April 12-April 15, Vancouver, BC



We are working with STAN (Science and Technology Awareness Networks) and Science World on this great event at TELUS World of Science!

Science World British Columbia is a charitable organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province. Science World at TELUS World of Science, in Vancouver, provides children and families with access to cutting-edge, curriculum-linked galleries, films and hands-on educational programs. Our facility also houses the OMNIMAX® Theatre, featuring one of the largest dome screens in the world. These activities inspire the development of inquisitive minds and positive curiosities towards science and technology that lay the groundwork for a thriving, knowledge-based economy for British Columbia.

Canada’s Science and Technology Awareness Network (STAN) enhances the profile and influence of the science and technology education and public awareness sector. STAN is a member driven organization comprising of public and private sector institutions, including government ministries, school boards, corporations, museums, science centres and individuals. The Science and Technology Awareness Network exists to strengthen science and technology culture across Canada. STAN serves as a catalyst for like-minded individuals, institutions, and government agencies to facilitate communication and collaboration, and to focus the power of their collective capacity on increasing Canada’s global competitiveness in the knowledge economy.

Field Trips

TRIUMF: Canada's Particle Accelerator Centre

TRIUMF is one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories. It brings together dedicated physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources, and commercial partners in a way that has established the laboratory as a global model of success. Its large user community is composed of international teams of scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students. Two tours offered one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. There is no additional fee but you will have to register for the tour. 

Behind the Scenes Tour

Experience BC’s iconic science centre located in one of Vancouver’s most recognizable buildings. This tour will take you behind the scenes from green roof to the exhibits team workshop featuring staff from several departments discussing innovation and community engagement. There will also be time for a guided exploration of the current feature exhibition: Ripley’s Believe it or Not and and introduction to Tinkering the Wonder, the new Tinkering Gallery presented by Worksafe BC. Two tours offered one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. There is no additional fee but you will have to register for the tour. 

Science World

Delegates are also invited to explore Science World at any time during the day. There will be a lounge where delegates can visit, catch up with old friends from across the country, and make new like minded friends. 

Science World Galleries & Theatres

Delegate Activities at Science World

Act your Science – Interactive Improvisation Training

Come and share a taste of a communication program developed by Jeff Dunn, in collaboration with SWCC, the Loose  Moose Theatre in Calgary and the University of Calgary. The goal of this presentation is to provide a taste of how improvisation can be used to improve communication skills in science fields. This hands-on exercise will help participants build capacity to communicate science to various audiences by learning how to fail gracefully in public (to help reduce presentation anxiety), how to connect with your audience and how to recognize and use status in personal interactions.

The full program is 10hrs of training. In these 2 shorter sessions, we will sample the program in a fun interactive environment. Be prepared to release your inner thespian. Space is limited to 20 people

Jeff Dunn has been a research scientist in brain and imaging for over 30 years. He has a strong interest in mentoring science trainees to broaden their career skills and has recently been developing programs to improve science communication. One class, gaining traction, is “Act your Science”, a custom designed course using improvisation to improving science communication skills for science trainees. He is an alumni of the Banff Science Communication program where he first experienced improvisation training for science. He has held a Canada Research Chair and has Directed the Experimental Imaging Centre at the University of Calgary since 2004. He has over 150 science publications in diverse journals ranging from Polar Biology to the Journal of Neurotrauma. He has supervised scores of graduate students and taught on subjects including MRI, optical imaging and brain physiology at altitude. His imaging research currently includes multiple sclerosis, brain cancer and concussion.

Video Booth: How I SciComm - go ahead and tell all, we want to know! 

A camera team will be on hand to help you record and upload your 1 minute video about who you are, and how you do your science communications. Here are some questions for you to think about: 

1. Who are you?

2. How do you do your science communications?

3. What's your favourite science trivia? What's something cool you learned when researching a storyWhat's your favourite jargon? What's a word you had to memorizing pronunciation or spelling for a story

A Community of Innovators: 50 Years of TRIUMF


Ask TRIUMF’s spirited founders and emeriti about the humble beginnings of Canada’s particle accelerator centre and you will invariably hear: “This used to be just a big pile of dirt.” You could imagine TRIUMF’s founding members five decades ago standing at the edge of the empty lot nestled between the forest and the sea, contemplating possibilities. But not even TRIUMF’s founders could have imagined the twists and turns of the lab’s 50-year journey, nor the impact that the lab would have on the people of Canada and the world.

Today, on that same 12.8-acre plot of land, TRIUMF houses world-leading research and technology, and fuels Canada’s collective imagination for the future of particle and nuclear physics and accelerator science. Join TRIUMF’s Director Jonathan Bagger and colleagues for an exploration of TRIUMF’s origins, impacts, and possibilities – a story of collaboration that over five decades celebrates a multifaceted community and growing family of 20 Canadian member universities and partners from around the world.  @TRIUMFlab

Town Hall

3:30 pm

How I Scicomm: Mapping the new frontiers of science communication in Canada

To remain a living, growing organization, SWCC recognizes the need for a good understanding of the science communication landscape in Canada. This event explores the diversity of science writing and communication activities on social media in Canada related to public engagement with science. A panel of science writers and communicators will talk about their experiences with public engagement, community building, professional support, and ethics.  Early findings from a study conducted with researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of the Fraser Valley that maps the science writing and communication landscape in Canada will also be presented.  The session facilitator and SWCC President, Tim Lougheed will then invite audience member to talk briefly about their needs from SWCC and what they are most proud about in relation to their work to engage publics online.

Session Facilitator: Tim Lougheed, SWCC President

A full time freelance writer and editor since 1991, Tim Lougheed has written hundreds of articles for specialized and general publications in Canada as well as internationally. He also edits Canadian Chemical News, a magazine published by the Chemical Institute of Canada.

He is the current president of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, a national organization with more than 600 members across the country. His career began as a reporter with the Windsor Star and the Sault Star, then as a science writer for Queen’s University. He has degrees from the University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and Queen’s University.


Samantha Yammie, @science.sam

Kurtis Baute, the Scope of Science blog and Brain Boost Education

Ami Kingdon, Hakai Magazine

Theresa Lao, Science Borealis and Curiosity Collider

Germana Barata, Simon Fraser University

Alexandre Schiele, UQAM East Asia Observatory 

Samantha Yammine

Samantha is a Science Communicator and PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto. She studies how stem cells build and maintain the brain, and shares daily updates from her research lab through social media. She goes by the nickname @science.sam on Instagram (one of the most quickly growing social platforms), where she is one of the largest accounts by a biologist.
This modern approach to science communication emphasizes storytelling, and friendly, 2-way discussions about science, and has started several scicomm and social campaigns including #ScienceSunday, #SkipBenefitNotClass, and #ScientistsWhoSelfie. Sam tweets about science communication from @SamanthaZY, and you can learn more about her at

Germana Barata

Germana Barata is a visiting faculty member at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada, and is a researcher in science communication at the Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism (Labjor), Centre for the Development of Creativity (Nudecri) at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in Brazil. She has a PhD in History of Science from the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil and has worked with science communication and altmetrics as a way to measure the social impact of science on social media. She is currently working on mapping science communicators and writers in Canada focusing on the new landscape on social media.@germanabarata

Theresa Liao

Theresa Liao is the Community Outreach Manager and Tech Lead for Science Borealis, a not-for-profit Canadian Science Blogging network. She works closely with the Science Borealis team to engage and promote Canadian scientists and science communicators through various online channels: social media, online newsletter, and website. Some highlights include the #CdnSciFav (in collaboration with SWCC) and #SciBorSelfies campaigns. She has served as a core team member for Science Borealis since 2012.

Theresa works full-time as the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia. She also co-founded the Curiosity Collider Art-Science Foundation, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization. She is an alumnus of the Banff Science Communications Program, and has more than 10 years of experience in science outreach and communication. Before her Science Communication career, she studied biochemistry and did research about Type 1 Diabetes for her Master’s degree. 

Alexandre Schiele

Alexandre Schiele, Ph. D. (Communication science, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017) is a researcher at the UQAM East Asia Observatory and the former General Coordinator of the Observatory (2011-2016). Previously, he worked as a research assistant at the Interuniversity Research Center on Science and Technology (IRCST) at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). He wrote the report Les observatoires de l’enseignement supérieur (Higher education observatories) (2008), and cosigned Science Communication in Canada: An inventory of the major PCST initiatives carried out in Canada (2011) a report for the Korean Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity (KOFAC). Among his latest communications, are Pseudoscience Communication in Mass Media (2016), PCST international conference (Istanbul, Turkey), and Legalism, State Rationalization Project (2016), International conference on Chinese Classical Thought and Contemporary Politics (Paris, France). Among his publications, of particular interest are Science What? What Concepts are we using? An analysis of official conceptsScience&You (2015), University of Lorraine ; China’s International Attitude of Withdrawal during the 19th Century (2015) Geopolitics, History and International Relations ; and Pu Songling’s All Too Human Surreal Worlds : A Study of the Narrative Structures of Pu Songling’s Supernatural Short Stories (2014), Comparative Literature – East and West

 Evening Event at Science World

7:00pm - 10:00pm

SciComm Shenanigans: Power Point karaoke

Ever felt like you were dying a slow painful death by Power Point? At Power Point karaoke we turn tragedy into comedy for some killer laughs. Volunteer members of the audience treat us to a presentation with irreproducible results. Hosts provide a short deck of randomly selected power point slides that the volunteer presenter has never seen before. Voila. It’s flying by the seat of the pants improvised wacky science [fiction]. Join us!

Lesley Evans Ogden

Jared Stang 

Marcello Pavan


at SFU Harbour Centre

Simon Fraser University opened its Harbour Centre campus in 1989. As BC’s first urban campus, it marked a new era in post-secondary education. Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Harbour Centre offers a variety of meeting, classroom, reception and laboratory spaces. 

Morning Keynote: Oceans

Moderator: Jude Isabella, Editor in Chief, Hakai Magazine, Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective. 


Pete Ross

Dr. Peter S. Ross is the Vice-President of Research at Ocean Wise, an initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium. He holds an Adjunct Professor position at the University of Victoria, and served as a Research Scientist with the Canadian government between 1996 and 2013. He is an authority on marine pollution in Canada, having published over 150 scientific articles and book chapters, with a focus on the source, transport, fate and effects of priority pollutants. He launched the Ocean Pollution Research Program at Ocean Wise in 2014, and continues to lead a solution-oriented microplastic pollution research program.

Andrew Trites

Dr. Andrew Trites, faculty at UBCs Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries 

Jody Wright

Dr. Jody Wright, Director of Communications & Engagement at Clear Seas

Breakout Sessions

Professional Development

Infographics: Worth a Thousand Words with Kate Broadly and Sonya Odsen

Infographics have become a popular way to present results to non-specialist audiences, and they are a very effective tool for sharing science on social platforms. Infographics are more likely to be shared online, where they increase engagement with scientific content on platforms like Twitter.

No art skills? No problem! This session will guide you through the process of creating your own infographic, from crafting your story to telling that story visually, and will include strategies to design effective visuals without having to draw (unless you want to!). Topics will include developing your key messages, making your visuals functional rather than decorative, tips for giving your visuals a professional edge, and the best software options for each artistic skill level. Our goal is to empower you to create a visually-pleasing infographic regardless of your art or drawing experience. At the end of this active session, you will have a draft of your own unique infographic ready to be made digital.

The skills you develop during this session will be readily transferable to other visual media, such as talks, posters, or even creating visuals for blog posts.

Sonya Odsen

Kate Broadley and Sonya Odsen are Science Communicators with Fuse Consulting. Located in Edmonton, Alberta, Fuse is dedicated to communicating cutting-edge research to different audiences in creative and innovative ways. Their ultimate goal is to bring knowledge to life and empower audiences to apply that knowledge in policy, conservation, research, and their day-to-day lives. Every day, Kate and Sonya tackle complex topics and transform them for specific audiences through writing and design. Infographics are one of their favourite tools for conveying information in fun and accessible ways. Their past and current design projects include interpretive signage for Nature Conservancy Canada, twitter-optimized visual abstracts for the Applied Conservation Ecology lab at the University of Alberta, and a series of science-inspired holiday cards. You can see examples of their work at Kate and Sonya are also ecologists by training, each holding an M.Sc. from the University of Alberta.

Professional Development

Communicating Controversial Topics - Eric Jandciu, UBC

Professional Development

Emerging topics in SciComm EthicsBring us your ethical dilemmas.

Science writers and communicators are known for their adeptness at explaining complex technical ideas, but the job also presents its share of human situations where the correct course of action is not always clear. This year, SWCC invites conference registrants to send in a question or ethical dilemmas relating to best practices in the field. From dealing with sources, to conflicts of interest and more, the questions will be taken up by panelists during a special session on ethics and science writing and communications at the conference. (Authorship of questions will be considered anonymous unless otherwise specified.)


Ivan Semeniuk is an award winning science journalist with Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail.  A life-long communicator of scientific discoveries and ideas, he has worked in print and broadcast media for over 20 years and his stories have informed Canadians about topics as diverse as space exploration, genetic engineering and climate change. Prior to joining The Globe and Mail in 2013, he was the Washington-based chief of correspondents for the journal Nature, U.S. bureau chief for New Scientist magazine and producer and columnist with Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet

Mark L. Winston is the recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction for his book Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive. One of the world’s leading experts on bees and pollination, Dr. Winston is also an internationally recognized researcher, teacher and writer. He directed Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue for 12 years, where he founded the Centre’s Semester in Dialogue, a program that creates leadership development opportunities that equip and empower students contribute to social change in communities.As a consultant and thought leader, Dr. Winston partners with universities, corporations, NGOs, governments and communities to advance communication skills, engage public audiences with controversial issues through dialogue, and implement experiential learning and community engagement in educational institutions. As an award-winning writer and editor, he works with students, scientists, other professionals and writers to develop compelling non-fiction, from proposals and newspaper opinion pieces to manuscripts and books. He currently is a Professor and Senior Fellow in Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and a Professor of Biological Sciences.

Dr Bubela is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Previously she was a Professor in the School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor in the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta, Canada. She holds a PhD in biology from the University of Sydney and a JD from the University of Alberta. She joined the faculty of the U Alberta in 2004 after clerking for The Honourable Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada, articling at Field Law LLP in Edmonton, and being called to the bar (Law Society of Alberta) in 2005.   Her research program in intellectual property and health law related to translational biomedical research brings together her legal training and a PhD in biology and expertise in genetics and molecular biology. Her research program focuses on large collaborative science networks in genomics, gene therapy, and stem cell biology, addressing barriers to the effective translation of new technologies. These are varied and include ethical issues, effective communication of risks and benefits among stakeholder groups, commercialization and regulation. She provides advice for Government Health and Science agencies as well as life sciences research communities, and patient organisations. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Stem Cell Network, Genome Canada, and Alberta Innovates, among others. She co-leads the PACEOMICS program on the development of cost-effective personalized medicine and the Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team, which is developing novel gene therapies and conducting a phase I clinical trial of the NighstaRx AAV2-REP1 product for choroideremia. She has over a hundred publications in law, ethics and science policy journals including Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Cell Stem Cell, PLoS Biology, Trends in Biotechnology, American Journal of Bioethics and Science Translational Medicine.

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Policy & Literacy: Canada 2067 - Bonnie Schmidt

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Mapping SciComm Activities in Canada 

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Environmental Panel - SFU FAS - Building a Sustainable World

A diverse panel of experts (from education, research, industry, government and non-profit) will discuss the local and global challenges associated with demands for food, water and energy, and what solutions are being researched and developed here in BC as we pursue a sustainable world.

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Impact of SciComm on Public Perception & Policy (with AI as case study) - Angelica Lim, SFU

Educating Scientists/Reponsibilities to Communicate    

Approaches to Teaching Scientists Communication Panel - Dr Jennifer Gardy, UBC, representing SciCats (, Dr Claire Cupples, Dean of Science SFU, representing the Science Communication Program by SFU Faculty of Science, Dr Burke Cullen, Seneca College, representing the Summer Institute program for science graduate students ( Shapiro, representing LitScientist (   

Publishing/Career Building

Publishing Panel - Hakai, Claire Eamer, Mark Winston, Mark Leiren-Young, Greystone Books

Publishing/Career Building
Alternative science communication careers: Beyond journalist and communications officer
Not all science writers fall into the categories of journalist and organizational communications officer. Outside of these traditional categories, many opportunities exist for exciting, rewarding work that requires the skills of a science writer. This session is all about how you can get clients to pay you for writing about science and technology by thinking slightly outside the box. This session will cover alternative science writing jobs and tasks in the digital world and related to industry.

Panelists will discuss:
- Where do you find these kinds of jobs and assignments?
- What compensation can you expect?
- What skill sets and specializations get you ahead in these jobs?
- Can growing your own online audience result in getting paid?

Kristina Campbell, @bykriscampbell

Kristina Campbell (M.Sc.) covers microbiome science for online and print media. She is author of The Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook (Rockridge Press, 2016) and co-author of an academic textbook, Gut Microbiota: Interactive Effects on Nutrition and Health (Elsevier, 2018). A practiced liason between scientists and industry, she writes, consults, and works with scientific advisory boards for microbiome-related organizations in Europe and North America.

Mika McKinnon @mikamckinnon

Mika McKinnon is a freelance scientist, taking gigs that focus on being excited and curious in public. She's a science communicator with bylines in io9, BBC, New Scientist, Racked, and others, but she also takes that science into fiction, scrawling equations for Stargate or helping Madam Secretary root its plots in real research. When not lurking around set, she tromps around in the mud with high-voltage geophysical equipment scaring bears, or investigates all the ways the planet is trying to murder us.

Josh Silberg @joshsilberg

Josh Silberg has researched everything from humpback whales to whale sharks to rockfish—he just couldn’t decide on one creature to study. After earning a Master’s of Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University, he joined the British Columbia-based Hakai Institute as the Science Communications Coordinator. Now, he gets to share all sorts of coastal science stories through blogs, videos, infographics, and the occasional poem. In his free time, he can be found photographing wildlife, hiking, or searching for creatures in tide pools. 

Sarah Boon @SnowHydro

Sarah Boon (PhD) is a science writer and editor. Her articles about academic culture, women in science, and the environment have appeared or are forthcoming in Nature, Science, Hakai Magazine, Outpost, iPolitics, Canadian Science Publishing, CBC’s The Nature of Things, and Science Contours. Sarah is a co-founder and serves on the Board of Science Borealis. Find out more on her blog, Watershed Moments.

Shelley McIvor

A former analytical chemist, Shelley is a technical writer and communications consultant who specializes in designing content that is relevant, memorable and accessible. Her company specializes in marine applications with audiences and clients that range from non-profits to government, encompassing both the public and private sectors. She brings a wealth of cross-cultural experiences to her projects, exploring different ways to communicate complex technical information that highlight the fascinating human side of [mis]communication.

Beakerhead Mini-Course

Friday, April 13

10:00am - 4:00pm

You’ve been curious about the Banff Science Communications program but have not had the time or money to attend — yet. Here’s your chance to taste the best of Banff in a one-day program tailored for this conference. Spend a day with the program’s founding faculty: leave the conference with a spring in your step and ideas for engaging mainstream audiences. Banff alum are welcome too for a booster shot! Brought to you by Beakerhead, the annual smash-up of art, science and engineering. Biology bit: Beakerhead was incubated in Banff and now offers the made-in-Banff science communications training across the country. Yep, the offspring ate its mother.  Learn more

Note: Space is limited, and will be available on a first come basis. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. There is a fee of $500 (includes conference day rate, including morning keynote and meals) for this event. Full conference delegates receive a discount equal to the day rate. 

Dine Around

Friday, April 13

Last year's event at various restaurants in Gatineau got such high ratings that we're repeating it with downtown restaurants in Vancouver. Here is how it works. Our Vancouver members handpick some great restaurants within walking distance of the SFU Harbour Centre in different price ranges and book them for 8 people. You pick your restaurant when you register and then on lucky Friday the 13th you'll be dining with 7 other random delegates who also picked that same restaurant. This is a pay as you go event. 



Burrard Location Downtown



Gastown Location

Bao Bei


Alibi Room

Pub Fare



Guu with Otokomae, Gastown 


Pacific Northwest Local



Royal Dinette

Pacific Northwest Local

Davie Dosa Co. 

South Indian

Jang Mo Jib


Saturday April 14, 2018

Morning Keynote: Cannabis


Dr. Terry Lake

Terry Lake is the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Hydropothecary Corporation, a licensed producer of medical cannabis in Gatineau Quebec. Before returning to the private sector, Terry served as a member of the BC Legislature for Kamloops with appointments as Environment Minister and Health Minister. He was Mayor of Kamloops and an instructor of Animal Health Technology at Thompson Rivers University. Prior to his career as a veterinarian, Terry was a broadcast journalist in Alberta working for Broadcast News, a division of Canadian Press. Lake was awarded Canada’s Public Health Hero Award by the Canadian Public Health Association for his ground breaking harm reduction initiatives launched in the face of BC’s opioid epidemic. He maintains a keen interest in public health and is an advocate of exploring the use of cannabis as a substitute for opioids and other substances.


Dr. Jenna Valleriani is a Post Doctoral Fellow at the BC Centre on Substance Use in the Qualitative and Community Based Research Program. Her research focuses on cannabis, policy and vulnerable populations. At the BCCSU, Jenna is interested in developing cannabis related research that strives to understand, explain and help solve challenges and needs that are identified alongside community members, and which centralizes a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process. Her past research at the University of Toronto looked at legal and illegal cannabis markets in Canada, particularly the role of social movements and entrepreneurship in an emerging legal cannabis industry. In the past, Jenna also designed and instructed a fourth year seminar at the University of Toronto titled, "Marijuana Policy in the 21st Century". Jenna is the Strategic Advisor for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP), and is currently leading the development of a youth cannabis education toolkit and youth workshops on cannabis legalization. Her public commentary on cannabis policy in Canada has been featured in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Huffington Post, as well as CBC's "Power and Politics".

Breakout Sessions

Professional Development

On Copyright, Ethics and Attribution: Interdisciplinary Collaborations Between Artists and Scientists

Interdisciplinary work is stimulating and can open opportunities for innovation, but it can also raise ethical questions and challenges. If the guidelines and requirements do not completely overlap, which ones should be followed?In this session, we will explore the ethics of using an artist’s work in a scientific context, addressing the following aims:

1.To provide a cultural understanding of how art is used in a scientific context

2.To define proper attribution in oral, performance, and written work

3.To raise awareness of when attribution and/or royalties are due to the artist whose work is being used in a scientific context: when is citing enough and when should an artist be paid?

We will work through case studies, followed by a discussion with a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds. Meet our panellists: 

Martha Rans 

Martha has been a lawyer for over 20 years. Her Vancouver-based law practice specializes in the legal needs of non-profits, charities and digital creatives. She spent 10 years as labour employment and human rights lawyer/mediator with the BC and Ontario governments. She has appeared before administrative tribunals, provincial and BC Supreme Court. She advises on charity law, incorporation, governance, privacy, employment, labour, health & safety and human rights.

Martha is an advocate for public legal education and information. She is the founder of a resource dedicated to the non profit sector. She is the Legal Director of the Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society and the Artists' Legal Outreach, which provides advice, information and education to thousands of BC's creators and non profits. She is also a copyright educator and teaches the next generation of artists and designers at post-secondary schools across Canada.

Kate Campbell

Kate Campbell has been working as a biomedical communications specialist for the past 7 years. Incorporating both traditional and digital techniques, Kate creates unique and specialized visualizations, animations and interactive media to communicate scientific and medical content. You might find her work published in print (such as textbooks, journal articles, brochures and booklets) or as digitally media (such as website, interactive tools, videos or slideshow presentations). More recently, since 2015, Kate has developed a library of evidence based and accredited online courses for healthcare practitioners across the province in her role as Senior Instructional Designer with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD). At UBC CPD, Kate designs online courses and educational material by translating knowledge from subject matter experts into engaging, visually rich and interactive digital media. Her current focus is to enhance learner experiences in order to create lasting educational and behavioural outcomes.

Steven J. Barnes 

Dr. Steven Barnes is the Assistant Head of Undergraduate Affairs in UBC's Department of Psychology.  He is well known for his work related to student mental health and wellbeing.  Steven is also an accomplished artist--his current art practice is centered around the production of new media pieces that aim to inspire dialogue on the ways we think about and use modern technologies.  He also continues to produce drawings and paintings.  Steven is co-author of a best-selling textbook on Behavioural Neuroscience, Biopsychology 10th edition (Pearson). @ sj_barnes



Theresa Liao, Co-founder and Community Relations Director, Curiosity Collider

Theresa Liao is the Co-founder and Community Relations Director for Curiosity Collider Art-Science Foundation, a Vancouver based non-profit organization. Curiosity Collider is committed to providing opportunities for artists whose work expresses scientific concepts and scientists who collaborate with artists. We challenge the perception and experience of science in our culture, break down the walls between art and science, and engage our growing community to bringing life to the concepts that describe our world.

Theresa works at UBC Department of Physics & Astronomy as the Communications Coordinator. Between 2012 and 2016, she maintained her blog, "Science, I Choose You" with a focus on science outreach and women in science. She has served on the core team for Science Borealis, a Canadian Science Blogging network, since 2012. She is an alumnus of the Banff Science Communications Program, and has more than 10 years of experience in science outreach and communication. Twitter: @theresaliao and @ccollider


Sarah Louadi, Core Consultant (Science, Art, Dance), Voirelia

Photo credits: Ivan Yastrebov

Sarah Louadi is a Core Consultants for Voirelia, a Vancouver-based hub that brings together dancers, photographers, painters, psychologists, musicians, scientists, and people who are simply curious about dance and psychology. We aim to create original dance and art works inspired by ideas in psychology and existential philosophy.

She is currently completing a Master’s in Experimental Medicine at UBC, where she studies the interaction between protein aggregates and the brain immune cells in Alzheimer’s disease. Sarah has led multiple projects, such as monthly speaker series with the UBC Mental Health Awareness Club for 5 years and incorporating a summer Art Therapy program in a seniors centre in 2015. She was the co-lead for the creation of a dance on traumatic brain injury for the Universe of the Brain at the HR. MacMillan Centre, as one of the first Voirelia projects. Twitter: @AVSotskova


Professional Development

Story Pitching Session - Mika McKinnon & Brian Owens

Professional Development

Digital Tools for Science Communicators - Emily Chung

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Science, sexism and storytelling

Let’s face it: Science is still a male-dominated field where gender bias abounds, so it’s no surprise those issues come up in the news too, from the Google manifesto to the Tim Hunt-inspired #distractinglysexy campaign. What issues are facing women in science that science communicators should be aware of? How should we acknowledge and be mindful of gender bias when telling scientists’ stories? And what kinds of tools exist to help us be part of the solution? Join us for a lively discussion.


Dr. Gail Murphy

Dr. Gail Murphy assumed the role of Vice-President, Research & Innovation on August 14, 2017.

Dr. Murphy is a Professor in UBC’s Department of Computer Science and was formerly Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Science. After completing her B.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 1987, she worked for five years as a software engineer in the Lower Mainland. She later pursued graduate studies in computer science at the University of Washington,earning first an M.Sc. (1994) and then a Ph.D (1996).

Dr. Murphy joined UBC in 1996 and was a key driver of the new Masters of Data Science, aprofessional graduate program launching this fall—and has been instrumental in championing the creation of a Data Science Institute at the university. She also maintains an active research group with post-doctoral and graduate students.

Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage and coordinate the information that matters most for their work. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Scientist, as well as co-founder, board member and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop Technologies Incorporated.

Christin Wiedemann

After finishing her Ph.D. in Physics at Stockholm University in 2007, Christin Wiedemann started working in IT as a software developer, but soon discovered that she found software testing to be more interesting and challenging. Changing careers, she started working as a tester, and soon also test lead and trainer. In 2011, she joined PQA Testing in Vancouver as a test lead, and was promoted in 2013 to Regional Delivery Manager. In 2014, she assumed the role of Chief Scientist, using her scientific background to drive PQA’s research and method development. In 2015 she was promoted to Co-CEO; a role focused on service delivery excellence.

Christin is a passionate advocate for women in STEM, a passion she pursues through work and volunteering. Christin is President of SCWIST, the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the BC Chapter of WCT, Women in Communications and Technology.

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Ocean Science and Technology Projects - Nicola Jones, Freelance writer (moderator), Greig Bethel, Media Relations Officer at Ocean Networks Canada, Susan R. Eaton, Founder & Leader, Sedna Epic Expedition

Frontiers in SciComm Policy & Practice

Parks Canada - google expeditions and virtual reality tours - behind the scenes

Be ready to experience Parks Canada's cool new VR system for yourself during this session. And walk through the steps Parks Canada went through to decide to adopt it, and how it went from a suggestion to a practical display at the Byward Market in Ottawa last summer. Jeff Bolingbroke

In the meantime, right now - you can enjoy the google expeditions of these British Columbia Parks. Clicking each link below will send you directly to the content within Google maps. For more information about exploring this content, go to: How to explore using Google Street View.

Publishing/Career Building

Open Access Science Panel - Tim Lougheed, Rebecca Ross

Publishing/Career Building

Science Online in Canada

The internet has long represented the frontier of science communication, as newsroom budgets are slashed and print newspapers closed or downsized. A 2014 report from the Canadian Council of Academies noted that “Canadians increasingly rely on the internet for information on science and technology topics.” Scientists and science communicators have thus developed various strategies to connect directly with the public through online outlets. These outlets include science blogs, combined journalism/communications organizations like The Conversation, content aggregation and curation websites, and scientific content created by universities and other science-related organizations. 

We’ll discuss the rationale behind each communication model and how it’s structured, the target audience for each one and what it means for writing style—and finally, practical tips from experienced writers on how to connect with these outlets and, through them, successfully contribute to online scientific conversations.

Moderator: Sarah Boon @SnowHydro

Sarah Boon (PhD) is a science writer and editor. Her articles about academic culture, women in science, and the environment have appeared or are forthcoming in NatureScienceHakai MagazineOutpostiPolitics, Canadian Science Publishing, CBC’s The Nature of Things, and Science Contours. Sarah is a co-founder and serves on the Board of Science Borealis. Find her at Watershed Moments

Panel member: Theresa Liao @TheresaLiao

Theresa Liao is the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia. She is usually busy planning science conferences and public events, writing/editing research stories, running after physics summer camp kids, and managing the department’s website and social media channels. Between 2012 and 2016, she maintained her blog, "Science, I Choose You" with a focus on science outreach and women in science. She has served on the core team for Science Borealis, Canada’s science blog network, since 2012; she is currently Tech Lead and Community Outreach Manager. Theresa also co-founded the Curiosity Collider Art-Science Foundation, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization. She is an alumnus of the Banff Science Communications Program, and has more than 10 years of experience in science outreach and communication. Before her Science Communication career, she studied biochemistry and did research about Type 1 Diabetes for her Master’s degree. 

Panel member: Heather Walmsley

Heather Walmsley is the Health & Medicine and Education editor at The Conversation Canada. She is a journalist and interdisciplinary researcher with an MA in postcolonial literatures and a PhD in the ethics and anthropology of biomedicine. From 2012-15 she was a SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia. She has also worked as a research associate in science journalism at Concordia University, staff writer for Internet Magazine, website editor for Greenpeace UK and freelance education writer for The Independent. Heather has consulted for numerous organizations, including Institute for Development Studies (UK), Mayo Clinic (US), Genome Canada, BC Cancer Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada.

Panel Member: Kristina Campbell, @bykriscampbell

Kristina Campbell (MSc) covers microbiome science for online and print media. She is the author of The Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook (Rockridge Press, 2016) and a co-author of an academic textbook: Gut Microbiota: Interactive Effects on Nutrition and Health (Elsevier, 2018). She writes, consults, and works with scientific advisory boards for microbiome-related organizations throughout Europe and North America.

Panel Member:  David Ng @Ng_Dave

David Ng ( is a geneticist, science literacy academic, part time writer, and faculty based at the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia.  As Director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory (AMBL), he has had extensive experience in online science communication having initiated a myriad of web-based projects - many of which incorporate science education/literacy elements with the creative and design arts. Of note: (1) he is partly responsible for the massive DNA helix emblazoned on his building’s facade; (2) his Dad beat up Bruce Lee; (3) his first foray into general publishing featured a unicorn on the front cover; and (4) his wife and kids are all exemplary.



Choice of Field Trips

Snorkel Safari: Bringing The Ocean to Eye Level

Sunday, April 15, 10:00am to 3:00pm

Sea Dragon Charters, Horseshoe Bay

Don a wetsuit, mask, fins and snorkel, and plunge beneath the waves of Howe Sound. British Columbia’s nutrient rich waters are home to world-renowned marine biodiversity—kelp forests, colorful invertebrates, rock fish nurseries, and numerous species of whales and dolphins. 

The snorkel safari provides an intimate, experiential learning opportunity: Participants will explore the Pacific Ocean’s intricate web of life and discuss how warming oceans are pushing some species to the edge. Lucky snorkelers may experience up-close-and-personal encounters with harbor seals at Pam Rocks (they like chewing on white-colored fins!). 

SWCC member and polar snorkeler Susan R. Eaton will lead the snorkel safari. Jett Britnell, BC-based underwater, wildlife and expedition photographer, will document the snorkel safari for the SWCC. Water safety will be provided by certified snorkel guides with Sea Dragon Charters of Horseshoe Bay. All equipment, including sea kayaks, is included in the excursion. Participants must be able to swim confidently. A non-snorkeler ride-along discount is also available. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided on the boat. Space is limited and available on a first come basis. 

For more details:

$120 Snorkel and Kayak

$90 Non-snorkeler ride-along option

Note: Transportation not included in price: City Express Bus from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay is recommended

Leader: Susan R. Eaton

A geoscientist, journalist and conservationist, Susan R. Eaton explores the world’s oceans—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, a unique land-sea-ice-air interface where charismatic animals and snorkelers co-mingle. She studies the interplay of plate tectonics, oceans, glaciers, climate and life in polar regions. The founder and leader of the 2014-2018 Sedna Epic Expedition, Susan documents disappearing sea ice in the Arctic and delivers ocean education outreach to Inuit youth. Team Sedna is comprised of women ocean explorers, scientists, educators, artists and scuba divers from around the world.

In 2015, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (the “RCGS”) named Susan one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers and trailblazers. A year later, the RCGS named her one of Canada’s 25 greatest female explorers. A graduate of Carleton University’ School of Journalism, Susan began her media career in as an on-camera news reporter with CBC-TV. Today, as a freelance writer, she reports on science and technology, business, energy, the environment, space, geotourism and adventure travel. @SusanREaton_Geo

Royal BC Museum, Victoria

10:00 am - 2:00pm

Delegates are invited to make their own way to Victoria via float plane, ferry connector bus, or public transit  to participate in the sessions organized for Sunday, April 15. If plan to fly home from Victoria, the Victoria International Airport, YYJ, is 30km away (half hour by taxi) with direct and connecting flights all over Canada.

Royal BC Museum, Victoria

10:00 am - 2:00pm

Science Communications at the Epicentre, Municipal & Provincial Policy in Victoria, with University of Victoria

Building Relationships and Engaging Indigenous Communities

Food Truck Lunch

The Science Behind the Scenes at RBCM

The Royal BC Museum is known for immersive diorama’s that locate visitors within the landscape of BC and highlight the diverse views of its Natural History. But how do the exhibits come to be, and what is the science that happens behind the scenes? This tour will take a secret passage to the other side of the displays, and showcase the collection of specimens that make the museum so valuable. The tour will be led by museum educator Amina Chergui, with a visit and conversation with a Royal BC Museum Natural History Curator.

Free time in museum or to explore Victoria

Things to do in downtown Victoria (within a block or two of RBCM)

High Tea at the Empress Hotel

Shopping on Government Street

Visit Beacon Hill Park

Travel to Victoria from Vancouver


The most convenient, comfortable and expensive way to get to downtown Victoria from downtown Vancouver is via Harbour Air Seaplanes. A 35 minute flight offers unparalleled views of the Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands. Registered delegates will get a 20% conference discount. Detailed information is on the Travel and Accommodation page. Last minute specials are also often offered for $99. RBCM is a short waterfront walk from the float plane. Departure from Vancouver is Burrard Landing, Canada Place

BC Ferries Connector Bus

BC Ferries has a connector bus. The bus can be boarded at several locations in downtown Vancouver, including major hotels, or on board the ferry at Tsawwassen. It can still be pricey, the fare from the Vancouver Fairmont Hotel to downtown Victoria is $70+ (but does include your ferry ticket). More information at

Public Transit

Much less expensive (but also less comfortable and less convenient) is public transit. There are two different Canada Line trains from Waterfront Station. One goes to YVR/Airport, and the other goes to Bridgeport Station. Take the Bridgeport Station train to the terminus at Bridgeport. Go downstairs to street level and board the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal bus. Disembark at the ferry terminal, purchase your Swartz Bay ticket and walk on. On board you can either purchase a BC Ferries Connector ticket (see above) for $30+ or disembark from the ferry at Swartz Bay and take the #70 bus to downtown Victoria. 


BC Ferries runs every hour on the odd hour from 7am to 9pm between Tsawwassen (30km outside Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (35km north of Victoria). A vehicle and driver usually cost ~$73 one way. Schedules and reservations are found at

RBCM is located right across from the Victoria bus station on the inner harbour. You are minutes away from the Empress Hotel, sightseeing, waterfront walking and shopping where you can relax and absorb everything you’ve learned! It’s the perfect end to a busy conference.

Where to stay in Victoria

Best Western Inner Harbour

Days Inn – Victoria on the harbour

Hotel Grande Pacific

Flying Home from Victoria 

The Victoria International Airport, YYJ, is 30km away (half hour by taxi) with direct and connecting flights all over Canada.

Travel and Accommodation information is available here

Register Here