAAS meeting, committee members matched 43 graduate and undergraduate students with NASW volunteer mentors and facilitated internship meetings for more than 60 students.

The Finance Committee met monthly to review NASW’s finances and in May proposed a budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2019. The Committee had prepared for an extremely tight year until a last-minute Authors Coalition distribution allowed it to propose continuing most of NASW’s valuable programming.

The Freelance Committee continued to manage NASW's grievance partnership with the National Writers Union, and at least 35 NASW members applied for discounted membership, while another nine applied for grievance help. The committee also managed another successful Power Pitch session at the NASW meeting, and it investigated both group health insurance and media liability insurance for freelancers.

The Governance Committee helped develop two bylaws amendment proposals that passed in October, revising the text of Articles VII and IX of the NASW bylaws to change the process by which members may be sanctioned and the process of reintroducing bylaws amendments that have previously failed. The committee also recommended a more structured review process for the executive director and adding a student liaison to the Board, both of which are in progress.

The Grants Committee awarded Peggy Girshman Idea Grants totaling $25,100 to three projects: the LegalEye legal research service, an improv workshop for science writers, and an expansion of the quarterly Best Shortform Science Writing awards program.

The Information Access Committee developed NASW's Information Access Standards, which the Board approved in March. The committee also submitted a formal response to the Interior Department's proposed FOIA regulation changes.

The Internet Committee put together a 16-page report to help NASW update policies regarding online engagement and online communities, such as making most of the online discussion lists members-only.

The Membership Committee worked to secure NASW’s growth by identifying and securing new member benefits and discounts as well as working with an outside analyst to understand changes in membership and identify new ways to recruit and retain members.

The Nominating Committee organized a special election to fill a midterm vacancy on the Board, in which Jennifer Cox was elected as an at-large Board member.

The PIO Committee began work on new content for the NASW website, a survey delineating types of PIO work members do, and a guidance document on PIO best practices.

The Programs Committee compiled a slate of two pre-conference workshops, 13 concurrent sessions and a plenary discussion, selected from 45 proposals, for the ScienceWriters2019 meeting, which attracted 545 attendees to State College, Pa., between Oct. 25–29, 2019.

Hero image by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash.

Jan. 13, 2020

Drexel University Online