Invited Experts


HandmanJim Handman
Jim Handman is Executive Director of the Science Media Centre of Canada. Before joining the SMCC in 2017, he spent 17 years as Executive Producer of the award-winning CBC Radio science program, Quirks & Quarks. During that time, Jim won numerous prizes for science journalism, including the prestigious Walter Sullivan Award from the AGU. He has also taught broadcast journalism at Ryerson University, was Science-Writer-in-Residence at the Journalism School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was the CanWest-Global Fellow in Media at Western University, where he taught a graduate seminar in science journalism. Jim is a frequent speaker on the topic of science and the media, and also conducts training workshops in communications for scientists in Canada and the US.


Panel 1: Communicating through Media/Jornalism:

GardyJennifer Gardy (@jennifergarrdy)
Dr. Jennifer Gardy is both a scientist and a science communicator. In her science life, she recently moved to a leadership role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after a decade in public health research, where she worked on ways to use DNA sequencing as a tool to track outbreaks of infectious disease. On the science communication side, she’s active both on screen and in print. She’s hosted multiple episodes of CBC Television’s The Nature of Things, and was a regular guest host on Discovery Channel Canada’s science newsmagazine Daily Planet. She’s also written a kids’ book about science, and regularly talks to grad students and trainees about how to improve their science communication skills.

PicardAndré Picard (@picardonhealth)
André Picard has been a health columnist at The Globe and Mail for over 30 years and the author of five bestselling books. He was named Canada’s first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association, as a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his dedication to improving healthcare. His advocacy work has been honoured by a number of consumer health groups, including Safe Kids Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and the Canadian Hearing Society. André is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (BCommerce) and Carleton University (BJournalism).

poinarHendrik Poinar
Hendrik Poinar is an evolutionary geneticist who trained in California, Germany and the UK before accepting a CRC position at McMaster University in 2003. He’s an interdisciplinarian by choice with broad interests in microbial genomics, ancient DNA, paleoecology, phylogeography (to name a few) and enjoys science ‘at the margins’ or ‘crossections’ of different fields of research. He has been actively involved in the isolation, characterization and analysis of nucleic acids ‘collected' from archival, forensic, archeological and paleontological human and microbial remains. Recently he and his team at the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, have used novel targeted enrichment techniques to ‘capture’ and sequence the genome of extinct animals and pathogens. These sequences are used to address questions about animal population dynamics and extinctions over and through major climatic shifts during the Pleistocene, as well as trying to better characterize the dynamics of infectious disease in ancient pandemics.

hoagHannah Hoag (@hannahh)
Hannah Hoag is a freelance journalist and editor based in Toronto. Her work has taken her to the tropical rainforests of Guyana, inside the guts of a particle accelerator in Australia, and on research ships sailing through the Arctic Ocean (twice). She is the energy and environment editor at The Conversation Canada, an independent and non-profit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts, and a contributing editor for Spectrum, a website offering news and analysis on autism research. Previously, she was the founding editor of Arctic Deeply, a digital media project dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of the circumpolar Arctic. She has written for a wide variety of publications, including Science, Nature, Wired, Maclean’s, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and others. She completed a Master’s in biology at McGill University and a Master’s in science and medical journalism at Boston University.


Panel 2: Communicating with Diverse Audiences:

duoduEugenia Duodu (@EugeniaDuodu)
Eugenia Duodu is the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning (, a charitable organization that empowers youth from low-income communities through meaningful engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). She is an educator, speaker, community organizer and advocate who is passionate about creating equitable opportunities for youth to achieve their full potential. Eugenia Duodu holds both an HB.Sc. in Chemistry and Biology and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Toronto.



neilsonHilding Neilson (@astrocanuck)
Hilding Neilson is an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto and is a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaw First Nation from Newfoundland and Labrador. He is an interdisciplinary scientist and educator working to blend Indigenous knowledges into astronomy curriculum with the goal of Indigenizing astronomy in Canada. His research also focuses on probing the physics of stars from those like our Sun to the biggest, most massive stars and how we use these stars as laboratories to better understand our Universe from cosmology to extrasolar planets.

kirouacJacques Kirouac
Directeur général de Science pour tous depuis 2003, Jacques Kirouac chapeaute l’événement 24 heures de science depuis sa création en 2006. Cet événement rejoint maintenant plus de 35 000 participants avec plus de 500 activités partout à travers le Québec. Animateur et administrateur, il a étudié à l’UQAM en animation et recherche culturelle au milieu des années 1970. Il a également été Directeur de la Société québécoise de spéléologie de 1990 à 2003, et précédemment de la Fédération québécoise du loisir photographique (FQLP) et de l’Association pour le jeune cinéma québécois (APJCQ). Il est également formateur pour le Réseau québécois de ressources en formation du Conseil québécois du loisir et pour l’Unité régionale de loisir et de sport de l’île de Montréal. Il est aussi membre de l’équipe des Innovateurs à l’école et à la bibliothèque où il présente la spéléologie québécoise. Jacques Kirouac a coordonné la publication du livre La Science pour tous aux Éditions MultiMondes et a aussi été à l’origine du numéro spécial des 25 ans de spéléologie québécoise encarté dans le magazine Québec Science de juillet-août 1996. Jacques Kirouac anime plusieurs groupes de science, notamment depuis 2013, chaque mois des activités scientifiques pour le Boisé-des-Douze dans sa municipalité. Il a d’ailleurs reçu un certificat hommage pour son implication.

barrrowsAna Sofia Barrows (@Sofia_Barrows)
Ana Sofia is a highly knowledgeable Diversity and Inclusion Specialist. She has a multidisciplinary educational background in Physics, Leadership & Inclusion, and Human Resources Management, with over 5 years of project planning and coordination experience, and 3 years in diversity and inclusion coordination. She graduated from Ryerson University with a BSc (Hons) in Medical Physics and is currently working towards her Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP) designation. She has coordinated multiple events focused on advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in science, and was invited alongside Dr. Imogen Coe to talk about the lack of diversity in STEM on CBC's On the Money. Ana Sofia has written on how to avoid microaggressions in the workplace for publications such as the Canadian Science Policy Centre and Latinos Magazine.


Panel 3: Communicating throug Policy and Activism:

gibbsKatie Gibbs (@katiegibbs)
Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa in Biology, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’—one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie co-founded Evidence for Democracy, Canada's leading, national, non partisan, and not- for-profit organization promoting science and the transparent use of evidence in government decision making. Her ongoing success in advocating for the restoration of public science in Canada has made Katie a go-to resource for national and international media outlets including Science, The Guardian and the Globe and Mail. Katie has also been involved in international efforts to increase evidence-based decision-making and advises science integrity movements in other countries.

sungVanessa Sung (@sung_vanessa)
Vanessa is a science policy analyst at the Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada. She completed her PhD at McGill University, where her work focused on mechanisms of tumour initiation in breast cancer. Alongside her research, she was a co-president of Science & Policy Exchange, a non-profit organization working to provide platforms for elevating the student voice in science advocacy, communication, and evidence-informed policy-making. Vanessa was instrumental in leading #Students4theReport in support of the Fundamental Science Review and continues to be a passionate advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in science.


maxwellRachael Maxwell (@RachAelCMaxwell)
Rachael Maxwell joined Genome Canada in 2018 and serves as the Manager of Public Affairs and Communications. She manages the planning and execution of communication activities, as well as the management of key stakeholder relations. Previously at Mitacs, she worked as the Program Lead for the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, where she managed the design and delivery of the program from its inception through its first three cohorts. Rachael is also a member of the Board of the Directors at the Science and Policy Exchange. She is passionate about working at the intersection of academia, government and industry, and continues to learn how serve society through science and policy. She speaks regularly to government and academic audiences at home and abroad about the need for better mechanisms to connect science and policy.

bourassa2Carrie Bourassa
Dr. Carrie Bourassa is the Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH). Through IIPH, she leads the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada. First housed in the Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, the Institute is now operating from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon where she is a tenured Professor in the Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine. Dr. Bourassa spent over 15 years as a professor of Indigenous health studies in the Department of Indigenous Health, Education and Social Work at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and a public member of the Royal College Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. In 2012, Dr. Bourassa won the Wiichihiwayshinawn Foundation Inc. Métis Award in Health and Science. Dr. Bourassa is Métis and belongs to the Riel Métis Council of Regina Inc. (RMCR, Local #34). She earned her Master of Arts degree in political science and Ph.D. in social studies at the University of Regina.


Panel 4: Communicating throug Education/Outreach:

duvalJulie Bolduc-Duval (@jbolducduval @DU_astronomie/@DU_astronomy)
Julie Bolduc-Duval is the director of the national astronomy training program Discover the Universe/À la découverte de l’Univers where she trains teachers and informal educators across Canada and abroad. For the last 15 years, she has been involved in astronomy and science education both in formal and informal education settings in BC and Quebec. Passionate about education and the power of science to make the world a better place, Julie collaborates with educators and professionals around the globe.

hollisLauren Hollis
Lauren is a Program Support Coordinator at Let’s Talk Science, a national, charitable organization committed to helping children and youth fulfill their potential and prepare for their future careers and role as citizens. She supports a network of thousands of university and college students across Canada by providing training, resources and support. Lauren has traveled from coast-to-coast-to-coast to work with volunteers to deliver meaningful hands-on/minds-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experiences. Her role also includes designing and delivering professional development opportunities to support the career readiness of post-secondary student volunteers. She received a PhD in Physiology and Biochemistry from Western University in 2014.

jacobsShoshana Jacobs (@shoshanahjacobs)
Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (they/them) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. Their research and teaching in biology and transdisciplinary education seeks to identify and reduce the barriers to access that high impact teaching can present. They are the co-founder of a barrier reduced curricular experiential learning program called IdeasCongress that brings students from all year levels and disciplines together to learn foundational skills in a community-engaged project. Dr. Jacobs also does research on seabird foraging ecology in the Arctic where questions range from how to use foraging data to monitor ocean changes? to how individuals select others to mate? Their work has been recognised in the awarding of the Distinguished Professor in Teaching Excellence Award (2015) and the YM/WCA Woman of Distinction Award (2018). A polar expedition leader in their previous career, they continue to lead expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. The next one is for women and is scheduled for July 2020. A full supporter of #AcademicTwitter, you can find them at @shoshanahjacobs.


Workshop Facilitators:

bentlyJocelyn Bently (Video Production)
Jocelyn founded Science Media Creator to combine her degrees in film and neuroscience. She is currently producing
a series with Let’s Talk Science that profiles STEM careers. Filmed in both video and 360, the profiles have been shown to youth across the country. Career locations include Ubisoft’s motion capture studio, a palladium mine, and an ice cream factory.


jenkinsonJodie Jenkinson (Data Visualization; @jodie_jenkinson)
Jodie Jenkinson is an Associate Professor and the Director of Biomedical Communications at University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in Education (University of Toronto), specializing in cognition and learning, with a focus on technology in education. She is the principle investigator of the Science Visualization Lab (, where her research focuses on the role that visual representations play in learning. This includes investigation along various lines of inquiry including the efficacy of visual media within different learning contexts, the design of visual representations for optimal impact, and the development of standards of visual communication in the scientific visualization community.

gibbsKatie Gibbs (Science Policy; @katiegibbs)
Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa in Biology, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’—one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie co-founded Evidence for Democracy, Canada's leading, national, non partisan, and not- for-profit organization promoting science and the transparent use of evidence in government decision making. Her ongoing success in advocating for the restoration of public science in Canada has made Katie a go-to resource for national and international media outlets including Science, The Guardian and the Globe and Mail. Katie has also been involved in international efforts to increase evidence-based decision-making and advises science integrity movements in other countries.

barrChantal Barriault (Performing Research in Science Communication; @chantalOnwatin)
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.

reidMichelle Reid (Performing Research in Science Communication; @reidskii)
Michelle Reid is a graduate of McMaster’s Arts and Sciences program (2012), holds an MSc in Environmental Geochemistry and is a graduate of our Science Communication Graduate program. Since graduating from Science Communication in 2015, Michelle has co-produced close to 50 short films and 30 animated lectures for an online course at Laurentian called “Environmental Remediation: Global Lessons from the Sudbury Story”. As our program’s Technical Advisor, she is also an instructor for courses such as Design Theory in Science Communication, Communicating and Presenting Research, and Communicating Science Through Traditional Media.


Cherilyn van Berkel (Creative Storytelling)
Cherilyn is a storyteller at heart. Having used stories to mentor others throughout her career in healthcare and while teaching social work students. She has experimented with storytelling through writing and digital storytelling techniques. She was trained in digital storytelling at the Centre for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California, and has experimented with using digital storytelling as a research methodology and as a means of sharing patient experiences in healthcare. She is a member of Steel City Stories.

Lisa Hunt (Creative Storytelling) 
Lisa Hunt told her first story at a Steel City Stories event 3 years ago and fell in love with storytelling. She has facilitated workshops to teach storytelling to others, both with Steel City Stories and on her own. Stories are a big part of her life outside of storytelling events and workshops as she works as both a clerk at the Hamilton Public Library as well as a bookseller.

riskinDan Riskin (Media Interview Skills; @riskindan)
Dr. Dan Riskin is a bat biologist, author, and science communicator. For seven years he was the co-host of Discovery Canada’s flagship science program, Daily Planet. In the US, he appears on Animal Planet’s new show Nature’s Strangest Mysteries: Solved, and in Canada is Science Correspondent for NewsTalk1010 Radio and Science and Tech Expert for CP24 and CTV. His first book, Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You was a Canadian bestseller.





Science Art Gala

HoKaryn Ho
Karyn Ho is a science animator and biomedical engineer who thrives at the interface between medicine and art. She uses the depth and breadth of her academic and industry experience to craft award-winning science visualizations. Karyn creates worlds that are often invisible to the eye, bringing cameras to the inner workings of anatomy, imagining the microscopic world of cells as delightful landscapes, and visualizing molecular and nanoscale data that are beyond the wavelength of light. In addition to visual science communication, Karyn also writes short science articles weekly for Research2Reality, a non-profit online initiative that brings Canadian research to the public. With thousands of followers, Karyn covers topics that range from quantum materials to the genetic basis of migration paths. Karyn is also a trained medical illustrator with a master's degree in biomedical communications. This accredited program is the only one of its kind in Canada.

Julia Buntaine Hoel
Julia Buntaine Hoel is a conceptual artist and founding Executive Director of SciArt Initiative. Julia attained her double BA in neuroscience and sculpture from Hampshire College, her post-baccalaureate certificate in Studio Art from Maryland Institute College of Art, and her MFA of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including shows in New York City, Amherst, Baltimore, Seattle, Madison, Princeton, London, Toronto, Knokke, Sofia, and others. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of New York University and Johns Hopkins University, and has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, and Smithsonian Magazine, among others. She also teaches, consults, curates, and frequently writes about art, and holds positions at multiple academic institutions where she helps generate science-art-technology collaboration and curricula. Julia is based in Cambridge, MA.

Myron Groover
Myron Groover is McMaster University’s Archives and Rare Books Librarian. He read History at the University of Aberdeen and went on to pursue the MAS and MLIS at the University of British Columbia. His work currently focuses on collection development, advocacy, and pedagogy in archives and book history. The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections is the principal repository for rare books, archives, antiquarian maps, and related historical material at McMaster University. Our book collections encompass over 100,000 volumes dating from the 12th century to the present day, with particular strengths in early modern philosophy, literature, political economy, social history, and the history of science. Our archival collections, spanning over 4 linear kilometers, specialise in Canadian literature, publishing, peace and war, labour history, and sociopolitical radicalism. Among them are the papers of Bertrand Russell, Vera Brittain, Jack McClelland, Farley Mowat, and many other figures and organisations of note.