It's Not You, It's the Scituation: Better Engagement, Better Science

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JLABS @ Toronto

661 University Avenue

Suite 1300

Toronto, ON M5G 0B7


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There exists a divide between the world of science and the public sphere. An abundance of research is conducted within our niche scientific communities, and oftentimes, this is where the generated knowledge remains; the trickling down of new insights is, at best, stunted. At Raw Talk Live, we will discuss key ways in which this gap can be bridged. You’ll explore how public science engagement and new methods of science communication can foster empowerment of citizens, multidisciplinary collaborations, and draw more awareness to the important role of science and scientists in our society.


5:15pm: Registration

5:45pm: Welcoming Remarks

5:55pm: Panel 1 - Public Engagement in Science

6:45: Break

6:55pm: Panel 2 - New Methods of Science Communication

7:50pm: Networking Reception


Panel 1: Public Engagement in Science

Moderator: Tetyana Pekar

Tetyana is an academic editor at Pekar Editing (www.pekarediting.com). She obtained an MSc in Medical Science and an Honours BSc in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto. During her MSc, she founded and ran the Science of Eating Disorders blog (www.scienceofeds.org), which was a blog dedicated to summarizing, simplifying, and critiquing peer-reviewed research in eating disorders.

Mehrdad Hariri is the founder and CEO of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, a non-profit HUB for science policy in Canada. Mehrdad Hariri has numerous publications in various media outlets, and regularly appears in media as a commentator and leading figure on science policy issues. He studied in the fields of Veterinary Medicine, Cell Biology and Functional Genomes, in Tehran, Montréal, and Toronto universities.

Doina Oncel is the Founder and CEO of hEr VOLUTION, a non-profit organization assisting young women from diverse backgrounds with access to STEM-based education and employment opportunities in Canada. Doina stands strongly behind her belief that women need to be integrated into more opportunities for our society at large to flourish. Doina speaks on a variety of issues relating to women's rights, including access or lack thereof to women in STEM education and employment in Canada. Doina is a devoted mentor to women in various industries and always ready to answer any questions for women transitioning from education to the workforce.

Dan Weaver is a PhD candidate at the U of T Dept. of Physics. His research involves collecting and analyzing atmospheric measurements taken at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, and he is also involved in the validation of satellites. Dan was at PEARL in 2012 when the federal government cut science funding that supported PEARL and other research programs. He started a campaign, Save PEARL, to advocate for continued funding for climate and Arctic atmospheric research. Dan joined Evidence for Democracy in 2013 to advocate for science and evidence-based decision-making and is a member of its Board of Directors. As an educator, he teaches in classrooms, creates educational programs for organizations like Science Rendezvous, gives regular public talks, and is an Ontario certified teacher.

Connie Putterman's involvement as a public speaker, advocate, and advisor in the autism and neurodevelopmental research community spans over 17 years, since her son’s diagnosis at 18 months. She is an advocate for parent participation and engagement in autism research and inclusion initiatives. She has been involved with various brain health research institutes in Canada and volunteered for committees including knowledge translation and patient advisory. Her Ted Talk-Finding your WAZE, captures and reflects her personal journey and perspectives. She is the founder and visionary of the Canada/Israel Autism Research initiative, a private initiative fostering collaborations. Her corporate sector experience includes consulting with corporate Canada on initiatives to help hire people with autism. She is currently completing a Masters of Health Sciences in Translational Research at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Medical Sciences.

Panel 2: New Methods of Science Communication

Moderator: Melissa Galati

Vicky Forster is a postdoctoral fellow in the Tabori lab at SickKids working on pediatric cancers. She's also an award-winning science communicator and last year was named a TED fellow, giving her TED talk on cancer survivorship at TED Global in Tanzania. She is a freelance science writer and has been published in The Times, The Guardian, and is currently a frequent contributor to Forbes. As a childhood cancer survivor herself, she is particularly passionate about advocating for better communication between cancer survivors and researchers, to shape applicable policy and to inform the growing field of cancer survivorship research.

Kevin Millar is the Senior Vice President of Creative and Medical Science at INVIVO Communications, an interactive medical agency specializing in custom solutions for the healthcare industry. Kevin's blend of creative and scientific leadership is a natural extension of his Master’s degree in Biomedical Communications and his position on the Board of Governors of the Association of Medical Illustrators. In over 19 years at INVIVO, Kevin has overseen the development of hundreds of medical animations, patient videos, medical games, and mobile applications that help our clients articulate their messages. Kevin's experience with projects from pitch to completion is invaluable in aligning INVIVO’s services to meet their clients' business needs.

Elah Feder co-hosts and produces Undiscovered, a podcast about science from the makers of Science Friday. She has contributed to CBC Radio shows like Spark, The Current, and The Sunday Edition and to various print publications, covering everything from LGBTQ issues and dating to science and environment. Elah studied journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto (BSc, 2004, MSc, 2007).

Helen Kontozopoulos co-founded the University of Toronto's Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL) in 2015, an incubator and accelerator for early stage startups in Canada. DCSIL’s startups focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, AR/VR, and cybersecurity technologies. She is directing efforts at DCSIL to foster research to commercialization through entrepreneurship programs. She is a lecturer at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Computer Science (St. George campus) and Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences (Scarborough Campus), where she teaches product development, design, and entrepreneurship.


What is Raw Talk Podcast?

Raw Talk Podcast is a student-led initiative in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. We aim to share the stories and discoveries of medical science investigators at U of T. For more information & past episodes, check out our website.

Why Raw Talk Live?

Our team has had a ton of fun engaging biomedical scientists and disseminating their research in what we hope is approachable and digestible conversation. Our goal with Raw Talk Live is to uncover better ways to do what we do on a bimonthly basis.

In particular, at It’s Not You It’s The Scituation we want to facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in science policy and public science literacy, discuss solutions to bridging the gap between science and the public sphere, and explore emerging methods of science communication!

Can I register for Raw Talk Live at the door?

Unfortunately, we will not allow ticket purchases the day of the event.

Can I refund or transfer my registration?

There will be no refunds for purchased tickets. You may transfer your registration to another individual by emailing us at rawtalkpodcast@gmail.com at least 48h prior to the event.

Do I need to bring my ticket with me?

Nope! We will check you in without a hard copy of your ticket. If your ticket was transferred to you by someone else, please make sure they sent us your name at least 48h prior to the event.

I can’t make it to Raw Talk Live! How can I listen to the discussion?

Can’t make it to the event? No problem! While you’ll miss out on networking with our expert panelists and other attendees, we’ll be releasing the panel discussions as Raw Talk Podcast episodes in August! Check back here.

I’m interested in joining the Raw Talk Podcast team. Who do I contact and how do I apply?

Look out for our Season 3 recruitment call coming May 2018! We’ll be recruiting for all positions so keep an eye on our website or send us an email at rawtalkpodcast@gmail.com if you have any specific questions about the process.

I’m interested in sponsoring/partnering with Raw Talk. Who should I contact?

We love collaborations and are always looking to expand our program! Contact us at rawtalkpodcast@gmail.com for further inquiries.

What is JLABS?

JLABS provides a capital-efficient, resource-rich environment where emerging companies can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare products of tomorrow. For more information visit their website here.

How do I get to JLABS @ Toronto?

JLABS @ Toronto is located at 661 University Avenue, Suite 1300, in the West Tower of the MaRS Discovery District (at the corner of University Avenue and College Street). There are several building access points at MaRS. Please see the MaRS Guest Accessibility Package for more details. The closest subway stop to JLABS @ Toronto is Queen’s Park.

Is JLABS wheelchair accessible?

Yes! JLABS is wheelchair accessible. If you have other accessibility needs or questions, please contact us at rawtalkpodcast@gmail.com.

Will food be served?

Yes! Light refreshments, tea, and coffee will be served. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know as soon as possible at rawtalkpodcast@gmail.com

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JLABS @ Toronto

661 University Avenue

Suite 1300

Toronto, ON M5G 0B7


View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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