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April 13, 1998

Two UCSC graduates win journalism awards

By Tim Stephens

Two graduates of UCSC--alumna Laurie Garrett (Merrill College '75) and Joseph Palca, who received a Ph.D. degree in psychology in 1982--have been honored recently for their work as science reporters.

Garrett, a science and medical reporter for Newsday, was one of 13 journalists awarded a prestigious Polk Award for 1997. The awards were announced in March and will be formally presented on April 15 in New York City.

Garrett won the foreign reporting award for her 25-part series on tuberculosis and AIDS in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The Polk Award comes on the heels of Garrett's 1996 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for her reporting on the Ebola virus outbreak in Zaire.

Garrett earned a B.A. in biology at UCSC in 1975 and spent eight years as a science correspondent at National Public Radio. She has worked at Newsday since 1988. In February 1996, she received the Alumni Achievement Award from UCSC's Alumni Association in recognition of her career accomplishments.

The Polk Awards, administered by Long Island University, recognize excellence in reporting and are among the most valued honors in journalism. They were established in 1949 in memory of CBS news correspondent George Polk, who was killed while covering the Greek Civil War.

Palca was awarded the American Chemical Society's (ACS's) 1998 James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for interpreting chemistry for the public. Palca, a science correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) since 1992, is the only radio reporter to receive the Grady-Stack Award since it was first presented in 1957. He earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1980 and 1982, respectively.

Palca's reports on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and other shows cover a wide range of science topics. The ACS specifically recognized his reporting on four stories with a heavy chemistry content, including one on the chemistry of champagne and another on the stereochemistry of the DNA molecule.

The Grady-Stack Award recognizes outstanding reporting that increases public knowledge and understanding of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. The award was presented to Palca at the national meeting of the ACS in Dallas on March 31.

Nominations are now due for UCSC's 1998-99 alumni awards. See story.

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