Science educator coming to UFV for April 1 lecture

Former journalist Penny Park will speak about the Science Media Centre

Journalist, producer, science educator, and 2013 honorary degree recipient Penny Park returns to the University of the Fraser Valley April 1 to talk about her work with the Science Media Centre.

Park will speak at UFV’s Abbotsford campus starting at 4:30 p.m. in Room A225. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

The Science Media Centre (SMC) helps journalists to cover stories in which science plays an important part.

Park came to the SMC after working in radio and television science journalism.

As a child, Park wanted to be either a journalist or veterinarian. After studying linguistics at the University of New Brunswick, she headed to the University of Guelph, graduating with a BSc (honours) in biology. Park’s passions were put to good use as producer and senior producer with Quirks and Quarks, the award-winning weekly science program on CBC Radio. Following that, she worked for the Discovery Channel, helping develop the show Daily Planet, the world’s first nightly TV magazine show about science and technology.

In 2010 she changed careers again, becoming executive director of the newly minted Science Media Centre of Canada, a non-profit charitable organization with a variety of services geared to ensure Canadians receive better information and reporting.

To help journalists tell scientific stories accurately, the SMC finds experts to talk on a one-on-one basis in addition to providing weekly e-mail alerts that highlight Canadian stories and offering regular webinars.

Funding comes from universities, research institutions, governments, granting councils and other avenues, though no more than 10 per cent can be provided by any one organization to ensure the SMC continues to operate — and continues to be perceived as operating — as an unbiased organization.

“Being able to communicate effectively and tell stories to help people understand difficult matters is essential,” Park says.

“This is important and I’m proud to be a part of it.”