Joanna Christensen

Joanna Christensen

Region: Southern Alberta

Jo Presents: Science WOW, Structures: Under Construction; Structures: Stable and Strong; Electricity: Get Charged; Let's Take Flight

Field Of Interest: Physics and Mathematics

My Science Inspiration: Reading stories about how scientific knowledge has evolved over time. What seems obvious to us now had to overcome many barriers.

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I enjoy being able to share the excitement as students discover scientific ideas for the first time.

Kudos That Captured My Heart: Any time a student has said "Oh, I see it now!"

Mark Goettel

Mark Goettel

Region: Southern Alberta

Mark Presents: Never Say Ugh To A Bug; Life's Like That (Animal Life Cycles)

Field Of Interest: Entomology

Science Inspiration: My first year university entomology and microbiology professors.

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I love kids and want to inspire them.

Kudos That Captured My Heart: A Grade 1 student shook my hand and said proudly, "I'm going to be a scientist!"

Fran Leggett

Fran Leggett

Region: Southern Alberta

Fran Presents: Cell Explorers

Field Of Interest: Entomology, Microscopy, Plants

My Science Inspiration: My Father

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: To promote science to young people and inspire them to become scientists.

Anne Smith

Anne Smith

Region: Southern Alberta

Anne Presents: Light Up Your Life

Field Of Interest: Remote Sensing (using satellites to look at agriculture)

My Science Inspiration: My high school biology teacher made learning fun!

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: To revel in the curiosity of children.

Kudos That Captured My Heart: Receiving a beautiful paper magnet on which the kids had written all the things they remembered about magnets.

Pat Ward

Pat Ward

Region: Southern Alberta

Pat Presents: It Really Matters (Classroom Chemistry)

Field Of Interest: Psychobiology (Neuroscience) and Education

My Science Inspiration: I've always been interested in science but became really enthused while taking a neuroscience course.

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I enjoy teaching science using hands-on experiments, and seeing students actively participate and become excited about what they are learning.

Tracy Ann Reid

Tracy Ann Reid

Region: Southern Alberta

Tracy Presents: Backyard Bugs, Grade 2 Magnets, Wheels in Motion, Don't Take Rocks for Granite; I Can Be A Scientist; Marvellous Magnets for Little Explorers

Field Of Interest: Geology and Geography

My Science Inspiration: My high school geology teacher made me realize my love of rocks could go somewhere.

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I was a SiS parent volunteer and thought this would be an amazing way to show kids how their love of something could also go places.

Kudos That Captured My Heart: When you ask kids what a scientist does, the answer is usually "they make things blow up". (By the end of the workshop they know so much more)

Sarah Kemble

Sarah Kemble

Region: Southern Alberta

Sarah Presents: Clued into Forensic Science; Plants Do Amazing Things; Ecosystems for Life; Looking at Liquids

Field Of Interest: B.Sc. (Agr) in Environmental Biology from University of Guelph, Master Gardener

My Science Inspiration: My Grade 9 Biology teacher was always excited about science and showed me it's fun!

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I volunteered at my son's Kindergarten workshop and thought "this is something I would really love to do."

Kudos That Captured My Heart: When kids take what I've taught them about science and use it to figure other things out.

Christina Whittmire

Christina Whittmire

Region: Southern Alberta

Christina Presents: Light Up Your Life, Looking at Liquids, Reasons for the Seasons, Winter Wonders

Field Of Interest: Ecology, Environmental Science, and anything about native prairie

My Science Inspiration: The world around me. I love hiking and nature. Southern Alberta is so diverse - there is so much to learn about!

Why I'm A SiS Presenter: I love working with children and seeing them interested in learning science.

Kudos That Captured My Heart: Seeing eyes light up when kids learn something new and "cool".

Canada's leading science education charity for kids

Founded in 1989, Scientists in School (SiS) is a dynamic Canadian charity dedicated to helping Kindergarten to Grade 8 students to become 'scientists in their school', catalyzing long-lasting interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and environmental stewardship and engineering and potentially encouraging future careers in science-related fields.

Our investigative workshops give young scientists the opportunity to interact with ecologists, physicists, engineers and more, and help make even the most reluctant learner enthusiastic. Our goal is for every Canadian child to have multiple opportunities to be sparked by science during their formative elementary school years. Annually, more than 660,000 children and youth in more than 25,000 English and French-speaking classrooms in 351 communities across Ontario and Southern Alberta experience a half-day SiS workshop each year. In the last 25+ years, over seven million children and youth have become scientists in their schools. Today, they're Scientists in School. Tomorrow, they're our leaders and innovators.

Learn more about Scientists in School

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to ignite scientific curiosity in children so that they question intelligently; learn through discovery; connect scientific knowledge to their world; are excited about science, technology, engineering and math; and have their interest in careers in those fields piqued.

Our vision is every Canadian child actively engaged in the seeing, and doing and understanding of science.


SiS's core values guide the way we develop and deliver our programs, work with our stakeholders, engage our people, and develop collaborations and partnerships. In our day-to-day efforts, our six core values define the manner in which we operate.

Passion and Inspiration

We are passionate about inspiring children to experience a sense of wonder and gain a real understanding about the world around them. We continually strive to maintain our own sense of wonder and passion for what we do, as we instill this passion for inquiry in others.

Professional and Ethical Excellence

We treat everyone with fairness, honesty, integrity, patience, understanding and trust. We respect the views of our colleagues, customers, supporters and partners and always consider these in the decisions we make. We are committed to continuous improvement and to satisfying our customers with innovative, high quality programs. We also value and respect the natural environment and will work to minimize the ecological footprint of our operations.

Diversity and Community

We value the diversity of our country and recognize the need to make our programs affordable and accessible to all. We strive to include all students regardless of their socioeconomic, cultural, linguistic, geographic or academic profile. Each locally-driven Scientists in School branch aims to build relationships that address the specific needs of that community, recognizing the critical role the community plays in advancing and strengthening education.

Creating an Engaging Environment

We are committed to providing a fun and engaging environment both in the classroom and in the work environment. We aim to foster learning among students so that they not only learn concepts but strive to learn more. In our work environment, we nurture and celebrate success - both personally and professionally - and encourage and support a harmonious balance between work and personal life.

Teamwork and Collaboration

We foster a culture of teamwork that encourages mutual support, open and honest collaboration and sharing of ideas, both internally and externally. We put Scientists in School first and recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Cultivating Partnerships

We actively encourage partnerships to support Scientists in School's vision. We value contributions of ideas, materials and resources - all of which help us to further the mission of Scientists in School. We work together in relationships of mutual benefit and trust.


In 1989, Scientists in School began as a grassroots community outreach project of the Ajax-Pickering branch of The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) on the eastern edge of Toronto. Catalyzed by two visionary members, Erica Bruce and Dr. Nancy Williams, who wanted all children to have the opportunity to appreciate the world around them through the understanding of science, CFUW Ajax-Pickering launched a classroom workshop program for Kindergarten to Grade 8. Students became the scientists in their school. The ultimate goal of the initiative was to support scientific learning by igniting scientific curiosity in children, youth and adults (especially teachers and parents). Fun, engaging programs connected kids with scientists and made science 'cool' in school - and beyond.

In SiS's early days its structure was provided by CFUW with its national profile and mandate that encourages women graduates to use their education and professional training to effect social change at the local, national and international level. By 1999, with over 100,000 students participating across the Toronto area and a second branch opening in Guelph, it was time for Scientists in School to have its own structure to give it a foundation for future growth and success. Championed by the CFUW club of Ajax-Pickering and Cindy Adams who had led the organization since 1993, SiS incorporated as a charitable non-profit organization. In the five years that followed, SiS grew rapidly across southern Ontario, spearheaded by community interests. SiS opened the program to the regions of Ottawa, Waterloo, Niagara, Peterborough-Kawarthas and Simcoe County. In 2009, SiS opened its first branch outside of Ontario, in Lethbridge Alberta. Working alongside us once again was the local Canadian Federation of University Women, joined this time by three research-based institutions.

Key to Scientists in School's success has been a strong three-way partnership among community, business and education. By banding together, we have made an impact in the lives of over seven million children and youth in 351 communities. In fact, early in our history, this unique partnership approach was recognized by the Conference Board of Canada's National Partners in Education Awards when SiS was selected as one of 100 Best Community-Business-Education Partnerships.

SiS and its partners have come a long way on our organization's journey, and our accomplishments are many. But we have only just begun. Ensuring that every Canadian child grows up sparked by science, technology, engineering and math, and empowered as environmental stewards is important work. Our next generation is Canada's most valuable resource.


Our Presenters: Bringing STEM to life in the classroom

Our 370 presenters are scientists, engineers, technologists and more, drawn from your local community. Thoroughly trained and supported by SiS, these role models visit over 25,000 English and French speaking classrooms annually, motivating students and teachers with their experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. Here is a snapshot of their qualifications:

  • 40% have B.Sc., B.A.Sc. and B.Sc.N. degrees in science or mathematics
  • 12% have a Ph.D. or an M.Sc. in various science disciplines
  • 12% are Engineers
  • 9% have a M.B.A., B.Comm. or B.A. degree in business or the arts
  • 9% have a B.Ed. or M.Ed. degree
  • 7% have a B.A. or B.Comm. degree in science or mathematics
  • 4% have Diplomas with a technology or science focus
  • 4% have E.C.E. diplomas for delivering our early years workshops
  • 3% are other backgrounds with relevant science career experience, e.g. R.N.s
  • 40% of our presenters have 2nd and 3rd post-secondary degrees.
  • 100% of our presenters are highly trained; love kids and know how to engage Kindergarten to Grade 8 students!

Our Management Team

Cindy Adams, Executive Director

Lynn Boyd, Director of Programs and Regional Manager, East Central Ontario

Michelle Butler, Regional Manager, South Central Ontario

George Chau, Director of Finance and Administration

Wendy Ellert, Regional Manager, Southern Alberta

Laura Lemay, Human Resources Manager and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director

Amy Schindler, Director, Fund Development and Communications

Sarah Summerlin, Senior Manager, Outreach and Strategies

Gail Touchie, Regional Manager, West Central Ontario

Learn more about our management team (pdf).

Our Board of Directors

Dan Adirim, Associate Vice President, Enterprise IT Operations, TD Bank Group

Sharon Baker, Principal and CEO, wellSpring consulting

Richard Barber, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Computershare

Greg Chownyk (Chair), General Manager, Canada Commercial & Industrial Marketing for Shell Energy North America

Cara Clairman, President & CEO, Plug 'n' Drive

Diane Davy, President, Castledale Inc.

Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Toyota Canada

Paul Favaro, York University, Department of Administrative Studies; Favaro & Associates Research and Evaluation Consultants

Beverley Freedman, Program Manager on Canada's Outstanding Principals' Award project in collaboration with The Learning Partnership

Cheryl Johnston, Senior Communications Advisor, Ontario Power Generation

David Munro, Senior Consultant,

Herman Ng, Director, Value Creation, Bell Canada

Tony Redpath, Business Advisor, MaRS Inc.

Stephen Strauss, Science Writer and Columnist

Rumina Velshi (Vice Chair), Retired Director, Planning and Control/Commercial Activities, Ontario Power Generation

Lisa Watson, CEO of Strategies for Social Impact, Faculty Member with the Schulich Executive Education Centre and the Canadian Organizational Development Institute

Michael Wosnick, Retired Vice-President of Research and Scientific Director of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Canadian Cancer Society

Learn more about our 2017 Board of Directors (pdf).


"Scientists in School is an incredibly educational and fun experience for all kids and teachers involved. I saw students in my class who do not like science come to life. The passion that the scientists convey about their specialty and towards the kids is what makes this experience one that every student should have."

Julia Morton, Teacher
Coledale P.S.
York Region District School Board

"I have had Scientists in School in my classroom each year since I began teaching seven years ago. I have also taken my class on many educational excursions and it is the Scientists in School program that the students enjoy most each year! I truly believe SiS has made my students more interested in science as a subject, as well as a possible future occupation. As an educator I have also benefited greatly from Scientists in School. My science program is so enriched with ideas and methods of teaching because of the rich, hands-on learning received every time a presenter enters my classroom. Keep It Up!"

Harry Shore, Teacher
Humberwood Downs J.M.A.
Toronto District School Board

"Engaging, energizing, memorable. The presentations at which I have served as a parent volunteer have provided some of the best times I have had with my children at school."

Parent Volunteer
Grade 6

"It was fantastic! Delia covered so much of the curriculum in just one morning. The workshop is great to use as an introduction to a new topic or to reinforce material already taught. The students were engaged and learned a lot by doing hands on activities. It would take me weeks to get all the materials she brought. Delia also answered many of the students' questions about the human body."

- N. McElroy, Grade 5/6 Teacher
Roberta Bondar JPS, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board