Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Meet the 2017 outreach team!

We are very excited to visit your schools to launch the CANDAC Student-Researchers Atmospheric Collaboration Program. We are the core members of the outreach team that will be making the visits, but you may get to meet some other CANDAC scientists too! Here is a little bit about us:

Shannon Hicks, Scientist 
My name is Shannon Hicks and I’m a fairly new PhD student at the University of Western Ontario. I study water vapour trends in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere using laser-radar (lidar). The lidar I use is located in Payerne, Switzerland and my goal is to determine if water vapour concentrations have changed over the last 10 years, and if so, what might be causing the change. My research will help increase climate model and weather forecasting accuracy so that we can understand how water vapour influences climate change.

When I’m not working on my research I’m learning aikido, hiking, or reading fantasy and science fiction novels. I am also active with an outreach project in London, Ontario called Exploring the Stars. I am a firm believer in science literacy and think it is extremely important that everyone have a good science foundation, no matter what field of work they continue in. And I think the best time to start that foundation is when you are a student. In London, I work with kids and adults of all ages and teach them Astronomy - where my science career originally started. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to start teaching a new group of students about Atmospheric Science and how to understand their environment through conducting experiments.

Dan Weaver, Scientist
My name is Dan Weaver. I’m a doctoral candidate in Prof. Kim Strong’s experimental atmospheric physics research group. Before graduate school, I did a B.Sc. in astronomy and astrophysics (U of T) and a B.Ed. at OISE. I first became involved in atmospheric research through an Environment Canada research internship. Under Prof. Strong’s supervision, I worked for a year on Toronto Atmospheric Observatory (TAO) measurements, monitoring air pollution (among other things) from the roof of the U of T physics building. It was a great view of the city, and an ideal introduction to the compelling need to understand our changing atmosphere. 

My research involves acquiring and analyzing measurements of the high Arctic atmosphere using a high resolution spectrometer installed at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) near Eureka, Nunavut (80°N). I work on projects improving our understanding of climate change and ozone depletion processes. I also help validate satellite measurements.

In addition to focusing my time and effort on research, I’m actively engaged in science education and public outreach. I have taught in classrooms, given public talks regularly, run social media campaigns about PEARL fieldwork, and written articles about research at PEARL (e.g. for U of T News and CMOS). I’ve also created educational programs for organizations such as Science Rendezvous, co-created a course for U of T that bridged the entrepreneurship and science worlds, and trained new graduate students in teaching and public speaking. 

Outside of science, I’m a drummer, science-based policy activist, and photographer.

Aubyn  O'Grady, Educator 
My name is Aubyn O’Grady and I am the Education and Outreach Program Coordinator CANDAC. I will be helping to arrange all the travel plans to launch the Student-Research Atmospheric Collaboration program in our partner classrooms in Ontario and Iqaluit, I also help to plan some of the fun atmospheric physics demonstrations we will be showing you.  I am completing my master’s degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Toronto; my research interests are in experimental pedagogy and arts education. I have a wide range of experience working in the Arctic- I lived for a number of years in Dawson City, Yukon, where I attended the Yukon School of Visual Arts. During my undergraduate studies I participated in the University of Manitoba’s Pangnirtung “Bush School”, where I had the incredible opporunity to camp out on the Land with Pangnirtung Elders and members of the community.