science communication menu
science communication logos

 Alumni Advice


Alumni

The alumni of our program have gone on to a variety of careers in science communication. Here they showcase their careers and provide some advice for people who want to get into their field.


Sabrina Doyle
Social Media Editor - Canadian Geographic

What do you do now?

I am the social media editor at Canadian Geographic Magazine.  As part of my job, I also write for the magazine and blog, in addition to sending out posts on social media.
 

How does science communication help you do your job?

Science communication has helped me to find the balance between scientific accuracy and engaging, snappy storytelling.
 

Do you have any advice for new students?

My advice to new students would be to get as much practical experience as possible.  If you want to write, pitch stories.  If you want to run live programming, volunteer at a Science Cafe.  Seek out people who are smarter or more experienced than you and ask them questions.  Research the field you want to go into, then jump into it with as much perseverance and passion as you can.  Take each setback as a learning experience.

Hayley Rutherford
Communications Coordinator - WGSI

What do you do now?

I am currently the Communications Coordinator for the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), a non-profit partnership between Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo.  I am responsible for communicating the content and outcomes of Equinox Summit: Learning 2030, a highly-focussed conference that examined the future of high school education, and maintaining the WGSI's social media relationships.   


Do you have any advice for new students?

Through the science communication program, I met some truly amazing human beings who have connected me to all kinds of amazing ideas and experiences.  I hope that if you wind up in Sudbury that the same will be true for you.  Some unsolicited advice in no particular order: don't be afraid of moving to the home of the Big Nickel, start thinking about your internship early, pay attention to what your classmates are up to because it's bound to be interesting, don't use what other cohorts have done before as a guideline - the more you make this year your own, the happier you'll be.

Justin So

Biologist, AMEC Environment and Infrastructure

What do you do now?

I'm a biologist with AMEC Environment and Infrastructure, an engineering and environmental services company.  My role involves conducting freshwater and marine habitat assessments writing technical reports for environmental assessment and designing public consultation briefs and posters.  
 

How does science communication help you do your job?

I use science communication when writing reports and designing documents for public review.  Many resource development projects under environmental assessment require some form of public consultation.  My training is involved in translating technical baseline environmental and engineering reports into information suitable for various stakeholders.
 

Do you have any advice for new students?

The science communication program is your science centre.  It is your chance to play, explore, create and share with your peers in the realm of sic-comm.  The program is a great way to step out of your comfort zone with regards to communicating to live audiences, science journalism, social sciences research and more.  It is also the time to build up some sci-comm capital in terms of your portfolio and experience.  Take advantage of the amazing learning environment you are surrounded by to get the most out of your program.

Susie Taylor
Special Programs Coordinator - Let's Talk Science

What do you do now?

I am the special programs coordinator for Let's Talk Science.

How does science communication help you do your job?

So much!  In a direct sense, I create (and occasionally deliver) hands-on STEM activities for age groups ranging from daycare up to grade 12.  I also put together e-newsletters and training materials for Let's Talk Science Outreach volunteers to help them better deliver activities.  A lot of what we learn about 'understanding your audience' is extremely valuable in all aspects of what I do, whether it's doing a presentation, or simply writing an e-mail.

Do you have any advice for new students?

Take it all in.  All the practical experience and tools you are gaining in the Sci Comm program will come up again in your careers. 


Brandi Chuchman
Public Programs Coordinator - Telus World of Science

What do you do now?

I am the Public Programs Coordinator at TELUS World of Science - Calgary. In this position I am responsible for overseeing all programs, outreach, and special events for our public audiences. I provide guidance and direction to a team of Programmers, build community partnerships, run Calgary's Science Cafe program, and lead our evaluation work. I also work closely with our New Science Centre team to redefine our role and impact in the community.

How does science communication help you do your job?

I use the theory and skills I learned during the Science Communication graduate program daily in my job. In fact, it is the reason I was hired into this position! Having this background allows me to identify the elements of a good program for a particular audience, how to collect and effectively apply visitor feedback and observations to improve our programs, train our interpretive staff and volunteers how to best engage visitors, make recommendations about exhibit designs and signage, be a confident presenter at local, national, and international conferences, and build mutually beneficial partnerships, among other things. Thanks to the training and experience I received in science communication, I am seen within my organization as an authority and important resource for visitor engagement.

Do you have any advice for new students?

After completing a Masters degree and working for a year, I went back to school to do this program. I was initially worried that I was moving backwards with my life, but I soon discovered that this program actually put me several years ahead of my colleagues in the science centre field. The knowledge and experience you gain in this program goes far beyond what you can gain through work experience alone. One of the things I really loved about the program is that it does not pigeon-hole you - it is really very comprehensive, and depending on your personal interests, you can focus on the components that appeal to you most. If I decided 5 years from now that I wanted to go into science journalism or government advising or any other science communication career, I already have the foundation for those sorts of careers as well. Additionally, I had a huge amount of fun in this program, and met many amazing people, and I built a lot of lasting personal and professional relationships. It is one of the best things I have ever done, and I recommend it to any potential students without hesitation.


Samantha Kuula
Science Education & Outreach Officer - SNOLAB

What do you do now?

I am the Science Education & Outreach Officer for SNOLAB. SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Situated two km below the surface in the Vale Inco Creighton Mine located near Sudbury Ontario Canada, SNOLAB is an expansion of the existing facilities constructed for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment. SNOLAB follows on the important achievements in neutrino physics achieved by SNO and other underground physics measurements. SNOLAB is the deepest and cleanest astroparticle physics lab in the world!

How does science communication help you do your job?

My position is based on communication of "hard" (difficult) science to the public through multiple mediums. Before joining SNOLAB my position did not exist but as science and research is thrown into the spotlight, it is imperative that industry take the initiative to inform and educate the public about our research.

As well as communicating to the public, I am also responsible for communication pieces (ex. the SNOLAB website) that target scientists, funding institutions, government representatives and many more. The Science Communication program prepared me to acknowledge and be able to address the different audiences that I encounter.

Do you have any advice for new students?

The beauty of the Science Communication program was that it allowed you to excel in areas that you were familiar with, but also explore different communication mediums that you may have not been as comfortable with. I would always suggest that you step outside your comfort zone and take a chance on learning new skills!

If you are looking to excel in the science communication field, you will need a varied skill set - a skill set you can obtain from the Science Communication program if you take full advantge of the different courses that are offered. It is a reality of the research world that funding is limited; by having a unique skill set based in science communication, you will have no problem marketing yourself and finding your place in the science communication world!


Sophia Maio
Stewardship Assistant - Ministry of Natural Resources

What do you do now?

I work with the Ministry of Natural Resources as the Stewardship Assistant for the Lake Simcoe Project. I promote stewardship and engage watershed residents and landowners through the Lake Simcoe Community Stewardship Program to practice sustainable property management and behaviours.

How does science communication help you do your job?

I apply what I learned from the Science Communication program on an ongoing basis. The program provided me with the foundation of science communication theory and principles. I use this background with confidence to provide a framework to complete tasks like the development of a communications strategy, marketing materials, workshop presentations and effectively communicate with partners and public audiences.

Do you have any advice for new students?

This program has the right balance of theory, practice and fun. I recommend to new students to take advantage of the many opportunities throughout the year to apply what you are learning.








apply here