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With great sorrow, NASW announces the death of its president, Laura van Dam, on April 24, 2006, after a long and courageous battle with central nervous system lymphoma.

An independent book editor, Laura spent many years as a senior editor with Houghton-Mifflin, where she specialized in books related to science, technology, medicine, and health. She worked with authors including Natalie Angier (Woman: An Intimate Geography), Daniel Schacter (The Seven Sins of Memory), J. Richard Gott (Time Travel Through Einstein's Universe), and Steve Olson (Mapping Human History, a National Book Award finalist).

Earlier in her career Laura served as a senior editor with the MIT publication Technology Review and as a newspaper reporter.

An NASW member for nearly 20 years, Laura was elected a board member in 1997 and became an officer in 1999. She assumed the responsibilities of NASW president in 2005 after serving as the association's secretary, treasurer, and vice president. Under Laura's leadership, NASW took a more prominent role on the national and international journalism scene through the Council of National Journalism Organizations and World Federation of Science Journalists.

Laura was involved in the planning of, and eventually chaired, the annual NASW workshops. During her presidency, she oversaw the transition of the workshops to an independent, national meeting that further enhanced the reputation of NASW as a professional organization.

Throughout her illness, Laura fulfilled her responsibilities to NASW in the face of overwhelming personal difficulties with courage, determination, generosity, humor, and dignity. She is survived by her husband, Howard Saxner, and son, David Saxner. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at the First Parish Unitarian Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.

Donations may be made in Laura's name to the Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology c/o Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114.

Robert Lee Hotz Acting President

Mariette DiChristina Treasurer

Nancy Shute Secretary

Are you a student or young science writer looking for guidance on how veteran science writers do their jobs? Here's a chance to find out for yourself through the NASW Mentoring at AAAS Program, which matches graduate science writing students and professionals who've been on the science beat for two years or less with established science journalists and public information officers for a day during the AAAS Annual Meeting.