Board Members

President: Douglas Keddy

A passionate storyteller, Douglas Keddy is Western University’s Research Communications Manager, where he coordinates marketing and communications activities to position the university’s research locally, nationally and internationally – often working closely with science journalists. He also currently serves on Western’s Board of Governors.

In 2016, Douglas brought together colleagues from across the country to found Research Communicators Canada, which aims to support research communications professionals through best practices, networking and professional development opportunities. Together, they hope to raise scientific literacy and awareness of Canadian research.

He similarly sees the SWCC as offering a unique opportunity to build linkages between science journalists and communicators engaged in telling compelling stories about Canadian science. These efforts make our professions, our citizens and our communities stronger.

An avid explorer and global citizen, Douglas has also been fortunate to lead several volunteer and capacity-building initiatives around the world related to research and communications, including roles in Asia and Africa.


Vice President: Michael Dwyer

In recent years I have worked as a public affairs officer at both the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Many of you know me from the CIHR Journalism Awards, a program I developed and ran from 2008 to 2013. In my role as a government science communicator, I have participated in the SWCC since 2006. 

Before joining government I worked as a contractor in the high tech sector, for Cognos Inc. (a major Ottawa software firm) and Bell-Northern Research, the research arm of Nortel Networks, Canada’s greatest (and most tragic ) high tech story. 

My career started off with degrees in Biophysics and Journalism, which led to jobs at the Stratford Beacon Herald (cub reporter) and Computing Canada (assistant editor). 


Treasurer: Jennifer Gagne

Jennifer Gagne is a science communicator who loves creating events for people to discover the wonder of the planet through science. Her favourite tasks involve pulling together programs on shoe-string budgets with a bunch of eager volunteers to create moments of wonder and discovery. She is with Parks Canada in Banff National Park as their in-resort visitor experience officer. 

Past science communications adventures include being the Interim Executive Director for the CSWA where she was the lead organizer for the 2015 conference in Saskatoon and being part of TRIUMF's communication team in Vancouver.

She loves the way science communication sparks curiosity and appreciation for our planet, and opens one's mind to ponder our weird, and as of yet, unexplained existence.


Director Patchen Barss

I’m interested helping the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada lead at a time of accelerating change. 

That means building a community that actively welcomes a rich diversity of science writers. It means offering training, mentorship, and career building. And it means fostering and communicating values that support ethical, honest practices. I’m currently a Board Member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. I’ve worked as a journalist—National Post, Discovery Channel, Scientific American, Nautilus—and as a communicator—Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Council of Ontario Universities. I’ve also done a lot of work that fits neither category—books, videos, websites, museum exhibits, and more. 

I don’t know what comes next. But I do know that success relies on leading change rather than chasing it. I hope to help the SWCC and its members to be leaders in our field.

Director: Eva Everything

I’ve been writing and producing science stories and series for CBC, Newsworld, and Discovery Channel Canada since 1986 and am also the author of two fun science quiz books.

I believe that an unimpeded flow of information from scientists to the people is critical.

Today’s science writers face unprecedented challenges in bringing their stories to the public. Scientific information is often harder to access and there’s less demand for in-depth stories in mass media. Add the evolving role of communications technology to the mix, and the future is less than clear. Despite these challenges, it’s more important than ever for the voice of science to be heard. How can we do that most effectively? How do we advance into the brave new world of science communication? These are the unanswered questions we must explore to ensure the survival of real and honest science journalism. 





Director: Carolyn Fell

As Director, Stakeholder Relations and Communications at Compute Ontario, I create opportunities to bring together stakeholders, government, and media to support Advanced Research Computing. I have 15 years experience in communications, public affairs, and stakeholder outreach.

Prior to joining Compute Ontario, I was with Canadian Beverage Association (CBA). There I was responsible for directing all communications for the association and acted as spokesperson on behalf of the association’s diverse member communities.

I wish to join the Board of Science Writers and Communicators of Canada as I believe in excellence across all fields of communications, and recognise the unique challenges in knowledge translation from scientific concepts into common understanding. As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, exchanging best practices and championing this work is exceptionally important.

I bring four years of Board experience to SWCC, including two years as treasurer.




Director: Ivan Semeniuk

Ivan Semeniuk reports on science for Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Ivan has spent his entire career engaged in the public communication of science, beginning with a 15-year stint developing exhibits and programs at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. After earning a Master’s degree in science journalism at Boston University he became a full time producer and on-air contributor to the daily science magazine show @discovery.ca (later Daily Planet) where he was part of the production team for 12 seasons. Ivan turned to print journalism in 2005, first as the U.S. bureau chief for New Scientist magazine and then as chief of correspondents for Nature in 2010. He has been on staff at the Globe and Mail since 2013. He is a former MIT Knight science journalism fellow and associate journalism fellow at Massey College. In 2016 he received the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sandford Fleming Medal for his contributions to the public understanding of science.





Director: Terry Lavender

I have been a communicator for more than 30 years; beginning my career at a lively tabloid in North Vancouver where I combined the roles of sports editor, municipal politics reporter and wine and food critic. Since then I have spent most of his time in university communications, working for UBC, University of Toronto, SFU, York and Western. I am currently communications manager for UBC President Santa Ono. I am working on his PhD at Simon Fraser University, where he is exploring the relationship between meditation and technology.






Director: Michelle Riedlinger

I am an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. I teach science and environmental communication. Before coming to Canada in 2010, I worked in Australia as a science communication professional for over 15 years. I worked on environmental science communication projects focused on climate variability, dryland salinity, catchment management, and river health. While working in Australia, I was also the Regional Coordinator for the Australian Science Communicators Association (an organization with similar goals to SWCC) for eight years (see www.asc.asn.au).



Director: Marg Sheridan

My background is in journalism where I was a National Online Sports Writer but it was later, during a stint with the Hospital for  Sick Children in Toronto, that I realized I enjoyed the challenge of taking complicated medical research and finding a way to share it with the general public. This revelation encouraged me to stay in this, and now as a communication coordinator with the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, I get to not only write about medical research and the people behind it, but I get to be hands-on with science outreach in Saskatoon, and provide communications training for our students.




Director: Natasha Waxman

Natasha Waxman has been the Director of Publications at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo since 2009. She and her team create a range of publications and documents for print and web, aiming to make cutting-edge physics accessible, vibrant, and even cool. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Inside the Perimeter magazine. Previously, she was a freelance scientific writer in New York and Waterloo. She holds a BA from the University of Toronto, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.





Director: Jay Whetter 

I have been a farm journalist since 1997. I worked for Farm Business Communications in Winnipeg for 12 years and have been with the Canola Council of Canada the past seven years. I write and edit canolawatch.org and Canola Digest magazine. I talk to entomologists, soil scientists, plant pathologists and geneticists on a regular basis. Each year, I also edit a Canola Digest Science special and co-organize Canola Discovery Forum, a symposium of new and needed research. I also have experience with various other committees, including 10 years as board executive with Harbourfest in Kenora and three years as president of the Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association.




Executive Director: Janice Benthin

Based in Montreal, Janice has a diverse background in scriptwriting, media production and nonprofit management. Her management experience includes a five-year stint as training director for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in Iqaluit, Executive Director for the International Centre of Films for Children and Young People and Director of Operations for the Grande Prairie Educational Cable Consortium. She's been a humour columnist for three weekly newspapers, a radio commentator, a playwright and the researcher, writer, and producer for many award winning documentary programs. She’s made documentaries for NFB, CBC, PBS, APTN, SCN, ARD, BBC, ABC "and a whole bunch of other letters too," She’s an alumnus of the Banff Centre Science Communications program and has also completed the master program in Comic Scriptwriting at Humber College, "just for the fun of it." Janice is also an active scuba diver, an avid knitter, and keen consumer of science writing in all its forms. She was a CSWA member for several years before taking on the role of Executive Director.