Ways to volunteer

NASW is an organization that relies on the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers. As volunteers, members can help shape programming as part of a committee or working group, lead or contribute to projects and programs, or run for the board. NASW member volunteers are recognized each year in our ScienceWriters member magazine, as well as via our annual Diane McGurgan Volunteer Service Awards. Thank you to all who contribute and help NASW reflect the needs and interests of members.

Below is a list of currently open calls for volunteers.

Awards Committee

The NASW Awards Committee is seeking volunteer judges for the Science in Society Journalism Awards and Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards. Please fill out this Google Form no later than Wednesday, March 27, 2024, to express your interest. This year, we are pleased to offer $25 coupons to the selected volunteer judges, which can be applied towards your 2025 membership renewal or registration for ScienceWriters2024. Judging details are below.

  • Judges, Science in Society Journalism Awards: Teams of 3-6 judges will review screened entries in a single awards category. After each individual reads and scores assigned entries, the team will work together to select finalists. Entries are accessed and scored using an online platform. Judges may correspond via email and will typically deliberate via conference call (~1 hour) to make their final selections. Final selections must be submitted to the Awards committee by Friday, June 14.

  • Judges, Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards: Teams of 3-5 judges will review screened entries in a single awards category. After each individual reads and scores assigned entries, the team will work together to select a winner and honorable mentions. Entries are accessed and scored using an online platform. Judges may correspond via email and will typically deliberate via conference call (~1 hour) to make their final selections. These selections and a quote about the winning piece must be submitted to the EIWA award coordinator by August 15.

Questions? Please contact NASW Awards Committee Co-Chairs Aparna Vidyasagar and Jill Sakai via awards@nasw.org

This opportunity is open to all NASW member categories.

Diversity Committee

The NASW Diversity Committee is recruiting several positions: a new committee co-chair, along with coordinators for its core projects.

Committee Co-Chair: Ready to take your NASW community participation to the next level? Want to help administer NASW’s diversity grants, fellowships, and develop new programs related to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility? Then join the NASW Diversity Committee alongside co-chair Nicholas St. Fleur!

All NASW committees play a crucial role in helping NASW’s Board of Directors stay on top of emerging issues facing the NASW membership and/or the wider landscape of science writing professionals and professions. The Diversity committee’s initiatives are intended to support writers from underrepresented communities and bring new professionals into the field. Current projects include the Diversity Summer Fellowships program, which supplements internship stipends in order to lower a financial barrier to pursuing a career in science journalism, the annual Diversity Mixer to welcome and celebrate underrepresented minorities attending the annual ScienceWriters conference, the “Diverse Voices in Science Journalism” series partnership with The Open Notebook, and the Diversity Reporting Grants each winter. Diversity Committee members also work with the NASW Board and other committees across the organization to assess, recommend, and track processes that measure NASW’s organizational responsibilities to create an inclusive and welcoming professional community.

Co-chairs each typically volunteer about 60 hours across over the course of a year on tasks such as:

  • Setting an annual calendar for the committee, including scheduling meetings and setting up program timelines (at minimum quarterly meetings)
  • Running committee meetings that develop a sense of community among members
  • Communicating with committee members regularly outside of meetings
  • Communicating with NASW board and staff regarding the committee’s activities and needs (e.g. budget requests, communications, etc.)
  • Recruiting program coordinators, new committee members, strategizing new projects as needed to support the committee’s mission

Committee chairships are not subject to set terms, but leaders are encouraged to serve a minimum of two years. Onboarding guides will be provided. Any interested NASW members should inquire, regardless of profession or career level. Email diversity@nasw.org with your interest and questions.

This opportunity not open to NASW Affiliate Members

Program Coordinator, Diversity Summer Fellowship: Within NASW committees, program coordinators take the lead on specific projects. For the NASW Diversity Committee, this coordinator will specifically oversee planning, solicitation, and selection of our NASW Diversity Summer Fellows. The coordinator’s tasks include:

  • By February 15 of each year: Work with the committee to write the call for applications and submit to NASW staff for posting. Updating the application and review criteria in Submittable platform
  • During February and March: Help answer the occasional question from potential applicants; plan the review process and recruit reviewers.
  • Between April 1 and May 15: Manage the review process via Submittable, then notify selected recipients, and communicate results to the Executive Director (the ED will manage grant agreements, reporting, and finances with recipients).
  • May 15 - September 15: Check in with grantees, and help them network with alumni and other NASW members; assess program improvements with committee co-chairs

Volunteer time commitment is estimated around 20 hours, concentrated between early February through early May. Coordinators are expected to serve a minimum of one year, though two years is encouraged. Any interested NASW members should inquire, regardless of profession or career level — and those with team/project management experience are especially encouraged. Email diversity@nasw.org no later than January 10 with your interest and questions.

This opportunity not open to NASW Affiliate Members

Education Committee

The NASW Education Committee welcome member volunteers throughout the year for its marquee programs, such as the NASW Student Programs at the AAAS Annual Meetings, the NASW Perlman Virtual Mentoring Program in summer, and SciWriMentoring at the annual ScienceWriters conference.

Volunteer Mentors for NASW Student Programming at 2024 AAAS Annual Meeting: Science writers who would like to volunteer and be matched with a mentee during the AAAS Annual Meeting weekend should sign up as a mentor ahead of Feb. 15. NASW membership not required to participate, but all participants must adhere to the NASW Meeting Code of Conduct. Mentors will need to be present during the Friday, Feb. 16 meeting for mentors and mentees. Time and location to be updated here. (NOTE: If you are interested in mentoring but will not be present in Denver, we welcome virtual connections this coming week. Please contact Ashley and Czerne to be matched.)

Contact NASW Education Committee co-chairs Ashley Yeager and Czerne Reid at education@nasw.org for any questions. Visit this year’s NASW-at-AAAS programming announcement for more context and background.

This opportunity is not open to NASW Affiliate Members.

Finance Committee

The NASW Finance and Audit Committee assists with NASW’s financial oversight, including the annual audit, budget preparation, and other fiscal obligations. Volunteers with this committee gain deep context for NASW’s operations and strategic planning — positioning them well to serve as candidates for future NASW board elections (especially officer positions) or as co-chairs of NASW committees.

The Finance Committee is currently seeking new members! Whether you love numbers and spreadsheets and financial projections, have strategic management experience with your day job or local club, or are interested in helping ensure the financial health of our organization, we’d love your volunteer energy and expertise.

This committee currently meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 1 PM Eastern Time (first meeting is Feb. 22). Time commitment is expected to be about 1-2 hours each month, with an increase in time commitment to about 4 hours per month during April, May, and June — which is NASW’s budget planning season and requires members to assess and provide feedback on budget requests from various NASW committees. Members will receive onboarding guidance from the NASW treasurer and NASW executive director.

To nominate yourself for the NASW Finance Committee, please send a short statement of interest and your experience to NASW treasurer Shraddha Chakradhar at treasurer@nasw.org by Wednesday, Feb. 21.

This opportunity is not open to NASW Affiliate Members.

Information Access Committee

Do you want to improve how public scientific information is shared with the public? If so, please consider joining the NASW Information Access Committee.

COVID-19, climate change, and other scientific issues dominate the news. The need for the public to understand how science agencies function, make decisions, conduct and interpret research, and interact with the press has never been greater.

In the past few years, the Information Access Committee has brought together journalists and PIOs for an "Information Access Summit." At the summit, we drafted, then published a set of information access standards to guide interactions between journalists, PIOs and sources at federal agencies. We’ve surveyed NASW members about challenges faced when accessing government sources and experiences accessing and sharing public information, authored numerous letters that called for greater transparency and access to government experts and sources, and assisted members with FOIA requests.

We are currently developing our plans for 2023 and beyond and would love to have your help to advance this important cause.

All NASW members, including journalists, PIOs, and other science communication professionals, are encouraged to join. No specific experience is necessary; the only requirement is a strong commitment to transparency and a belief that public information should be public. Please email infoaccess@nasw.org to join or if you have questions about the committee.

This opportunity not open to NASW Affiliate Members

Annual Volunteer Calls

Some volunteer needs follow a rough annual pattern. Watch the website for volunteer calls during these times:

Questions? Contact aed@nasw.org

Committee chairs: Are you in need of volunteers for your committee or help with a special project? Write up a call and send it to aed@nasw.org for posting here.