Virtual mentorship program connects students with mentors

A virtual summer mentoring program launched by NASW’s Education Committee this year gave NASW student members an opportunity for mentorship and professional development they may otherwise have missed out on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 100 graduate and undergraduate students signed up for the program. Each participant was paired with an NASW member who served as a mentor. Participants attended three professional development seminars and had opportunities to publish a short science news story or broadcast piece on nasw.org or at another media outlet.

In June, following the death of veteran science writer and longtime NASW member David Perlman, the new program was officially renamed The David Perlman Virtual Mentoring Program. Perlman, who died on June 19 at the age of 101, was a mentor to countless members of the science writing community and was especially supportive to early career writers.

“It was clear from the overwhelming response that we tapped into a real need,” said Czerne Reid, co-chair of the NASW Education Committee and a lecturer at the University of Florida. “We’re so grateful to all the volunteer mentors who made it possible for us to provide this opportunity for connection and mentoring for our student members.”

The professional development sessions kicked off with “SciWri101,” with Rob Irion, director emeritus of the UC Santa Cruz SciCom program, followed by a session on pitching, and a discussion on misinformation and fact checking.

“These sessions helped fill gaps in training that the students would normally receive during an internship,” said Ashley Yeager, co-chair of the NASW Education Committee and associate editor at The Scientist.

Sep. 8, 2020