Science Communications

Best of Banff – Science Communications Program

The world needs skilled science communicators from all walks of life – now more than ever. Learn from the best in a two-day intensive!

Program Details


Science communicators from around the world have come together to help you level up your science writing and presentation skills with a dose of creativity. This 2.5 day intensive is built on the best of the legendary, Banff Science Communications Program.

Date & Time

April 22-24, 2021

Opening Session: April 22 | 4-6 p.m. (MST)

Program Days: April 23-24 | 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (MST)

Program Fees

FREE! This program is being offered for free for the first time in response to the community need for science communications.

Who should apply?

Professionals working in science fields or outreach looking to take their science communicating skills to the next level.

Responding to the pandemic, this course will be offered for free.

To blow open access, a group of leading science communications trainers have come together to offer this 2.5-day intensive for free.

The only commitment — is to care! This online program is immersive. Which means, you are expected to take part in the full program, and build a network in the process.

Whether you're a scientist or a communicator, this science communications program will help you engage new audiences through proven processes. We are as empirical about communications as we are about science – with a huge dose of creativity added to the mix. This program will take place digitally on Zoom. Clear your calendar! Space is limited for this immersive program.

World-class faculty. Outstanding peers. Unforgettable experience. 

As a participant, you will:

  • Build your community through science communications speed-dating
  • Learn from the makers, builders and founders of science communication
  • Be inspired, and get the tools to make that inspiration reality

Workshop Leaders & Science All Stars

  • Kori Czuy PhD, Indigenous Engagement Specialist, TELUS Spark Science Centre (Calgary)
  • Trevor Day, musician, improv coach and professor of physiology (Calgary)
  • Nadia Drake, contributing writer, National Geographic (Washington, DC)
  • Thomas Hayden, Stanford journalism prof, co-editor of the Science Writer's Handbook (San Francisco)
  • Jay Ingram, science writer and broadcaster, member of the Order of Canada (Calgary)
  • Sunita LeGallou, Digital Programs Manager, TELUS Spark Science Center (Calgary)
  • Anthony Morgan, Creative Director, founder of Science Everywhere, PhD Researcher (Toronto)
  • Mary Anne Moser, founder of the Banff Science Communications Program and Beakerhead, CEO of TELUS Spark Science Centre (Calgary)
  • Christie Nicholson, Founder, Studio for Communicating Complexity, Board Member of SXSW and PopTech (New York)
  • John Rennie, deputy editor of Quanta, former editor-in-chief of Scientific American (New York)
  • Nicole Stamp, TV host, director, writer, actor, and activist. Her credits include Reach For The Top, Blue's Clues, Assassin's Creed, and numerous other TV projects, and her writing has been published by CNN (Toronto)
  • Rackeb Tesfaye, science communication lecturer, founder of Broad Science, PhD candidate in Neuroscience (Montreal)
  • Niki Wilson, multi-media science journalist & host of the Jasper Dark Sky Festival (Jasper)
  • Mark L. Winston, Internationally recognized biologist, researcher, teacher, and writer (Burnaby)
  • Samantha Yammine (Science  Sam), Neuroscientist & Digital Producer, Science Sam Media 

This two-day program would normally include a long weekend in Banff with a $1,099 fee.

In response to the pandemic, it will be free, online and offered in partnership with a long list of gracious and generous faculty members, who each offer their own excellent communications training programs!

Thank you!

Applications are now closed

Thank you for your interest! Successful applicants have been notified.

Workshop Leaders & Science All Stars

Kori Czuy

PhD, Indigenous Engagement Specialist, TELUS Spark Science

Kori Czuy (ᒥᐦᑯᐱᐦᐁᓯᐤ) is Métis Polish, and was born in Treaty 8 by the banks of the Peace River. She is the Indigenous Engagement Specialist at the Spark Science Centre, focusing on bringing forward multiple ways of knowing science. Kori is on an ongoing journey to reconnect with and learn from the knowings of the land, and helping others connect with the complexities of these knowings and their connection with Western science.

She recently finished her PhD in storying mathematics; through her research she worked with children and Treaty 7 Elders to explore the depth of mathematics within Indigenous stories.

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Trevor Day

Professor of physiology, improv coach, musician (Calgary)

Trevor holds a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. (University of Calgary). He is currently a Professor of Physiology at Mount Royal University, where he teaches courses in basic and applied human physiology. His research interests include the integration and interactions between the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys in response to acute and chronic blood gas stressors (e.g., high altitude). He has over a decade of experience creating and performing music-driven art and science projects with his band and veteran Canadian science broadcaster and author, Jay Ingram, and they were the recipients of the 2014 Canadian Science Writers Association "Science in Society Communication Award". Trevor was recently inducted into the Royal Society of Canada as a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists (2020-2027).

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Nadia Drake

Contributing writer, National Geographic (Washington, DC)

Nadia Drake is a freelance science journalist and contributing writer at National Geographic. She specializes in covering astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science, as well as anything involving jungles and spiders. Her byline has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Nature, Wired, and Science News, among other publications. When we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic, Nadia frequently hits the road in search of stories and has reported from the jungles of Peru and Indonesian Borneo, the Arctic Ocean, Mars-on-Earth, a flying telescope, the deserts of the Middle East, and the slumping glaciers at Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit. She has a PhD in genetics from Cornell University and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Thomas Hayden

Director, Stanford University Environmental Communication Graduate (San Francisco)

Tom Hayden is the founding director of Stanford University’s Environmental Communication graduate program. His students study everything from communication theory, environmental education, and science journalism to virtual reality storytelling and the intersections between environmental science and art. He came to Stanford in 2008 following a career of reporting and writing about science and environmental issues for national and international publications. He is coauthor of two books,On Call in Hell and Sex and War, and co-editor ofThe Science Writer’s Handbook: Everything you need to pitch, publish, and prosper in the digital age. He studied agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and oceanography at the University of Southern California, and still sometimes thinks of the ocean as really, really wet dirt.

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Jay Ingram

Science writer and broadcaster, member of the Order of Canada (Calgary)

Jay Ingram has hosted two national science programs in Canada, Quirks and Quarks on CBC radio and Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. His 19 books have been translated into 15 languages. Jay has six honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada. From 2005-2015, he chaired the Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre and he is co-founder of the arts and engineering smashup called Beakerhead, which began in September 2013 in Calgary.

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Sunita LeGallou

Digital Programs Manager, TELUS Spark Science Center

Sunita LeGallou is the Digital Programs Manager for TELUS Spark Science Centre, where she uses digital media to spark joy through science. She is also the producer and host of Music for PhDs, a podcast diving into the science of music and its effect on our brains, bodies and emotions. Sunita is fascinated by how ideas in science and the arts are expressed, and has worked with groups such as Canadian Business for the Arts and Timepoint Ensemble to develop events and programming. Her own artistic practice centers around capturing the experience of music by painting live on stage alongside orchestras and musicians.

An alumni of the 2019 Banff Science Communication Program, Sunita is excited to help coordinate this digital offering.

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Anthony Morgan

Anthony Morgan, Creative Director, founder of Science Everywhere, PhD Researcher (Toronto)

Anthony is a science communicator, experience designer, PhD researcher and former segment host of Discovery Channel's Daily Planet. He's spent over 15 years working across multiple disciplines in science communication including live engagement at the Ontario Science Center, web series production for Asap SCIENCE and radio hosting CBC's Quirks & Quarks. For this work and his work with Science Everywhere, he was recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 millennial changemakers by the CBC. His PhD research focuses on critical thinking, wisdom, science and society.

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Mary Anne Moser

Founder of the Banff Science Communications Program and CEO of TELUS Spark Science Centre (Calgary)

Mary Anne Moser has built a career where art, culture and science intersect. She has worked as a journalist, an award-winning designer and was the founding editor of the Banff Centre Press. She started the Banff Science Communications Program in 2005, Canada’s Iron Science Teacher competition in 2007 and is the editor of two books on science in society: Immersed in Technology (MIT Press 1995) and Science, She Loves Me (Banff Centre Press 2011). She was president and co-founder of Beakerhead, a major collaborative art, science and engineering spectacle, and now serves as CEO at TELUS Spark, the Calgary science centre.

She holds a BSc in zoology, a Master’s degree in communications, and an interdisciplinary PhD. For her work in professionalizing the discipline of science communications, she has received as ASTech Award, an Arch Award from the University of Calgary, and an honourary doctorate from Mount Royal University.

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Christie Nicholson

Founder, Studio for Communicating Complexity, Board Member of SXSW and PopTech (New York)

Christie Nicholson is an award winning science journalist, entrepreneur and facilitator based in New York. She is the founder of the Studio for Communicating Complexity, an organization that offers workshops in clear communication for experts in complicated fields—from science to finance. Prior to this Christie was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Citigroup where she built D10X, a startup accelerator that birthed 150+ startups over three years. Before Citibank, she was a reporter and contributing editor at Scientific American magazine. Christie is the co-founder of the publishing platform Publet, and as an adjunct professor at New York University, she designed a graduate course in startup entrepreneurship. A founding member of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Christie has coached more than 3,000 engineers, scientists and other experts on how to communicate clearly and persuasively with colleagues, Congress and the public. Christie is on the board for South by South West Interactive and is the board chair of PopTech.She is an AngelPad founder and holds degrees from Dalhousie University in Canada and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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John Rennie

Deputy editor of Quanta, former editor-in-chief, Scientific American (New York)

JohnRennie is a science writer and editor with more than 35 years of experience in print, online, TV and audio media. Currently, he is a deputy editor forQuanta Magazine, where he oversees most of the biology coverage and is an adviser on its podcastThe Joy of x. For 15 years, he was editor in chief ofScientific American. He was also the host and co-creator of the 2013 TV showHacking the Planeton The Weather Channel. Over the past decade, he has been a proud member of the faculty of the Banff/Beakerhead Science Communications program and an adjunct professor of journalism for New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.

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Nicole Stamp

TV host, director, writer, actor, and activist. Her credits include Reach For The Top, Blue's Clues, Assassin's Creed, and numerous other TV projects, and her writing has been published by CNN

Nicole Stamp is a TV host, director, writer, actor, and activist. Stamp has held a dual role as both the on-camera host and the director of several projects, including TVOntario's The Space, Alliance Films' Alliance Live, and CityTV's Inside Between. Her acting credits include roles on Hudson and Rex (CityTV), The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu), Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), and Carmilla (Shaftesbury), a Canadian Screen Award-winning webseries with over 75 million views on YouTube. Stamp is also a prolific voice actor, including Doomsday Brothers (Adult Swim), Ridonculous Race (Teletoon), Fangbone (Disney XD), and numerous video games for Ubisoft. Stamp has extensive directing experience in kids' TV, including 6 seasons of TVOntario's The Space, and episodes of Odd Squad (PBS) and Blue's Clues (Nickelodeon). She's a Writer's Guild of Canada Award-nominated writer who's written several critically-acclaimed shorts and stage plays, as well as numerous articles about structural inequality. Her essay, "What Decent Men Can Do in Response to #MeToo" was shared on Facebook 70,000 times, then commissioned by CNN, where it became one of's top-performing articles of the year. Stamp is currently developing a media literacy television show for kids, in partnership with Sinking Ship Entertainment. Stamp lives in Toronto, and holds a Guinness World Record for playing Dodgeball for 36 hours without sleeping, an accomplishment she does not recommend.

Photo Credit: Madgalena M Photography

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Rackeb Tesfaye

Science communication lecturer, founder of Broad Science, PhD candidate in Neuroscience

Rackeb Tesfaye is a Science Communication Lecturer and a PhD Candidate in Neuroscience at McGill University. In 2017, she founded Broad Science, an initiative dedicated to making science inclusive, engaging, and intersectional through podcasting. Rackeb can be found talking about new scientific discoveries and the impact of science in society as a columnist for CBC Radio in Montreal. She is also a vocal advocate for access to science communication training and increasing diverse representation in STEM. She is the co-founder of ComSciCon Canada and #BlackInNeuro. Rackeb acts as a mentor for Canada’s Chief Scientist’s Youth Council and serves on the committee for various science communication organizations, including Falling Walls Engage and the SciComm Training Network.

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Niki Wilson

Multi-media science journalist & host of the Jasper Dark Sky Festival (Jasper)

Niki Wilson is a multimedia science journalist with a past life as a biologist. She grew up dodging bears in Jasper National Park, Canada, and has studied everything from mammoths to mountain pine beetle. She now writes for publications like BBCEarth, PBSNature and Canadian Geographic, and was associate producer for the Audible top five podcast Wild Sounds of Canada. Alongside Jay Ingram and Erika Siren, Niki co-hosts a new podcast called Anthropomania which explores how humans relate to plants and animals, and the impact that has on the world. She is host and science advisor for the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, a celebration of nature, science, and the cosmos now in its 11th year. Niki lives with her husband, a wildlife vet/ biologist with Parks Canada, and their teenage son. They once dissected an elk liver as a family, which taught them about both parasitic worm behaviour, and gag reflexes.

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Mark L. Winston

Internationally recognized biologist, researcher, teacher, and writer (Burnaby)

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, and an Independent Publishers 2019 Gold Medal “IPPY” Award for his book Listening to the Bees. 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 Semester in Dialogue, a program that creates leadership development opportunities equipping and empowering students to address community issues.

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, a Professor of Biological Sciences, and the SFU Library’s inaugural Nonfiction Writer in Residence (2020-2021).

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Samantha Yammine

Neuroscientist & Digital Producer, Science Sam Media

Samantha Yammine is a Neuroscientist and popular Science Communicator better known as Science Sam. She earned her PhD from the University of Toronto studying how stem cells build and maintain the brain, and then went on to found Science Sam Media, a science-based digital production agency.

She is passionate about empowering people to explore science by making it more familiar, accessible, and inclusive. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she's been sharing the science behind the headlines as @science.sam on Instagram and Tik Tok, garnering millions of views every month to better help people assess risk, spot misinformation, and have informed discussions with their friends and family.

She has been a guest Science Correspondent for a variety of shows on Netflix, TVO Kids, CBC GEM, Discovery UK, CBC Radio, and AsapSCIENCE. Samantha sits on the Board of Trustees for RCIScience and the Editorial Board of the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. Learn more about Samantha.

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“I feel inspired and like my eyes have been opened to opportunities I didn't realize were out there.”

Former Participant of the Banff Science Communications Program

“This program has been two of the best weeks of my life. Not only has it changed how I will communicate science and opened me up to many more experiences, it has also changed my everyday life. I cannot speak highly enough of this program.”

Former Participant of the Banff Science Communications Program

“It has been an incredible experience. I have a much better sense of what my strengths are as a communicator of science.”

Former Participant of the Banff Science Communications Program

“I loved the program. Not to be hyperbolic but I have been singing praises since I got back. It was very creative and I left with lots to think about.”

Former Participant of the Banff Science Communications Program

“My Sci Comm experience is a mixture of awe-inspiring views of the mountains, combined with adrenaline-pulsing improvisational performance challenges. Back in my office now, I feel like the weekend-long program was transformational in some way that I don't believe has sunk in quite yet.”

Former Participant of the Banff Science Communications Program

Examples of Program Sessions

Uber Pitch

Blaise Pascal famously said, "I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead.” In this session, participants prepare a one-minute (in other words, short!) “uber pitch” and then edit/practice in groups of three before presenting it to the toughest audience in the world – a camera!

Personalizing the Impersonal

Science communication often focuses primarily on getting the science right. At its best it is powerful storytelling, with all of the profound and personal connections that make for great stories. This session encourages participants to ask why science matters to them, or, for that matter, to anyone else? Participants reveal something about themselves by personalizing their communication style.

Freestyle Social

The day warms up with a freestyle debate on “would you rather” questions. This opening exercise is designed to set the foundation for effective science communications. Which is not about science. Well, it is all about the science by design, but it cannot be about the science at first. People are busy and they have other things to do. Why will they want to engage with you? You need to meet them where they are. And with respect. And, often, entertainment.

Your science stories are waiting to be told

Applications are now closed. Thank you for your interest in science communications! Subscribe to be notified of future science communications offerings.

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