This page is dedicated to our Lifetime Members who were chosen because of their incredible work and contributions to the SWCC (formerly the CSWA) and to the advancement of science communications.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to these individuals and invite you to read more about them. Scroll on...
Joan Hollobon, O.C., grew up outside Rhyl, Wales where she graduated from high school. During the latter part of World War II, she worked as a volunteer administrative and press officer with the British Red Cross and the St. John War organization in Rhyl, Wales. She then continued to work for a number of organizations across Europe before landing back in the United Kingdom. Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1952, Joan worked for The Reader’s Digest in London, England.
Having a liking for journalism, Joan went to see Ken McTaggart at The Globe and Mail. He counselled her about possible work opportunities and two weeks later, Joan became a reporter at The Northern Daily News in the town of Kirkland Lake in northern Ontario, at the time a booming goldmine centre. Her first job as a journalist in Canada was as the women’s editor for The Northern Daily News at $30 a week, at first covering women’s social news such as weddings, but later she covered many major news assignments.
After working for the The Northern Daily News for 18 months, Joan went on to work for The Daily Nugget and, finally, The Globe and Mail in Toronto until she retired in 1985. During that time, she acquired a reputation as a master of the art and science of medical reporting.
Joan is a founding member and she was elected the first female president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association in 1974 for the 1974-1975 term. She served as the CSWA Chair, Science and Society Journalism Awards Committee from 1985-1999.
In 2010, at the age of 90 years old, Joan Hollobon was awarded the Canadian Science Writers’ Association (CSWA) Lifetime Achievement Award, presented for the first time in the history of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association (established in 1971) by then CSWA president Kathryn O’Hara to Joan Hollobon in recognition of her lifetime contributions to increasing public awareness of science and technology in Canadian culture and her pursuit of excellence in science journalism. Joan Hollobon was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2019 in recognition of her contribution to medical communication in Canada.
Tim has been writing and editing science news as a freelancer for more than 30 years, working with a wide range of organizations over that time. This experience has allowed him to gain an extraordinary perspective on all aspects of how science and technology operate — not just high-profile discoveries and publications that we all love to discuss, but the much less prominent work that goes on behind the scenes, in areas such as policy, funding, and the day-to-day administration of infrastructure.
These topics usually receive far less attention even from dedicated science journalists, but these parts of the research and development process are integral to the lives of people who work in challenging fields. In fact, despite all the attention given to findings from deep within the atom to the furthest corners of the universe, the best stories start with the creativity, vision, and dreams of these same people, who are the driving force in any endeavour.
Peter is a multiple-award-winning science journalist who has worked for CTV News, Discovery Channel, MSN.ca, The Toronto Star, CAA, and Frommer’s Travel.
An avid “Wilderness Astronomer”, Peter was the first to propose that Jasper National Park become a dark sky preserve, and worked with Parks Canada to have it designated the world’s largest astronomy park as of March 2011.
Peter has spoken on science communication and astronomy at countless universities, science centres, conferences, and national parks, as well as delivering science communication workshops at venues ranging from Science North/Laurentian University’s Science Communication program to The Banff Centre.
He is the author of several popular kids’ science books, including titles in Kids Can Press’ Machines of the Future science experiment book series Ultimate Trains (2010) and Space Tourism (Kids Can Press, 2011) which was an Official Selection for the prestigious U.S. Junior Library Guild.
In addition to continuing work in science writing and communication, Peter’s current storytelling endeavours are focused on filming, writing, and producing world-exclusive interactive planetarium experiences unique to the Jasper Planetarium’s 50-seat dome theatre in the Canadian Rockies.
Véronique Morin is a multimedia journalist and science communicator from Québec city.
She was president of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, formerly known as the CSWA (2001-2005), board member (1998-2007), as well as judge and Chief judge of the Canadian Science in Society book award for over 15 years.
She believes strongly that journalism is key to communicating science to the public. For that reason, she helped found and support the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ, as its first president (2002-2004). She was also Co-chair of the World Conference of Science journalists (WCSJ-2004).
She was the steering committee coordinator and project director of the 2nd & 3rd Kavli Symposium on Science journalism.
She is a Webster-McConnell fellow, William Southam journalism fellowship (2013-2014), a recipient of the CIHR science journalism award, amongst others.
Kathryn O'Hara is passionate about life in its many dimensions. Kathryn likes photography, painting, biking, walking, cooking, eating and checking out volcanoes. Travel is a constant that helps her do all this and more.
I was elected to the executive board of the World Federation of Science Journalists from 2012-2016 and was president of the Canadian Science Writers Association before that. While VP and then president, I championed the role of new members in Africa and was instrumental in bringing Kenyan science journalists to Canada for two CSWA conferences. Ten years later, these people are big players in science journalism in Kenya. Bravo! I also initiated a monthly meeting of one hour, the First Friday when I discovered that board members had no idea they were no longer on the board, a communication crisis in a communication professional association.
During the Harper administration, science journalists were hampered from access to government scientists. Scientists were muzzled. I wrote an editorial piece for Nature and the CSWA was instrumental in making science an issue in the public’s mind. We received an award from the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, a first.
I was also the only Canadian who was part of the five-year international collaborative process to develop the Brussels Declaration, a blueprint for science and society advice, presented at the AAAS in Washington in 2016.
Stephen Strauss has been writing about science for almost 30 years in the Canadian media. He is the recipient of a B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in history from the University of Colorado and was the recipient there of a Ford Foundation Fellowship. He worked as an English teacher in Brazil, a social worker, editor and translator in Montreal before joining the Globe and Mail in 1979. There he soon began writing about science – an occupation which he found he much enjoyed in no small measure because it helped him come to realize that science, and its offspring technology, are the things which truly separate the modern world from all that came before.
He won numbers of awards and fellowships as a Globe reporter and published three books.
Since leaving the newspaper in 2004 he has written form a number of outlets, most consistently the CBC’s website. But he has also expanded his science writing to include books and articles and background papers for Canadian Foundation for Innovation, The Government of Ontario, Genome Quebec, the Ontario Innovation Trust, Elsevier Corporation and The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
He has also spoken extensively in universities on the future of science on the Internet and how the internet is impact on the future of journalism in general.
Andy F. Visser-deVries
Andy F. Visser-deVries served as Executive Director of The Canadian Science Writers’ Association from 1991-2004. He was first elected to the Board of The Canadian Science Writers’ Association in 2011, serving as Treasurer until 2017.
He is a graduate from the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University at Kingston with an education in business administration, theology, and world religions.
An avid reader and book collector, Andy has a passion for history and family tree research and enjoys Baroque music, theatre, architecture, travel, and gardening.