Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Rosalind Reid to succeed Ben Patrusky as Executive Director of CASW

New officers elected; Patrusky to retire after more than 38 years of service to CASW

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, which presents the nation’s longest-running series of annual seminars for science writers, has named Rosalind Reid to become the organization’s executive director effective Sept. 1, 2013. She will succeed Ben Patrusky, who is retiring from the position he has held for 25 years.

The distinguished writers and scientists of CASW foster programs to improve the quality of science news reaching the public, contribute to the education of young science writers, and organize the annual New Horizons in Science conference. Reid joined CASW as a board member in 2007, and took on the role of New Horizons program director in 2012.

Reid is a seasoned science writer and editor who served from 1992 to 2008 as the editor in chief of American Scientist magazine, where she developed workshops on visual communication for scientists and took the magazine online. Since 2008 she has been embedded in science and technology at Harvard University, serving as executive director first of the university’s Initiative in Innovative Computing, and then of its Institute for Applied Computational Science.

After working as a reporter at newspapers in Maine and North Carolina, she served as a research news editor at North Carolina State University. Later, she was the first Journalist in Residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara. Reid is a member of the National Association of Science Writers. A graduate of Syracuse University, she holds a master’s in public policy sciences from Duke University.

“Ros Reid has all the right stuff and all the passion to carry on the proven programs of CASW and to guide our growth in the digital age of journalism and science communications,” said Alan Boyle, newly elected president of CASW and science editor at NBC News Digital.

“The heart and soul of CASW is its emphasis on making the wonders and achievements of science accessible to large swaths of the public, and on giving science writers access to the newsmakers of science. We couldn’t have invented a more perfect individual than Ros Reid to work with our board, and to carry on that mission,” Patrusky said.

Patrusky to continue CASW involvement

Patrusky (photo, left), a widely published freelance science journalist, and a pioneer in the development of science writers seminars, served as New Horizons program director from 1975 to 2004, and was appointed executive director of CASW in 1988. During his tenure as program and executive director, Patrusky also organized and led month-long journalistic expeditions funded by the Kellogg Foundation to Central and South America and Africa. The journeys, which drew science writers from the nation’s premier newspapers in 1991 and 1995, were designed to investigate how science could enhance agricultural productivity to feed growing populations in developing nations. He was a longtime member of the board of Science Service, publisher of Science News, and has received coveted writing awards for his work from the American Institute of Physics and the American Chemical Society. Following his retirement in the fall, he will continue as a consultant to CASW’s board.

Reid steps into a post that incorporates the administrative, fund-raising and programmatic functions of the all-volunteer CASW board. She will continue to serve as the director of New Horizons, held each year since 1963, and since 2005 in conjunction with the National Association of Science Writers’ professional development meeting. The joint meeting, called ScienceWriters, will be held this year November 1-5 at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

“It’s an extraordinary privilege to take on this role with CASW, an organization whose remarkable reputation has endured for more than 50 years because of the quality of its programs and leadership, and in particular the extraordinary wisdom, dedication and steady hand of Ben Patrusky over almost four decades,” Reid said. “As CASW looks to the future, there are opportunities to create new relationships with science communicators, scientists, prospective partner organizations, donors and others committed to public engagement amid the challenges facing our craft.”

Alan Boyle elected President

The year 2013 marks other important transitions for CASW, notably Boyle’s election to the presidency. Boyle (photo, right) previously served as CASW’s treasurer and vice president. He has been science editor at NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com since 1996, and created the award-winning science blog known as Cosmic Log in 2002.

Boyle succeeds Cristine Russell, who served as CASW president for seven years.

Currently a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and freelance science writer, Russell shepherded CASW through its 50th anniversary year in 2011. She spearheaded efforts to bring a new generation of online journalists onto the Council’s board and to make the organization an associate member of the World Federation of Science Journalists. She will remain on CASW’s executive committee.

“I’m excited about CASW’s future as we move forward with tremendous new leadership in Alan Boyle, his fellow officers, and Ros Reid,” said Russell, noting that the “extraordinary talent, devotion, and continuity provided by Ben Patrusky for so many decades gives them the strongest possible foundation on which to build our programs for the future.”

Other officers elected at the Board’s April meeting in Washington, D.C., are:

  • Vice President Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Secretary Charles Petit, freelancer, writer for the MIT Knight Science Journalism Tracker, and former newspaper and news magazine staffer.
  • Treasurer Tom Siegfried, an award-winning science writer, editor and author who has served as editor in chief of Science News and science editor of The Dallas Morning News.

To read more about CASW’s board members, science advisers, donors, staff, programs and funding opportunities, go to www.casw.org. For news media inquiries, contact Diane McGurgan.