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NASW Laura van Dam guestbook

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

Laura van Dam

Members who wish to may share their thoughts and experiences about Laura on a special memorial page in the member area (NASW username and password required).

Last chance for dues

Many members still owe 2006 dues. By April 14, we will have entered current paid members info in the database, and then will send it to the Roster for printing. So please check your records and see if you paid. If not, please remit IMMEDIATELY. Do not pay twice — we have no way to refund the money and no way to keep track of it for next year. Please contact Executive Director Diane McGurgan if you have any questions about your status.

Web site redesign debuts March 27

Welcome to the redesigned National Association of Science Writers web site. Besides a fresh look, the new site has a more intuitive menu system, an operable search engine and other improvements. If you're having trouble finding something, try the site map. And if you need to find something on the old page, we'll keep an archived copy here for a few weeks.

NASW Update — Feb. 24, 2006

NASW's new grievance committee, news about the internship fair and mentoring program, the NASW bookstore and web site changes, and other important notices. Read more.

NASW Update, Feb. 24, 2006

NASW's new grievance committee, news about the internship fair and mentoring program, the NASW bookstore and web site changes, and other important notices.

Apply now for Mentoring Program at AAAS

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.

Time to enter Science-in-Society awards

February 1 is the deadline for entering NASW's Science-in-Society awards competition, honoring and encouraging outstanding investigative and interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact for good and ill. Entries must have been published or broadcast in newspapers, magazines, broadcast (television or radio), books and the web between June 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2005. Details.

Join NASW in Baltimore this October

Make plans now to attend NASW's annual meeting in Baltimore, Oct. 27-31, 2006. Program information and registration will be available in August.

Rate increase for NASW job ads

Starting Jan. 1, 2006, advertisements on NASW's online jobs service, NASW-jobs, are $100 for full-time and part-time permanent positions, or contract jobs of more than six months' duration. Ads for freelance assignments remain free. All postings are archived on the NASW member web site after being sent via e-mail to the almost 1,000 NASW-jobs subscribers. To place an ad, send it in an email to with a copy to and include billing information and the work site, if applicable.