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.

  • Diversity Committee
  • Freelance Committee
  • Information Access Committee

    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 no later than March 15 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 March 15 with your interest and questions.

    This opportunity not open to NASW Affiliate Members

    Freelance Committee

    The Freelance Committee is looking for an enthusiastic Project Volunteer to serve as Zoom tech and backup moderator for future Freelance Committee virtual events. This team organizes professional development panels such as "Virtual Business Chat: Taxes and the Freelance Science Writer" and "Virtual Business Chat: Retirement Planning and the Freelance Science Writer”, as well as virtual networking socials. This volunteer will collaborate with NASW member volunteers Jennifer Huber and Ellen Kuwana in making sure each virtual event runs smoothly — by starting the Zoom meeting, running Zoom controls and jumping in as host if necessary. We estimate this to be a ~2-hour commitment each month. Volunteers should be well versed in running Zoom Meetings and moderating events — or willing to learn.

    For more details, contact Jennifer Huber at sciencehuber@gmail.com and Ellen Kuwana at info@ellenkuwana.com

    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 2022 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.