Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Azeen Ghorayshi wins 2014 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award

The winner of the 2014 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, an annual prize for young science journalists, is Azeen Ghorayshi

Ghorayshi (@azeen_g) received the award and its $1,000 prize for “Bio Hackers,” a story in the East Bay Express about the “small but growing community of hackers, tinkerers and off-hours science enthusiasts” who are genetically engineering organisms in their garages and basements; and “Choking to Death in Tehran,” a story in Newsweek about smog in Iran.

The panel of judges cited Ghorayshi for her ability to weave together science, ethics and politics in compelling narratives about important emerging issues.

A native of Los Angeles, Ghorayshi got her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She then worked in a neurogenetics lab for a year before interning at Mother Jones in San Francisco. Next came a stint as calendar editor at the Bay Area alternative weekly, the East Bay Express. Last September, she started a year-long master's program in science communication at Imperial College in London, where she’s now finishing her dissertation on the effects of "future-talk" in biotechnology funding.

The award was presented Saturday, October 18, during ScienceWriters 2014, a conference that combines the annual meeting and workshop program of the National Association of Science Writers and CASW's New Horizons in Science briefings presented by CASW. ScienceWriters 2014 took place in Columbus, Ohio, October 17-21, hosted by Ohio State University. In the photo at right, Ghorayshi makes her acceptance remarks at COSI, the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus.

Judges for the 2014 award were National Public Radio science correspondent (and CASW board member) Richard Harris; Elizabeth Pennisi, senior correspondent at Science; David Lindley, author of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science and other books about physics; Jeffrey Mervis, senior correspondent at Science; and Laura Helmuth, science and health editor at Slate.

The Clark/Payne Award was created to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting in all fields of science. It is given each year in honor of journalist Ev Clark, who offered friendship and advice to a generation of young reporters. The annual judging is organized by John Carey, former long-time senior correspondent at Business Week and colleague of Seth Payne, who raised money for the award in memory of Ev Clark. CASW now manages the submission process and presentation of the award in cooperation with the National Press Foundation, which administers the Fund. This is the 26th year of the award.

All entrants must be age 30 or younger. The deadline for submissions is the end of June each year. For more information, please see the Clark/Payne Award page.