Tag Archives: Outreach

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Taking the Grocery Store Conversation Online

Last Wednesday, I was invited to speak to a group of Women-in-Nuclear (WiN) members from the Eastern-Ontario chapter at AECL in Chalk River. We got together to “talk nuclear,” but more specifically, how to talk nuclear on social media.

With the WiN Eastern Chapter Executives. L to R: Bev Kidd, Laura Allardyce (me), Solly Karivelil, and Anne Giardini

There is a lot of interest in social media among members of the nuclear industry, among people who are enthusiastic about the work they do, the technology they support, and the communities in which they live and do this impassioned work. There is a lot of pride in Canada’s nuclear industry – pride in our home grown, low-carbon CANDU technology, in the development of nuclear medicine technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic cancer treatments, and in how safe our operations are every day and for the last 50+ years. We want to share our stories with the rest of Canada and the world.

Social media is people having conversations online. It’s the same as meeting your neighbor in the grocery store and chatting about your day. The only difference is, it’s a bigger grocery store and you’re bumping into more neighbors. The stories you tell online are the same ones you would tell your neighbors.

We shouldn’t be afraid to show our pride online, to share interesting information on Facebook, to tweet a link to a good news story on Twitter, or to tell our own story on a blog.

As the keeper of the community (I maintain the TalkNUclear channels on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, etc), I have a lot of discussions about using social media strategically. I think this can sometimes get us confused about what the purpose of social media is, which is this: at the end of the day, social media is about relationships, not transactions. We are not talking to Canadians to get them to buy more nuclear, we’re not selling a product. What we are doing is talking to Canadians about the mutually beneficial relationship we’re engaged in. Our industry produces low-carbon energy, medical technologies, food and materials safety advancements – all of these things that benefits Canadians every day. Our social media strategy is just to talk to Canadians about these incredible benefits, just like we all do when we run into our neighbors at the grocery store.

A good place to start is with us. There are so many ways to “Talk Nuclear”

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Cottrill Wins Education and Communication Award (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of our chat with CNS/CNA Education and Communication Award WiNner, Women-in-Nuclear Canada (WiN) Executive Director, Cheryl Cottrill. Cheryl is a passionate advocate for Canada’s nuclear industry and all of the many benefits our community brings to Canada and the world – such as low-carbon stable baseload electricity generation, important R&D for health and safety in many sectors like the auto, food, and health industries, and life-saving nuclear medical technologies.

Read part one about Cheryl’s Award and advocacy here.

[TalkNUclear:] What is next for you as Executive Director of WiN?

[Cheryl:] Our annual conference October 24-26 is my main focus at the moment. WiN-Bruce is hosting this year. The conference will focus on professional development, something women don’t generally take the time to work on as much as they probably should. By the time delegates leave the conference they will have the foundation of a career plan to further develop with the knowledge they have garnered throughout the conference. You can find more information about the conference at www.wincanada.org.

We have our second GIRLS (Girls in Real Life Science) Science Camp next week and we are partnering with the PWU (Power Workers Union) and NAYGN (North American Young Generation Nuclear) in two Skills Work! Summer Camps for Grades 7 & 8 in August.

Cheryl Cottrill (C) of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Bruce, helps Sarita Ahmed (L), 11, of Port Elgin, and Amanda Stuart, 10, of Kincardine in designing the perfect hot chocolate cup at the Girls Engineering Math Science (GEMS) Camp. Photo credit: The Saugeen Times

[TalkNUclear:] What can the industry do better to promote an appreciation of the benefits of nuclear technology?

[Cheryl:] We need to do a better job bragging about our accomplishments. We provide clean, reliable, baseload power to Canada, which powers our hospitals, schools, nursing homes, businesses and our homes. Our industry is also responsible for the production of isotopes and Cobalt 60, which are used in medical applications throughout the world to save many lives each day. This is all a very good news story that we need to shout from the rooftops. We have some of the brightest minds in Canada working in our industry and we need to do a better job of recognizing these people and celebrate successes throughout the industry.

[TalkNUclear:] On the topic of “advancing female interest in careers in the fields of science and technology,” do you have an opinion about the recent campaign by the European Commission called “Science, it’s a girl thing”?

[Cheryl:] First off, I’m sure their hearts were in the right place trying to do a video campaign that would appeal to 13-17 year old girls, but I believe that challenging stereotypes by using stereotypes, is misguided and not at all effective.

If I were a woman working in a science career I believe I’d be completely offended by the fluff and cuteness of this video. I doubt any female scientist goes to work in a mini-skirt and 3” heels.

Science is indeed a girl thing, but we need to promote this by providing girls with role models of women who have chosen STEM careers and are making positive contributions to society. That is what girls really want from careers today. They want a career where they can make the world a better place and where better to do that than through science. Providing girls with female role models, showing them how science connects to their world in a fun hands-on approach will help foster a life-long love of science.

Thanks, Cheryl. We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations again!

If you have a good story to share with the TalkNUclear.ca readers, please email TalkNUclear@cna.ca. We love featuring the excellent work and passion of our nuclear family.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Cottrill Wins Education and Communication Award

Cheryl Cottrill, the national Executive Director of Women in Nuclear (WiN), was recently presented the CNS/CNA Education and Communication Award for her role in educating women and the public in general about the benefits of nuclear energy, while advancing female interest in careers in the fields of science and technology.

Cheryl is also active in the GIRLS Science Club and Camps, held at the Bruce Power Visitors Centre during school breaks. On top of that, she is also a key player in the partnership between Skills-Canada Ontario and WiN that promotes the advancement of women in skilled trades and technology careers.

We caught up with Cheryl recently to congratulate her on her recent accolades for her outreach and education efforts, and find out what is next for this nuclear energy and technology advocate.

Cheryl Cottrill, Executive Director of Women in Nuclear (WiN), with her CNS/CNA Award. Photo courtesy of Bruce Power.

[TalkNUclear:] Congratulations, Cheryl. It’s great to see you recognized by the industry for your outreach work. Was the award a surprise?

[Cheryl:] It certainly was. Unbeknownst to me, my board nominated me for the award. When I received the email announcing that I was receiving the award I had to read it four times before it sunk in.

[TalkNUclear:] Do you feel this recognition is important in highlighting the impact of women in skills and technology trades, such as those in the nuclear industry?

[Cheryl:] Women make up almost 50% of today’s workforce, are earning more than 50% of university degrees, but only make up approximately 20% of the nuclear industry. Most of those careers are in administrative and clerical functions. When you start talking about skilled trades, technologies and leadership positions the numbers quickly fall to single digits.  Women are making tremendous contributions to the industry, but it can be difficult to be recognized and heard in a very male-dominated industry. This recognition helps bring attention to the valuable contribution women are making to the industry and why the work that WiNners are doing to encourage more girls into these STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and skilled trade careers is so important to the industry’s future.

[TalkNUclear:] Who would you like to see win the award next year?

[Cheryl:] I’d love to see a new innovative education or communication program that would utilize new media and really drive the message of the positive benefits of our industry. I believe our industry should do a much better job talking about the positive contribution we make to society. It would be great to see someone who accomplishes that goal win the award next year.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of our chat with Cheryl. She’ll let us know what is coming up at WiN and share her thoughts on the European Commission’s recent efforts to attract girls to STEM careers.

CNA2012 Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Send Your Questions for CNA2012 Panel – Innovative Methods of Communicating Science

Ever wonder about all the misinformation circulating about nuclear technology – especially in the last year or so? It’s one thing to know the science behind nuclear technology but knowing how to communicate that knowledge to the general public is another thing entirely. So, how do you get it right?

At this year’s CNA Conference and Trade Show, we have three experts ready and waiting for your questions on what it takes to deliver a “science-y” message in an accurate and intelligible way.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in trying to explain the complex nature of all things nuclear related or science-based? Interested in trips and tricks from our experts? Have a burning question to ask?

We’ll ask your question of our panelists at the 2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show on February 23rd during the panel on Innovative Methods of Communicating Science.

Three ways to send in your questions:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Post your question on our TalkNUclear Facebook page
  3. Tweet at @TalkNUclear using the #CNASciComm hashtag.

Can’t attend but curious? Follow the panel #hashtag on Twitter – #CNASciComm

Learn more about our moderator and panelists:

Moderator – Jay Ingram


Jay Ingram is a popular science broadcaster and the co‐host of Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet. He has written nine books, three of which have won Canadian Science Writers’ Awards.


Panelist: Susan Brissette

Susan Brissette who has held a variety of senior communication, change leadership and nuclear oversight positions throughout her 20 year career. She is currently responsible for the Bruce Power Management System including Change Management, Quality Assurance, Corporate Assessment and Benchmarking processes. A Canadian, Ms. Brissette began her career in the nuclear industry in the UK in 1992, and returned to Canada in the late 1990s as part of the team that created Bruce Power where she was accountable for reputation management.

Ms. Brissette is an Executive Board member of Women in Nuclear Global and Chair of their Communications Committee. She chaired the Organizing Committee for the highly successful 14th Annual WiN-Global Conference hosted by Canada in late May 2006, which saw some 350 delegates from almost 40 countries come together to showcase the nuclear industry in a unique way – by highlighting the women who are making a unique contribution to the leadership and advancement of nuclear and radiation technologies around the world.

Panelist – Ted Hartwell

Ted Hartwell is the Program Manager for Desert Research Institute’s Community Environmental Monitoring Program, a program that directly involves members of the public in the operation of a network of radiation and weather monitoring stations located in communities surrounding and downwind of the Nevada National Security Site. He is presently serving as Deputy Director of the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences.

Mr. Hartwell’s archaeological research has focused on three geographic regions: the southern Great Basin, the southern Great Plains, and the pampas of Argentina. Specific interests include hunter-gatherer lithic technology, caching behavior, quarrying behavior, and soil formation processes.

Mr.Hartwell has recently studied how popular culture can affect the public perception of science, most recently speaking as an invited participant at a workshop on “Comet and Asteroid Impacts and Human Society”. He also has produced a publication for the general public that discusses archaeological research at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada National Security Site.

Panelist – Toby Heaps


Toby Heaps is the co-founder and president of Corporate Knights Inc. the magazine for clean capitalism.  Their mission is to humanize the marketplace, making it easier for people to know the environmental and social impacts of their marketplace decisions and to showcase leaders and innovators.  Before founding Corporate Knights, Toby was the managing editor of the Mutual Fund Review magazine and Planning for Profits magazine.   He worked for Conflict Resolution Catalysts in Bosnia, and for several international publications and social organizations in the former Yugoslavia including B-92 in Belgrade.  He has written for the Financial Times, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and Investors Digest.

Mr. Heaps has experience working on political campaigns, including in 2006 as campaign manager for City of Toronto Councillor Adrian Heaps.  On a side note, in 1998, Mr. Heaps played centre field for Yugoslavia’s National Baseball Team.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Deep River Science Academy – A Summer Program for Future Scientists

Are you a high school student between the ages of 15 and 17 with a love of science? Then The Deep River Science Academy (DRSA) might be for you! It’s a summer school program that provides experiential learning in the areas of chemistry, physics, biology and math. You get to do real research and get academic, personal and professional credit for it.

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2012 BUT the early-bird deadline for a reduced tuition is January 14, 2012 – this Saturday! Here is the info about the program, and check out their website for more information.

What? / How?
The Deep River Science Academy (DRSA) is a science summer program for high school students between 15 and 17 years old.

The program is not for the faint of heart – it’s an intensive six weeks of chemistry, physics, biology and math. You pick your subject area and we’ll put you in the laboratory or in the field. Do you enjoy chemistry? We’ll put in a lab. Would you prefer to work outside? Then we’ll put you in the field (aka swamp or forest – depending on the research project).
Afraid you won’t know the answers to the research? Don’t worry – neither do we! This is what makes our program and your experience unique. So unique in fact, there is no other program like it in Canada. You become part of a real research team. You will not be placed in a classroom, with books and a teacher lecturing you. You are placed with another student under the guidance of a Research Assistant/Tutor (RA/T) and a professional scientist. YOU are EXPECTED to do the work – it’s called experiential learning. You learn by doing. And we expect a lot.

What does “a real research team” mean? We get our projects from professional scientists, engineers, biologists and technicians who spend months and years on a research project. To encourage you to become a scientist, you get the opportunity to help that scientist on one small portion of his/her work. When our scientists conclude their projects and publish their results, the students who worked on that project get credit. It’s called being published, and it has happened to a few our students.

For 6 weeks each summer: July 1 – August 11, 2012

Deep River, Ontario. WHERE?!? Deep River is about a 2 hour drive west of Ottawa, Ontario. We are located between North Bay and Ottawa above Algonquin Park. Google us.

The DRSA wants to increase interest in careers in science and technology in Canada’s youth. We’ve figured out a way to do that – we give youth a chance to be a scientist for 6 weeks each summer. We’ve been doing it since 1987, and it works! Why does it work? We let high school students work in professional research laboratories on some pretty high tech equipment. We make science come alive, more than what students get in high school. We treat our students with respect. And we give student credit for their work: academic credit, personal credit, and professional credit.

Apply for the 2012 program NOW!

Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012. The tuition for 2012 is $5,100; but, apply by January 14th, 2012 and you will be eligible for our early bird discount which reduces your tuition cost to $4,700! http://www.drsa.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/2012-Student-application-form11c.pdf

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the DRSA via email at info@drsa.ca, or by phone, 613-584-4541

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach

Energy: Power to CHOOSE – New Exhibit at the Canada Sci&Tech Museum

Opening On September 27th

At the Canada Science and Technology Museum

1867 St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa

Be part of Let’s Talk Energy – Engaging Ideas for Canada’s Future, a national multi-year program exploring Canada’s energy production and consumption and the implications of greening the country’s energy network. Enhancing energy awareness and literacy among Canadians will help ensure a sustainable energy future for Canada.