Invited Experts

Panel 1 - Multimedia Science Communication and Journalism:

evertsSarah Everts (@saraheverts)
Sarah Everts  is an Associate Professor and  CTV Chair in digital journalism at Carleton University. She moved to Ottawa from Berlin where she reported on science and technology for a variety of publications including Scientific American, New Scientist, Smithsonian, Chemical & Engineering News and others. Her work has garnered several awards and accolades, such as inclusion in the 2017 Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. Prof. Everts has an MJ from Carleton, an MSc in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and a BSc in biophysics from the University of Guelph. Her research interests lie at the intersection of scientific innovation, policy and cultural anthropology. In other words, why are some of society’s most pressing science, health and environmental issues mired in a challenging combination of controversy, pseudoscience and legitimate uncertainty? She is also fascinated by the increasingly role science is playing in cultural heritage institutions, and how research on art and artifacts can help museum staff with authentication, conservation and provenance studies. Other areas of interest: the culture, history and science of sweat; how social media influences public health information dissemination; and the history of chemical weapons.

krolikJulia Krolik (@yuliakrolik)
Julia Krolik is an information designer, data scientist, artist and entrepreneur. Her diverse background enables a rare cross-disciplinary empathy and she continuously advocates for effective research communication with the public. Formally educated in the sciences, her work includes published research in microbiology, geospatial analytics, public health, and groundwater quality. As an award-winning artist, Julia integrates scientific methodology into her creative process. Julia is the founder of Art the Science, a non-profit organization facilitating artist residencies in scientific research laboratories across Canada to foster public engagement in art and science. She also sits on the Data Visualization Society’s board as the Partnerships Director. Through her creative agency Pixels and Plans, Julia and her team work with private and public organizations fusing scientific integrity with engaging design to create impactful knowledge mobilization products and science-based art. Their scope of work is expansive and includes interactive data visualization tools, data-based art installations and custom projection mapping software. Connect with Julia via LinkedIn and Twitter.

labosDr. Christopher Labos (@drlabos)
Dr. Christopher Labos completed his cardiology residency at McGill University where he served as chief resident and then completed a master’s degree and epidemiology before pursuing a research fellowship. Through no fault of his own, he started the Sisyphean task of working with the media to better communicate science and health news to the general public. He has a regular column with the Montreal Gazette, is a regular contributor to CJAD radio and CTV Montreal news. He has written for the CBC, Maclean’s magazine and co-hosts the award winning podcast “The Body of Evidence.” He is currently an associate with the McGill Office for Science and Society whose mission is to promote critical thinking and present science to the public. To date no one has asked him for his autograph. Connect with Dr. Labos via Twitter and his website for The Body of Evidence. 


wiartShelley Wiart
Shelley Wiart is a member of the North Slave Métis Alliance, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Shelley is currently finishing her fourth year of a Bachelor of Arts program in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Athabasca University. She is the co-founder of an Indigenous focused holistic health program, Women Warriors. Last summer she was the recipient of the Hotıì ts'eeda (NWT SPOR Support Unit) Research Capacity Development Program and the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Undergrad Summer Student Stipend for her Indigenous women’s health research project, Digital Storytelling as an Indigenous Women’s Health Advocacy Tool: Empowering Indigenous Women to Frame Their Health Stories. She published an academic article from this research, Decolonizing Health Care: Indigenous Digital Storytelling as Pedagogical Tool for Cultural Safety in Health Care Settings in Northern Public Affairs Magazine (2020). Shelley is an avid writer and was awarded the Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction (2020) in Up Here magazine. She has also earned a spot as part of Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. Shelley’s current research is an extension of her digital storytelling project and explores how this Indigenous health research has shaped the participants’ health stories, and the significance of including research participants in Indigenous knowledge translation. Connect with Shelley through her website

Panel 2 - Communicating through Policy and Activism:

kolopenuk Dr. Jessica Kolopenuk (@jesskolopenuk)
Dr. Jessica Kolopenuk (Cree, Peguis First Nation) is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a co-founder and co-lead of the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society Research and Training Program (Indigenous STS), which supports capacities of Indigenous peoples to govern science and technology projects affecting them. Kolopenuk is also the co-founder and co-lead of the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada), and has more recently been recruited as an instructor for Science Outside the Lab North (SOtLNorth). With Indigenous governance held at the core of her work, Dr. Kolopenuk’s research and policy advising address what technoscientific knowledge means for Indigenous peoples and, also, what Indigenous knowledge can mean for science and technology fields.


cemmaDr. Masha Cemma (@CemmaM)
Dr. Masha Cemma is a policy advisor to the Chief Science Advisor (CSA) of Canada, Dr. Mona Nemer. In that capacity, she supports the CSA expert panel on COVID-19 and leads the office’s work on Open Science. Prior to her current role, Dr. Cemma completed a Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowship at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). At the CFIA, she helped build and support an award-winning laboratory network that spanned five countries and fostered international cooperation, knowledge translation and exchange with the goal of strengthening preparedness to high-consequence pathogens.

Dr. Cemma earned her PhD in 2016 from the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. During her PhD, she examined the role of autophagy machinery in host defence against bacterial pathogens. She received her first exposure to policy in 2014 through a fellowship at the World Health Organization and further honed policy skills via fellowships at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security and the Public Policy Forum.

rilling Madison Rilling (@MadisonRilling)
By day, I am a clinical medical physicist working in radiation oncology. By night, I am finishing up my PhD in Physics at Université Laval, using optical engineering in medical physics to develop a new clinical tool for measuring radiation doses in cancer treatments. Parallel to this, I have been involved in research administration, science policy, women in STEM and optics & photonics science outreach initiatives. From 2016 to 2019, I acted as a student advisor to Dr. Rémi Quirion, Québec's Chief Scientist, on matters relative to the accessibility of research funding, the promotion of research excellence locally and internationally, and issues regarding the education and training of student researchers as well as their greater involvement and valorization within society. During that time, I was the sole student to sit on the Board of Directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies, Québec's research funding agency for natural sciences and engineering. Recently, I was named to the Chief Science Advisor of Canada's very first Youth Council.

girlingDr. Kimberly Girling (@kimberlygirling)
Kimberly Girling is the Interim Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, a Canadian non-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making. Kimberly holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia and is an alumnus of the Mitacs Canadian Science Policy fellowship, a program connecting scientists to policy issues in the Canadian government. She worked for several years as a policy analyst in the Canadian public sector.




Workshop Facilitators:

Samantha Yammine (Social Media; @heysciencesam)
Dr. Samantha Yammine, PhD is a Neuroscientist, Science Communicator, and Founder of Science Sam Media. She earned her PhD from the University of Toronto researching how stem cells build and maintain the brain. In addition to her doctoral research, she co-authored a crowd-funded research study exploring the effects that #ScientistsWhoSelfie on Instagram can have on public perceptions of scientists. Samantha regularly appears as a guest expert in the popular media including spots on Netflix, TVO Kids, CBC GEM, LBC Radio UK, AsapSCIENCE, and CBC Radio. She is a member of the Editorial Committee for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, and the Program Committee for the Royal Canadian Institute for Science. Learn more at

RackebRackeb Tesfaye (Podcast; @RackebT)
Rackeb Tesfaye is a PhD candidate in the Integrated Program of Neuroscience at McGill University and a science communicator. She is the founder of Broad Science, an internationally recognized initiative dedicated to making science inclusive, engaging and intersectional through podcasting. Rackeb is also a vocal supporter for accessible science communication training for graduate students. She sits on the organizing committee for ComSciCon Canada, acts as a mentor for Canada's Chief Scientist's Youth Council (CAS-YC) and serves on the committee for various science communication organizations, including Falling Walls Engage and the SciComm Training Network.

Abeer Siddiqui (Creative Storytelling)
Abeer Siddiqui is a Learning Support Librarian at McMaster University and Adjunct Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science. Abeer has contributed to over a dozen courses with lectures on Science Literacy, which refers to the necessary skills, beyond subject knowledge, that students need to succeed as scientists. This includes information literacy and scientific communication. Over the past 3.5 years, she has strategically embedded science literacy instruction across second, third, and fourth year courses so that students are able to practice and master these skills throughout various programs in the Faculty of Science. Her work in Science Literacy seeks to embed community-engaged practices including bringing community into the classroom and exploring science communication within diverse communities including young kids, LGBTQ+, and both rural and urban communities. Her goal is to use storytelling to express our understanding of sometimes complex or controversial scientific concepts.


Diane Dechief (The Science Behind Science Communication; @nomencultured)
Since 2017, Dr. Diane Dechief (pronounced de-CHEF) has been designing and teaching science communication courses at McGill University. Her professional goals are to support students in developing their science communication skills and to support STEM researchers and educators in making science and engineering more inclusive. She is currently researching the identity narratives of science communicators for two SSHRC grants. Dr. Dechief’s doctoral research (completed in 2015 at the University of Toronto) explored name challenges experienced by people who immigrate to Canada. With Phil Oreopoulus, she co-investigated how name discrimination based on resumés results in biased hiring practices. She continues to participate in conversations about name issues including recent work on CBC Radio, in the National Observer, and an exhibit essay at Trinity Square Video. 

Katie Moisse (The Science Behind Science Communication; @katiemoisse)
Katie Moisse is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University, where she teaches science communication. She is also a science journalist, with bylines in Scientific American, ABC News and The Atlantic. She is a contributing editor for Spectrum.



Write-A-Thon Experts:

Diane Dechief - McGill University, Faculty Lecturer

Samantha Yammine - Science Communicator & Digital Media Producer

Abeer Siddiqui - McMaster University, Learning Support Librarian & Adjunct Professor

Katie Moisse - McMaster University, Assistant Professor

Christopher Labos - The Body of Evidence, Host

Julia Krolik - Art the Science, Founder; Pixels & Plans, Founder

Sarah Everts - Carleton University, Associate Professor

Shelley Wiart - Women Warriors, Co-Founder

Chantal Barriault – Laurentian University, Master Lecturer
Dr. Chantal Barriault is the Director of the Science Communication Graduate program, offered jointly by Science North and Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. The program has over 150 alumni since it started in 2005. Starting out on the exhibit floors of Science North, Chantal spent most of her early career developing and delivering education programmes, teacher training, live science theatre, and science exhibits. Currently, her research interests focus on understanding and assessing the impact of science communication strategies through the application of learning theories in informal learning environments. Chantal joined the faculty team at Laurentian University in 2013.

Brittney Borowiec - Massive Science, Editor
Brittney Borowiec, PhD, is an award-winning zoologist and freelance science writer and editor. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Wilfrid Laurier University investigating how lamprey-specific pesticides damage fish mitochondria. Her PhD project at McMaster University focused on how killifish cope with different patterns of low oxygen conditions. Her research interests include hypoxia tolerance, respiratory physiology, and oxidative stress.

Brittney’s science writing appears in Nature, Massive Science, PBS Eons, The Canadian Science Publishing Blog, The Conversation, Oceanbites, and elsewhere. She has authored several digital children’s books as a part of Plympton, Inc.’s Did You Know? series. She was named a 2020 TEDMED Research Scholar, and her writing has been recognized by the Canadian Society of Zoologists, McMaster University’s Dept. of Biology, Science Seeker, and Best Shortform Science Writing project.

Since 2019, she has worked as an editor at Massive Science, where her duties include handling pitches, story editing, article production, and other tasks.

Twitter: @this_is_brit | Personal website:

Alan Shapiro - British Columbia Institute of Technology & Simon Fraser University, Instructor
Alan Shapiro is a water, sustainability, and science communication professional passionate about applying science communication tools to environmental issues. Alan splits his time between teaching at BCIT and SFU and consulting for non-profits and companies on water and sustainability challenges. He is also co-founder and chair of science outreach non-profit Science Slam Canada. Find him on Twitter at @watercomm

Ive Velikova - Science Sucks, Host
Ive Velikova is a science communication Master’s candidate and freelance science storyteller. Currently wrapping up her Master’s degree in Science Communication at Laurentian University, her research looks at SciComm training opportunities for Canadian graduate students.

Ive is an enthusiastic storyteller seeking to build trust and excitement for science. After wrapping up her neuroscience degree at McMaster University, she dove into science communication. Now, Ive shares science through captivating, accessible storytelling at bars, summer camps, and festivals across Toronto. She has spoken at the Ontario Science Centre, Story Collider, Spark After Dark, and Science Is A Drag.

Also, Ive hosts the “Science Sucks” radio show, where she invites guests to discuss the ups and downs of scientific research and how it impacts our lives. When she’s not gushing about science, you can find her hiking and spotting birds in parks across Northern Ontario.