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Diversity in Focus at Upcoming Science Writers Meeting

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Calling all journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and communicators with a passion for science, tech, engineering and mathematics! You are invited to attend the annual ScienceWriters conference, October 17-20, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

The National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) host the conference. The meeting offers several networking and professional development opportunities, including various receptions, journalism and research presentations, tour and field trips. Registration for the meeting opens August 15, 2014.

What’s more, this year attendees can apply for an NASW Diversity Travel Fellowship. Sponsored by a generous NASW Idea Grant, these awards (five at $1,000 each) were created to encourage minorities in science journalism to attend the conference.

U.S.-based underrepresented minority journalists are encouraged to apply especially African-, Hispanic-, and Native-Americans who have journalism experience in STEM, medicine, health, environment, technology, etc. STEM professionals who are interested in science communication are also eligible to apply.

The grant continues ongoing work between Alberto Roca of DiverseScholar and DNLee of the National Science & Technology News Service to increase diverse representation in the science communication.

Why does diversity matter in science communication? Because diverse perspectives matter. Delivering culturally relevant health, science, technology and environmental news is important and is the key to addressing disparities in access to essential services and future career opportunities in these growing fields.

More details about the application and fellowship are here. The application includes 10 survey questions and asks for a resume or CV and a 500+ word essay asking applicants to describe the importance of diversity in science communication. Preview the entire application at this link. The deadline to apply is Friday August 29 at 11:55 pm PST using this online application.

The full conference agenda is here, but here are a few highlights:

  • The Friday evening Culture Dish mixer – a chance for science writers of all stripes to meet and talk; the primary aim is to engage minorities, but everyone is welcome.
  • The Saturday morning panel Supporting Diversity in Science Writing where science writer Francie Diep will present results from the first-ever survey of minority science writers.
  • The Saturday afternoon panel, How to Write for Local and Non-science Publications, will feature freelance journalists who have found success pitching science-related news stories to smaller outlets and those that do not traditionally cover science.
  • Minority communities have a strong interest in public health issues and the National Association of Black Journalists 2014 conference earlier this month included several “Healthy NABJ” panels. On Sunday afternoon at ScienceWriters, Ohio State’s Dr. Maura Gillison will give a talk on HPV that will connect public health, individual behavior and genomic analysis to explain how she’s trying to reduce the incidence of head and neck cancer.

There will be opportunities to meet and interview a number of scientists, including leading Latino- and African-American scientists whose research impacts their communities and whose service works to diversify the STEM workforce.

We want to make sure individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities are aware of this great networking and professional development opportunity AND the travel fellowship. Visit and download the announcement flyer. Please share and distribute.

Hope to see you in Ohio!

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






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