Science Writers &

Communicators of Canada

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Board of Directors


Terry Lavender - President

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, while also working on my PhD at Simon Fraser University, where I am exploring the relationship between meditation and technology.



Richard Zurawski - Vice President

I am a professional science writer and communicator, and have been for four decades, in all media (print, radio, TV, internet, lecture halls, keynotes, and academic papers). My efforts to understand how people perceive the sciences have led me from the practice of science writing and communication, into teaching, and then into a formal academic of the study and research.

Pseudo-science and junk science, brought about by vested interests, has flooded inexorably into education, medicine, technology, climate change, and virtually every science. We now have to contend with a rising tide of public scientific ignorance that was once unthinkable. In this setting, the role of organizations like the SWCC is clear: to provide a haven and support for those who practice science writing and communications. Through the SWCC directorship I hope to work with other science writers and communicators so that we can learn from each other how to accomplish this.




Patchen Barss - Director

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.



Carolyn Fell - Director

As the former Director, Stakeholder Relations and Communications at Compute Ontario, I created 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 recognize 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.




Rhonda Moore - Director

Inspired by my experience as co-chair of the 2017 annual conference in Ottawa, I want to serve the SWCC by lending my unique skills and experience to increase the visibility and reach of this important organization in the Canadian science ecosystem.

Rhonda Moore is Senior Advisor, Science and Innovation at the Institute on Governance. For more than 15 years she has had one foot in policy & research and one foot in science & research communications, promoting a message that effective (science) policy requires clear communication.

A few of Rhonda’s science or research communications accomplishments include:



Michelle Riedlinger - Director

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).



Michael Robin - Director

In both the telling and the hearing, stories begin with people.

My passion is taking complex science transforming it into stories that engage and excite. As a strategist, I ask questions. Who are we talking to? Where are they and where do they get their information? What do they believe?

Over more than 30 years, my work appeared in weekly and national publications, broadcast and online media. For more than a decade at the University of Saskatchewan, I worked to identify and shine a light on the innovative minds and discoveries at one of Canada’s top research universities.

We live in challenging times, where innovation and knowledge are often met with rejection and disbelief. This has consequences for issues critical to our species and our environment, from vaccines and genetic engineering to energy and climate change. I believe science writers and communicators have a vital role to play.



Marg Sheridan - Director

While I developed my writing style as a sports writer and editor, it wasn't until I'd transitioned out of journalism that I found myself enjoying the challenge of tackling science communications. 

A position with the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan not only introduced me to the SWCC, but gave me the opportunity to use my knack for storytelling to share the important medical research being done at the college, and the stories driving the researchers. My blatant lack of science education has helped me to make sure that the complicated information I'm transcribing is written in a way that is easy to understand - because if I can't understand what I'm writing, my reader won't understand it either!

I now live, and work, in Ottawa and continue to believe in the power communicators have in creating a better, healthier, world.



Natasha Waxman - Director

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.




Jay Whetter - Director

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.



To see the 2019 Annual General Meeting Minutes, click here:

2019 AGM



General Manager - Nikki Berreth

Nikki is a science communicator and informal educator who enjoys talking about dinosaurs, exploring the outdoors with tiny humans, performing on stage and solving calculus problems. She spends her working hours training researchers, developing educational programs and coordinating volunteers. In her nerdy free time, she continues to work on her sci-fi novel (#womeninscience) and restores furniture & electronics.

If you want to chat, you can find her at the other side of our "Contact Us" page. If you have some free time, she encourages you to Google Science Slam Canada and Interpretation Canada - two initiatives that are very near and dear to her heart!





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P.O. Box 75 Station A

Toronto, ON

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