Keynote Speaker - Dr. Cylita Guy (@CylitaGuy)
Wandering My Way into Canadian Science Communication: Lessons Learned and Ideas on Where to Start
The Canadian science communication community continues to grow. With more and more opportunities to learn about and practice science communication it’s an exciting time. However, getting started and finding your niche in the community can be a daunting task. While there is no “right” or singular way to become a science communicator, using my experiences and the work of other amazing Canadians as examples, I’ll share some lessons I’ve learned that may help in your journey. I’ll also talk about how I found my own unique space and why this is such an exciting time to be joining the Canadian science communication community.
Dr. Cylita Guy is a Toronto based ecologist, data scientist, and science communicator. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto where she studied bats as carriers of species jumping viruses known as zoonotic diseases. After completing an Insight Data Science Fellowship, Dr. Guy now works as a data scientist at Assurance IQ. An experienced science communicator, Dr. Guy spent ten years working as a Host at the Ontario Science Centre. She has also appeared on T.V. and radio, had her writing featured in several outlets (including the book Fieldwork Fail: The Messy Side of Science), started a children’s community science program in High Park, and is one of the founding members of the Canadian side of ComSciCon (ComSciCon-CAN!). Dr. Guy is currently working on her first children’s book for Annick Press – Adventures of Your Friendly Neighbourhood Urban Ecologists – while trying to figure out how to balance industry, academia, and SciComm.
Dr. Sara Mazrouei (@SciCommSara) - Getting Started in Science Communication
Dr. Sara Mazrouei is a planetary scientist, an educational developer, and a science communicator with a passion for sharing the wonders of the universe with the public. Her PhD research focused on the recent bombardment history of the Moon and links to future sample-return missions. Her work has been featured in many media such as the New York Times and National Geographic. Currently, Sara works as an Educational Developer at Ryerson University's Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Sara is also passionate about increasing the status of women in STEM as well as equity, diversity and meaningful inclusion. Sara uses storytelling, examples including the Story Collider and TEDx Downsview Women, as a method for sharing her authentic experiences and making science more accessible.
Sarah Habibi (Twitter: @yoursciencebae; Instagram: science.bae) - Social Media and Science Communication
Sarah Habibi is a PhD Candidate at Ontario Tech University. Sarah is currently in the final stages of her PhD, working in a molecular biology lab that focuses on parasitology and pharmacology. To date, Sarah has published 4 primary and 2 secondary research articles in the field of parasite anthelmintic research. In addition to Sarah’s 5+ years working in a research laboratory, Sarah has been teaching at Durham College for the past 3 years. This past year Sarah won 1st place at the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition taking place at her institution. Aside from Sarah’s academic work, she also runs a science communication page on Instagram, where she shares her experiences as a PhD student, provides resources and motivation for undergraduate students, and uses beauty and makeup to teach various concepts in science. All of which is well represented in her brand of Science Bae (Beauty and Education).
Dr. Rachel Ward-Maxwell (@allouttalemons) - Science Outreach
As the Researcher-Programmer in Astronomy and Space Sciences at the Ontario Science Centre, Rachel Ward-Maxwell develops astronomy public programs, including planetarium shows, and supports the Research Live! program, an initiative where visitors participate in current active research studies conducted by visiting scientists.
Rachel's experience in education and public outreach also includes time spent over the past 15 years as a science communicator and program developer for a variety of organizations, including Let's Talk Science and Science Rendezvous.
Rachel received her doctoral degree in astrophysics from McMaster University in 2015, where she used computer simulations to model the structure of interstellar clouds and formation of Sun-like stars.
Vishnu Ramcharan - Science Outreach
Vishnu’s present role of Specialist, Visitor and Community Engagement, Ontario Science Centre built on his previous role of Manager/Trainer of the science communication/facilitation staff.. These roles include the privilege of training and development of youth and others in communicating science to the general public, and its scope has included Research Scientists, Newcomers, Seniors, and LEAP elementary. This role has been exercised locally for Volunteers of Ontario Science Centre activations at Festivals like PRIDE, Word on The Street, MLSE events, Youth Detention Centre and internationally at Science Centres in Thailand, Germany, south Africa, Malaysia UAE and USA and is characterised by concern for diversity and inclusivity.
Vishnu Ramcharan is also one of the write-a-thon experts for ComSciCon-GTA 2020.
Dan Falk (@danfalk) - Science Writing
Dan Falk is an award-winning science journalist based in Toronto. His writing credits include Scientific American, New Scientist, Quanta, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. He’s written three popular science books, most recently The Science of Shakespeare. Falk has appeared regularly on several CBC Radio programs and has contributed more than a dozen documentaries to CBC’s "Ideas." He also co-hosts BookLab, a podcast that reviews popular science books. In 2011 he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and last year he was the Science Communicator in Residence at York University. Also last year, he was awarded the Fleming Medal for Excellence in Science Communication from the Royal Canadian Institute for Science.
Dan Falk is also one of the write-a-thon experts for ComSciCon-GTA 2020.
Dr. Brittney G. Borowiec (@this_is_brit)
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 of 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.
Personal website: https://www.bgborowiec.com/
Celia Du (@celia_du_)
Celia Du is a freelance science communicator, working with a variety of organizations including RCIScience, Indus Space and Science Rendezvous. Inspired by her time engaging diverse youth with science, Celia pursued an MSc in Science Communication & Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh. She is now passionate about making science more broadly engaging, inclusive and accessible. Her other passions involve finding every coffee and bubble tea shop with oat milk, travelling, and trying new things!
Dr. Victoria Forster (@vickyyyf)
I am a postdoctoral research scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, focusing on pediatric cancer. As well as this, I am also a freelance science writer with regular contributions to Forbes Health, where my articles have clocked up over three million reads. I have also written for several other outlets including The Times, The Guardian and I also write for an oncology-focused website. Outside of writing, I am a passionate science communicator and did a main stage TED talk as one of the class of 2017 Global TED Fellows as well as many other events including SoapBox science and ScienceSlam. I’ve also guest lectured in science communication at Ryerson University, St Mike’s Hospital and Quest University in BC. I am really looking forward to reading the contributions from the graduate students at this year’s ComSciConGTA and helping them develop their articles!
Jesse Hildebrand (@SciJesse)
Jesse Hildebrand is a wide varying science communicator from Toronto. He's the founder of Science Literacy Week across Canada, a former producer for the Story Collider show and currently works as VP of Education for Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants - a digital education non-profit that connects scientists and explorers with kids worldwide. He reads a lot, hopes for better for the Blue Jays and has an unusual fondness for milk.
Stacey Johnson (@msstaceyerin)
Stacey Johnson is the Director, Communications and Marketing at CCRM, a leader in developing and commercializing regenerative medicine-based technologies, and cell and gene therapies. Stacey has over 20 years of experience providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health/life sciences organizations. She has a MSc in Public Relations from the University of Stirling, Scotland, and an honours degree in English and Drama from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Stacey is editor of Signals (www.signalsblog.ca), an award-winning blog for CCRM about regenerative medicine and topics that interest scientists. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
Ki-Youn Kim (@kiyoun_k)
Ki-Youn Kim is a science communication practitioner based in Ottawa who loves engaging with the science communication community. While she started out with two Bachelors in Biology and Neuroscience, she switched to the social sciences for her graduate studies to pursue Science Communication. Her passion lies in disseminating evidence-based best practices, in which she uses her expertise to train scientists and deliver workshops on how to do 'SciComm'. Most of her work is at the intersection of science and creativity: infographics, presentation design, social media, and podcasts.
She is currently a director on the board of Science Writers & Communicators of Canada (SWCC), the 50th Anniversary Chair for SWCC, and the Community Development Coordinator at the Chemical Institute of Canada. Every #SciCommSunday, you can find her sharing #SciComm tips and research on Twitter. (She still hasn’t broken her streak since April 2019!)
Meaghan spent ten years producing and writing for television and radio news shows before switching gears and moving to the Dunlap Institute, where she manages all aspects of the Institute's communications needs. She spends her work days writing, editing, creating content, and managing projects. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and English, and a postgraduate degree in Journalism.
One of her passions is removing knowledge barriers through writing, and she is honoured to be asked to work with this year’s very talented group of ComSciCon GTA graduate students.
Amy Noise (@any_noise)
Amy Noise [she/her] is a writer, storyteller and communications expert specializing in science, health and research.
Amy has a decade of experience helping clients find and tell their stories. She has worked with research groups, health charities and pharmaceutical companies to produce authentic and memorable content, while also writing and presenting on all things #scicomm.
When not at her laptop, you can find Amy in the woods or on the water – ideally without phone reception.
Dr. Michael Reid
Dr. Michael Reid is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. He is also the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Dunlap Institute. He specializes in making astronomy concepts accessible to everyone, whether in the classroom or beyond.
Chris Sasaki (@chrissasaki)
Chris Sasaki is a Toronto-based science writer, author and photographer. He is interested in all scientific disciplines but is particularly fascinated with evolution and astronomy—as well as with the intersection of science, humanism and society. “Science is our best way of understanding the natural world,” he says. “But it is much more than that. Science is culture, and its pursuit ultimately leads to meaning, values and wonder.”
As a writer with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science, Chris writes about the search for answers to questions being asked by researchers within the Faculty’s diverse disciplines. Are there problems that computers fundamentally cannot solve? Why didn’t all the matter and anti-matter in the universe self-annihilate? What lessons can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?
As communications coordinator for the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chris wrote press releases, web content and annual reports describing the institute’s research. At the Royal Ontario Museum’s McLaughlin Planetarium, he wrote and produced scripts for public planetarium shows and presented live shows to visiting school groups. He has also written science and nature books for young readers on subjects ranging from the constellations to codes and secret writing to “creepy crawly critters.”