Awards

Science News for Students won three awards in 2019, for stories about rare-plant hunters (left), the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why (middle) and how climate change will affect workers (right).

From left: HANK OPPENHEIMER; BETH DUBBER/NETFLIX; NIKADA/E+/GETTY IMAGES

2019

  • Sharon Oosthoek won the silver AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award for Children’s Science News for her story, Rare-plant hunters race against time to save at-risk species. Notes Sharon: “When rare plant hunter Steve Perlman told me losing a species is a lot like losing a friend, I felt the emotional tug of his job. I knew then I wanted to write a piece that conveyed to our young readers not only the sound scientific reasons for protecting rare plants, but also the humanity that drives this work.”
  • Bethany Brookshire got an honorable mention from the Best Shortform Science Writing Project (April-June) for her piece: “Is the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why linked to suicide?
  • Kathiann Kowalski got an honorable mention from the Best Shortform Science Writing Project (April-June) for her piece in our Climate Change Chronicle series: Workers won’t work as well in a very warm world.

2018

  • Kathiann Kowalski won first place for best feature writing in the freelance digital media category from the Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for her story, Science works to save a salty world treasure. It covered her field reporting in Wieliczka, Poland, with researchers who are studying the threat that tourism poses to a 700-year-old salt mine and art gallery, one that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has listed as a World Heritage Site. The sprawling underground warren, which contains some 2,000 chambers and spans a vast 7 million cubic meters (265 million cubic feet), is full of statues and other artworks sculpted from salt.
  • Kathiann also won second place in this competition for a medical/science story in the digital media category: Heartbeat can affect racial perception of threat. This story described provocative research findings that suggest the phase of a cop’s heartbeat can affect how threatening someone’s behavior appears — but only if the person being judged belongs to another race.

2016

  • Roberta Kwok won the silver AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award for Children’s Science News for her story, The shocking electric eel. Kwok’s account “is not only a ripping good yarn, it is also a wonderful description of the process of science,” noted one judge, John Carey. “Her story makes science seem both fun and compelling—and something that children could aspire to do themselves.”

2015

  • Stephen Ornes won the gold AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award for Children’s Science News for his story, Where will lightning strike? Starting with a harrowing story about hikers caught in a thunderstorm atop a mountain in California’s Sequoia National Park, Ornes describes what scientists have learned about the behavior of lightning and what they are still struggling to understand. Stephen says he loves to write about science for children “not only because of the subject matter and style but also because it makes me a better dad. I no longer linger at the playground when a storm moves in, and I can finally explain in straightforward terms why hanging out in a thunderstorm is a terrible idea.”
  • Kathiann Kowalski won first place award from the Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for her story, Recycling the Dead. It explains how Mother Nature breaks down the bodies of organisms, large and small. By extracting the building blocks of those once-living plants, animals, fungi and more, nature keeps our planet from being overrun by wastes. Instead, the dead get turned into food for the living.

2008

  • Douglas Fox won first place in the AAAS Science Journalism Award for Children’s Science News for his story, Where rivers run uphill. Said one of the contest judges, Arndt Reuning of Deutschlandradio, Fox covered “an important issue in a vivid and funny way. He’s a superb and entertaining story-teller.” Explained Doug himself: Perhaps the biggest challenge in writing for a young audience “was remembering to be awestruck by the basic things that we tend to take for granted — like the simple fact that glaciers can evaporate. More and more I think that this is also good advice for communicating science to adults.”