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CASW launches website to showcase great science writing

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing announces the launch of CASW Showcase (, a website that provides an up-close look at award-winning science journalism to provide inspiration and insight to science writers, especially those who are learning the craft.

“CASW celebrates excellence in our profession,” said CASW President Alan Boyle. “Each year, dozens of science writers donate their time to awards programs, combing through publications, websites and broadcasts to find examples of exceptional reporting and writing about science and its impact on society. We want to amplify the impact of those programs, celebrate great science journalism and provide a resource for everyone who aspires to be a great science writer.”

CASW board members and other senior science writers will serve as curators for the site, selecting exemplars from among recent winners of science journalism competitions. Over time, Showcase will become an in-depth archive for many different reports, showing how award-winning journalists have tackled the challenge of writing compelling stories about science for diverse audiences.

Features planned for Showcase include:

 Storygrams, or “story diagrams,” which are professional annotations of great stories to highlight how writers have tackled the challenges of covering science. Six Storygrams per year will be produced through a collaboration of CASW and The Open Notebook, which will co-publish them and add an author interview.

  • A calendar showing the deadlines for, and the announcements from, award programs for science writing. 
  • A blog, “The Envelope, Please,” which will provide site updates, news and commentary from the world of science writing awards.
  • A Suggestion Box inviting nominations of award-winning science writing from all over.

Initially Showcase will present, with permission, selected stories that have been published since 2013 and honored by either CASW’s awards programs or three other science writing competitions: the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in cooperation with the Kavli Foundation; the Science in Society Journalism Awards, presented by the National Association of Science Writers; and the Keck Futures Initiative Communication Awards, presented by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with the support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. CASW presents the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting and manages the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid said Showcase will broaden its collection over time to include other awards programs and work selected for science-writing anthologies. As funding and technology allow, CASW hopes to add multimedia, stories that have won awards outside the U.S., and writing in languages other than English.

Freelance science journalist Shannon Hall has managed the development of the site and will serve as Showcase’s editor and blogger. Hall holds a master’s degree in astronomy from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University. She freelances for Scientific American, Discover, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and other publications.

The project took flight after the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded CASW a three-year, $90,000 grant in December 2015. Additional support has come from an initiative called PressForward, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and additional contributions to CASW. Showcase uses PressForward software to facilitate the judging, selection and republishing process.

Showcase is the brainchild of CASW’s immediate past president, Cristine Russell, who advocated a larger role for CASW as a provider of resources for science journalism and communication. During strategic planning in 2014, CASW’s board focused on the needs of aspiring and student science writers. The board asked Reid and CASW’s Next Horizons Committee, chaired by freelance writer Betsy Mason, to develop a site that would provide examples of great science writing for this audience.

“Showcasing prize-winning science journalism can help those entering the field, as well as more experienced writers. There is no magic formula for what makes a great science story. But reading and dissecting some of the best articles can help inspire better science journalism,” said Russell.

About CASW

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing is committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. Directed and advised by distinguished journalists and scientists, CASW develops and funds programs that encourage accurate and informative writing about developments in science, technology, medicine and the environment. CASW was incorporated in 1959 as a nonprofit educational organization.

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Published July 12, 2016

For more information:





Environment, space, privacy on tap for 56th New Horizons in Science

From the climate impact of massive hydroelectric dams in Amazonia to the future of the space program, critical decisions for society top the program for the 56th edition of CASW's New Horizons in Science briefings, scheduled to take place Oct. 14-15, 2018 on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC.

This year's program will be part of ScienceWriters2018, the annual conference presented jointly by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers. The conference begins Friday, Oct. 12 with preconference activities and a welcome reception given by GW, the 2018 host institution. NASW will present its annual workshop program on Oct. 13, and tours and other activities organized by GW—including the popular Lunch with a Scientist—will take place Oct. 15-16. Registration for the meeting continues through Oct. 1 at

Program Director Rosalind Reid drew on the host institution's strengths in archaeology, neuroscience and public health in building this year's program of research briefings. In addition, the program will feature a record four special "science + science writing" sessions, delving into issues on the interface between science writing and the research community it covers. These sessions will consider two anniversaries: the 20th anniversary of the isolation of human embryonic stem cells, and the 50th anniversary of the moment when Apollo astronauts first left earth's atmosphere and headed for the moon. A third looks at the special challenges of communicating quantum physics to the public.

The fourth special session focuses on Brazil's ambitious program to build enormous hydroelectric dams throughout Amazonia (photograph: the Jirau dam during construction in 2014, courtesy Divulgação / Outubro 2012: Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento Brazil), an effort that is reshaping the region and will most likely alter global climate patterns. That session is part of a focus on Latin America that continues a theme from the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, jointly organized by NASW and CASW and held in place of the regular U.S. conference in 2017. Special travel support for Latin American and Caribbean journalists, carried over from WCSJ2017, will bring a dozen writers to Washington as ScienceWriters2018 International Travel Fellows.

"Meeting in Washington, D.C. gives us an opportunity to present a program that is especially topical, policy-relevant and international," Reid said. "There will be plenty of 'hard' science stories to dig into, but we will devote equal time to hard questions facing science, society and science journalism today. The participation of colleagues from throughout the hemisphere will help us frame those questions in an international context and broaden our perspective. I'm looking forward to a large and exciting conference."

Other topics on the 2018 science program include differential privacy, the algorithmic technique that is coming into wide use to protect personal data; lessons being learned from the current eruption of Kilauea; and the new understanding of the historic and economic impact of the slave trade that is emerging as maritime archaeologists examine wrecked slave ships.

Schedule details and conference registration are online at 


Abre el proceso de aplicación para becas de viaje regional para asistir a ScienceWriters2018

English version 

Se invita a escritores de ciencia de América Latina y el Caribe a solicitar becas de viaje regionales para asistir a ScienceWriters2018, una conferencia que se realizará del 12 al 16 de octubre en Washington, DC.

Las becas de viaje permitirán que hasta 12 escritores científicos de la región se unan a sus colegas estadounidenses en la conferencia anual, que combina talleres de desarrollo profesional organizados por la Asociación Nacional de Escritores Científicos (NASW) con New Horizons in Science, sesiones sobre los últimos avances de la ciencia, presentadas por el Consejo para el Avance de la Escritura de la Ciencia (CASW).  La reunión ScienceWriters2018 se llevará a cabo en la Universidad George Washington, institución anfitriona del evento.

Las solicitudes de becas se pueden enviar hasta el 17 de julio utilizando este formulario en línea

Apoyar el periodismo científico en América Latina y el Caribe fue un objetivo especial de WCSJ2017, que incluyó un taller previo a la conferencia de un día de duración y becas de viaje patrocinadas por la Fundación Ealy Ortiz, con sede en México. Las becas que se otorgarán en este 2018 están destinadas a continuar apoyando la creación de redes y el desarrollo profesional en toda la región y para fortalecer los vínculos entre las asociaciones en los EE. UU. y otras partes del hemisferio.

Durante la convocatoria de propuestas para ScienceWriters2018, los organizadores dieron la bienvenida a varias propuestas para sesiones con énfasis regional. Como resultado, la conferencia de este año contará con sesiones centradas en la Amazonia y en cómo escribir para audiencias hispanas, así como un taller previo a la conferencia que ofrecerá herramientas para periodistas freelance internacionales.

Cualquiera que escriba, edite o produzca noticias, información o comentarios científicos para el público en América Latina y el Caribe; enseñe periodismo científico; o sea miembro de una asociación perteneciente a la Federación Mundial de Periodistas Científicos, y que no pueda asistir a ScienceWriters2018 sin asistencia financiera, puede aplicar a la beca. Se requiere que los postulantes dominen el idioma inglés. Los solicitantes deberán enviar muestras de su trabajo, su currículum y al menos una carta de recomendación.

Las becas cubrirán la tarifa aérea en clase económica, el transporte terrestre, los costos de solicitud de visado, el alojamiento en hotel por cuatro noches y el registro gratuito para el programa de talleres de NASW. Se puede proporcionar un subsidio adicional para comidas, gastos imprevistos y excursiones si se demuestra que es requerido por la persona. Los organizadores de la conferencia reservarán las habitaciones de hotel; los demás gastos cubiertos serán reembolsados ​​por CASW.

Un comité revisará las solicitudes y notificará a los ganadores de las becas de viaje la primera semana de agosto, cuando los organizadores abran el registro en línea de la reunión y publiquen el programa para ScienceWriters2018. Se espera que los becarios se registren con prontitud y soliciten sus visas de viaje inmediatamente, de ser estas necesarias.

Los fondos para estas becas de viaje llegan gracias al ahorro de costos durante la 10ma Conferencia Mundial de Periodistas Científicos (WCSJ2017), celebrada en San Francisco en octubre de 2017. NASW y CASW organizaron la conferencia en colaboración con la Federación Mundial de Periodistas Científicos (WFSJ). Gracias al generoso apoyo de los patrocinadores, los organizadores pudieron otorgar 72 becas de viaje para periodistas profesionales y 22 para estudiantes con el objetivo de apoyar la asistencia internacional a la WCSJ2017, incluidas 11 becas de viaje David Perlman financiadas por $40.000 en donaciones recaudados entre escritores de ciencia de EE. UU.

Applications now accepted for regional travel fellowships to attend ScienceWriters2018

Version en español 

Science writers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are invited to apply for regional travel fellowships to attend ScienceWriters2018, a conference to be held Oct. 12-16 in Washington, DC.

The travel grants will enable up to 12 science writers from the region to join their U.S. colleagues at the annual conference, which combines professional development workshops organized by the National Association of Science Writers with the New Horizons in Science research briefings presented by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. ScienceWriters2018 will be hosted by George Washington University.

Fellowship applications may be submitted through July 17 using this online form:

Supporting science journalism in Latin America and the Caribbean was a special goal of WCSJ2017, which included a day-long preconference workshop and travel fellowships sponsored by the Mexico-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz. The 2018 fellowships are intended to continue to support networking and professional development throughout the region and to strengthen ties between associations in the U.S. and elsewhere in the hemisphere.

During the call for proposals for ScienceWriters2018, organizers welcomed several proposals for sessions with a regional emphasis. As a result, this year’s conference will feature sessions focused on the Amazon and writing for Hispanic audiences, as well as a preconference workshop offering skill-building for international freelancers.

Fellowship applications may be submitted by anyone who writes, edits or produces science news, information or commentary for the public in Latin America and the Caribbean; teaches science journalism; or is a member of a World Federation of Science Journalists member association, and who would be unable to attend ScienceWriters2018 without financial assistance. English language fluency is required. Applicants should plan to submit samples of their work, a resumé, and at least one letter of recommendation.

The grants will cover economy airfare, ground transportation, visa application costs, four nights’ hotel accommodation, and complimentary registration for the NASW workshop program. An additional subsidy for meals, incidentals, and field trips may be provided based on demonstrated need. Conference organizers will reserve hotel rooms; other covered expenses will be reimbursed by CASW.

A fellowships committee will review applications and notify recipients of the travel fellowships by the first week of August, when organizers will open online meeting registration and publish the program for ScienceWriters2018. Fellows will be expected to register promptly and apply immediately for travel visas if needed.

The fellowship funds were made possible by cost savings from the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, held in San Francisco in October 2017. NASW and CASW organized the conference in collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists. Thanks to generous sponsorship support, the organizers were able to award 72 professional and 22 student travel fellowships to support international attendance at WCSJ2017, including 11 David Perlman Travel Fellowships funded by $40,000 in donations collected by U.S. science writers.

Diane McGurgan retires from CASW after four decades of service to science writing

May 24, 2018 — Diane McGurgan, whose unparalleled service to the science writing community spans more than four decades, will retire as administrator of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing at the end of this month. At its recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C., CASW’s board joined in a fond salute to McGurgan for her “invaluable and extraordinary contributions to our community.”

Board secretary Charlie Petit read “A Resolution To Mark the Regrettable but Inevitable Retirement of Diane McGurgan,” commemorating her 31 years of service to CASW as well as her additional service to the National Association of Science Writers.

The resolution noted that Diane, assisted by her husband Buddy, had “schlepped, moved, stored, ordered up, arranged for and managed uncountable quantities of paper, badges, tickets, restaurant reservations, bar bills and food trays,” that she has “refined the capacity to herd cats, soothe egos and meet crises to a fare-thee-well,” and that her name is woven into the fabric of the science writing community through the annual Diane McGurgan Service Award, which is given by NASW each year in recognition of extraordinary volunteer service.

McGurgan became NASW’s secretary in 1978. Nine years later, she was recruited to the CASW staff by then-President Barbara J. Culliton, who had earlier been president of NASW.

After her retirement from NASW in 2009, McGurgan continued to serve as CASW’s administrator — working with CASW Executive Director Ben Patrusky until his retirement in 2013, and since then with his successor, Rosalind Reid.

McGurgan has managed CASW’s awards and fellowship programs and handled the council’s governance and financial affairs. She played an indispensable logistical role in CASW’s signature program, the annual New Horizons in Science briefings, which are now part of the annual ScienceWriters conference.

Her final year was marked by one of CASW’s biggest undertakings, the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, which was organized jointly with NASW and took place in San Francisco in October 2017.

With McGurgan’s retirement, CASW will move its headquarters from Hedgesville, West Virginia — which became home base after Diane and Buddy relocated there from New York — to Seattle.

Sylvia Kantor, a Seattle-based freelance writer and editor, will become CASW’s administrator and communications manager on June 1. McGurgan will continue in a consulting role through November 2018, and is looking forward to the ScienceWriters2018 conference in October.

Leadership Tributes

“There is simply no way CASW could have accomplished all that it has over the past four decades without the extraordinary ministrations of Diane – not without her unflagging energy, her heart, her immense generosity, her attention to detail and the needs of others, her improvisational skills, her spirit of fun, her loyalty and, at the root of all, her abiding commitment to all practitioners of the science writing craft,” said Patrusky, who joined the CASW board in the salutes at its spring meeting. “In my years serving with her, I was never other than in her thrall, dazzled by her unfailing ability to soothe, to persuade, to anticipate and to analyze, grapple and help solve any problem or challenge that may have come CASW’s way.  She’s a phenom, a gift, for whom I and CASW will be forever grateful.”


As of June 1, CASW’s address will be P.O. Box 17337, Seattle, WA 98127.

Telephone: (206) 880-0177.

Email: [email protected]

CASW President Alan Boyle added: “Every organization worth its salt needs a Diane McGurgan: someone who seems to know everything and everyone in the community, who has the grit to do what needs to be done, and who has the heart to help others unselfishly.” Even though she’s retiring from her administrative duties, we want her to know we’ll never let her retire from our friendship.”

Executive Director Reid thanked Diane for postponing her retirement to ensure a successful World Conference and administrative transition. “CASW is an organization whose work is built on long and warm relationships, and the link in all those relationships is Diane, “ Reid said. “Her devotion to the work and needs of the community is simply unparalleled, and she will be missed by science writers from sea to sea. It has been my privilege to know Diane and to be able to rely on her intelligence, dedication, good sense and unique talents ever since I joined the CASW board more than a decade ago. What a remarkable career. What a deserved retirement!”

In their unanimously approved resolution, CASW’s board members expressed heartfelt gratitude for Diane’s invaluable and extraordinary contributions, and added a wish on behalf of the entire science writing community: “May her most-deserved retirement, and all the adventures still in store for her, be marked with health, happiness and the certain knowledge that her multitude of friends and colleagues will always remember The Essential Diane.”

Sylvia Kantor

CASW’s new administrator and communications manager, Sylvia Kantor, began working with CASW in 2017 during planning and fundraising for the World Conference of Science Journalists. She joined the staff part-time in early 2018 to edit a new donor newsletter, CASW Spotlight, and assist McGurgan and Reid with the administrative transition.

Kantor’s career includes stints as an agriculture science writer, research associate and extension educator at Washington State University from 1999 to 2016. Today she divides her time between her CASW work and independent writing and editing. She is a member of NASW, the Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA), and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.

Kantor holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Washington. In Seattle, she balances her digital life by making things with her hands, tending her garden, and attuning to the natural world on foot, by kayak, or on skis.

2018-19 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows bring varied backgrounds to science writing

Five women with backgrounds ranging from astronomy, mathematics and biology to investigative journalism and film have been awarded prestigious Taylor/Blakeslee University Fellowships from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing supporting graduate study in science writing.

The Fellows will each receive a $5,000 award for the 2018-19 academic year, bringing to 161 the number of science writers aided by CASW’s graduate fellowships since 1981.

Chosen from a field of 28 outstanding applicants were:

Erika Carlson (@erikakcarlson). Carlson, who will finish her master’s degree in astronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in May, earned her bachelor’s degree in physics at Pomona College in 2015. “I want to write compelling, multifaceted feature stories that capture the human aspects of science, that touch my readers and stay with them in some way,” she told the fellowship judges. Interested in writing science news as well as magazine features, Carlson will enter the science communication graduate program at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the fall.

Susan D'AgostinoSusan D’Agostino (@susan_dagostino). D’Agostino was as a mathematics professor at Southern New Hampshire University and has served on the New Hampshire Governor’s STEM Education Task Force. She was motivated to pursue science writing after learning about and managing a medical condition she experienced and is particularly interested in the interplay between medicine and society. “As part of my coursework, I am eager to engage with doctors, biomedical researchers, and medical journalists at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for a medical writing residency called Medicine in Action,” she said. D’Agostino has a doctorate in mathematics from Dartmouth College, an MFA in nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University, a master’s in teaching mathematics from Smith College and a bachelor’s in anthropology from Bard College. She begins her medical writing residency this summer and the science writing graduate program at Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

Eva FrederickEva Frederick (@evacharlesanna) graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in biology and journalism. As a student she worked in a lab studying the bacteria living in the guts of honeybees and wrote for The Daily Texan, UT’s student newspaper. She also served as The Texan’s science and technology editor and managing editor. Frederick is currently teaching children about native plants at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. “Through a career as a science journalist I want to encourage scientific literacy in people of all walks of life,” she said. “I want to promote the ability to understand and contextualize science principles and concepts, because this is invaluable to a healthy, informed society.” She plans to enroll in the graduate program in science writing at MIT. 

Susan NeilsonSusie Neilson (@susieneilson). After graduating from Northwestern in 2015, Neilson published stories in NautilusNewsweek, and The New Yorker on topics ranging from the psychological impact of wearing a prison uniform to the drug-like benefits of noise. “I aim to be a journalist who uses science to produce impactful, institution-challenging stories,” she said. “In particular I want to document the impact that unbridled growth and consumerism has on the environment and public health.” Currently pursuing a master’s in journalism at UC Berkeley, she will spend the summer completing an internship with the science investigation team at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Emily PontecorvoEmily Pontecorvo (@emilypont). Pontecorvo is a writer and multimedia producer based in New York City. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2011 with a degree in film and worked in the film industry for five years before deciding to pivot to journalism. As a science writer, she hopes to advance public literacy around environmental issues and climate change. “I believe that narrative is the best tool we have to teach and to learn, to challenge the most firmly held beliefs and inspire change,” she told the judges. She is currently a podcast producer at Gizmodo and begins the graduate program in science writing at MIT this fall. 

CASW's graduate fellowships are underwritten by a grant from The Brinson Foundation, a Chicago-based philanthropic organization. They honor the late Rennie Taylor and Alton Blakeslee, science writer and science editor respectively for the Associated Press. More information may be found on this page.

WCSJ2017 partners launch international program fund

May 7, 2018—The organizers of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists are pleased to announce plans for a suite of activities to extend the impact of the October 2017 conference in San Francisco by strengthening training, networking, and knowledge-sharing among science journalists worldwide.

A new fund, the WCSJ International Program Fund, has been established by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in partnership with the National Association of Science Writers to support these efforts through the use of generous donations from WCSJ2017 conference sponsors. The funds were made available through judicious management of conference costs that resulted in savings of more than 10% of the conference budget. In keeping with the wishes of WCSJ2017 sponsors and the organizers, these funds will be used to support science journalism through post-conference activities organized by the partners and coordinated with the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Roughly half of these conference proceeds were returned to the WFSJ, CASW and NASW in the form of program support and to recoup costs incurred during the planning and production of WCSJ2017. Each of the three organizations invested significant staff time and other resources to produce the conference.

The remaining proceeds will be managed by the organizing partners to support important new initiatives intended to continue building connections between US and international science journalists in the years to come.

“Enormous staff and volunteer effort went into making sure travel, hospitality, logistics and programming for WCSJ2017 were covered largely by sponsorships so that we could enable the broadest possible participation, providing a record number of travel fellowships and keeping registration fees below past conferences,” said Cristine Russell, co-chair of the WCSJ2017 Organizing Committee. “Many of our sponsors did not want to support only the conference; they wanted the conference to have a lasting impact on global science journalism. To our donors we can now say ‘yes, we can do that!’ We are excited to be able to leverage our savings to give WCSJ2017 that extra impact.”

“We met our fundraising goals, and we were thrilled at the support of an array of sponsors who all embraced science journalism as extraordinarily important in the 21st century. In the end, we were able to reduce costs through NASW’s skillful management, the work of a large cadre of volunteers, the funded travelers who shared rooms and found other sources of support, and the donated facilities and support of generous hosts including UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley,” Russell said.

“We all congratulate the executive directors of NASW and CASW, Tinsley Davis and Rosalind Reid respectively, for their extraordinary management, which made the new initiatives possible,” said Ron Winslow, co-chair of the WCSJ2017 Organizing Committee. “And thanks to the generosity and commitment of our sponsors, we have an unprecedented opportunity to build on the spirit, energy and ideas generated in San Francisco. This is a huge benefit for science journalism around the globe.”

Among the activities intended to be supported by the new international fund are: translation of WCSJ2017 session videos to Spanish and French; sustained development of the regional network of Latin American and Caribbean science journalists launched at WCSJ2017; knowledge transfer to future conference hosts; a joint diversity initiative; support for efforts to locate a future conference in a developing country; future conference travel grants; and a networking platform. A steering committee of WCSJ2017 organizers and leaders of partner organizations will provide advice on the management and use of the fund.

The organizers of WCSJ2017 are grateful to WFSJ for its key role in conference fundraising and workshop programming, as well as the hosts and sponsors whose support made possible not only the conference but the follow-on activities, first among them WCSJ2017’s Diamond Sponsor, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and host universities, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. The amount of funds available for programs will be known when the conference books are closed and a final report issued in coming weeks.


CASW names two distinguished Fellows

 WASHINGTON, DC--The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) has honored two pioneering women science writers who have worked tirelessly to improve the communication of science to the public through leadership of CASW and decades-long service on its board. Barbara J. Culliton, of Washington, DC, and Joann E. Rodgers, of Owings Mills, Maryland, were named CASW Fellows on April 20 as the 58-year-old organization gathered for its annual business meeting.

Culliton and Rodgers served as back-to-back presidents of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and CASW. Culliton retired from the CASW board in 2014 after 38 years as a member and officer; Rodgers stepped down at the 2018 meeting after 41 years on the board, including multiple officer roles.

Culliton has been a writer, editor and teacher throughout her distinguished career, including serving at Science as correspondent at large, news editor, and news and comment editor. She also worked in international science publishing as the deputy editor of Nature, where she launched the journals Nature Genetics, Nature Structural Biology and Nature Medicine. In 1989, Culliton was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine. She also directed the graduate writing program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore from 1990 to 1998. Culliton is currently a scholar-in-residence at Florida State University in the College of Communication and Information. She headed NASW in 1981-82, and in 1985 became CASW’s first woman president, serving in that role for four years.

Rodgers, an award-winning science journalist, author, editor and communications consultant, served as NASW president in 1983-84, succeeding Culliton, and succeeded her also as CASW President, serving from 1989 to 1997. Rodgers directed Johns Hopkins Medicine’s science communications, media relations and public affairs division for 25 years, and later served as a faculty scholar and strategic communications adviser to the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Earlier, Rodgers spent nearly two decades as a reporter and columnist for the Hearst newspapers and magazines. She is the author of seven books, including Sex: A Natural History, and has been a contributor to numerous magazines. Rodgers (shown in photo with CASW President Alan Boyle; Culliton was unable to attend the presentation) is also a reviewer for, a peer-review service for health-related stories and releases.

“There can never be praise enough for these two remarkable women and their extraordinary contributions and unrelenting labors on behalf of CASW during their decades-long service as board members,” said CASW Executive Director Emeritus Ben Patrusky. “Under their brilliant leadership and sway, CASW continued to make great strides in its never-ending search for new opportunities to address the changing needs of its core constituency, the growing community of science writers and the public it serves.”

“It was a pleasure to work with both Joann and Barbara from early in my science-writing career, as mentors, colleagues and friends,” said Harvard Kennedy School fellow Cristine Russell, also a former president of NASW and CASW. “They helped clear the way for other women in American science writing, which has been more equal than many other fields of journalism.” She noted that Culliton and Rodgers served NASW at a difficult time, helping to pull the dues-based membership organization back from near-bankruptcy and put it on stronger financial footing. “We sat around Joann’s kitchen table, trying to right the ship after belt-tightening and cutting back on staff,” said Russell.

Another memorable moment was when Culliton, on behalf of NASW, and the San Francisco Chronicle’s David Perlman, then president of CASW, led a delegation of U.S. science writers that visited China in 1979 under the aegis of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

With the addition of Culliton and Rodgers, CASW's distinguished Fellows total only four, including Perlman, “the dean of American science journalism,” and the late Earl Ubell, the first president of CASW.

CASW Fellow awarded project grant to report on Middle East water issues

(April 2, 2018) Elizabeth Whitman (@elizabethwhitty), a master's student at the Columbia University School of Journalism, has won a $5,000 special reporting grant from CASW's Taylor/Blakeslee graduate fellowships program.

Whitman, one of five 2017-18 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows, won for her proposal "A Land Without Water," which will take her to the Middle East to report on water and drought, digging into an age-old issue in a fresh way. She intends to produce magazine articles, interactives and photography. Her work, to be undertaken after she graduates this May with a master’s in science journalism, will also be supported by an award from the Overseas Press Club.

Whitman, who also holds a history degree from Columbia, has previously reported from the United Nations and written feature stories about Syrian refugees, public health, medicine, climate change and women’s rights from the Middle East. Her writing for Modern Healthcare as a health care industry reporter was recognized in 2017 with the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Range of Work by a Single Author.

The judges found the "Land Without Water" project plan unusually well constructed and noted the strong impression Whitman has made on the Columbia faculty. She is the third Taylor/Blakeslee Fellow to win a project fellowship. The Brinson Foundation, which underwrites the university fellowships, provides the follow-up grant to enable a Fellow to undertake a career-launching enterprise project. The first grant went to Amy McDermott, then enrolled in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the second to Jennifer Lu at the University of Missouri.


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