Moser, Dr. Mary Anne

2011 Winner: Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness

Creativity, Collaboration At The Heart Of Successful Public Awareness Of Science

In the forward to her new book “Science, She Loves Me”, Dr. Mary Anne Moser writes “It is not necessary to treat science like an unappealing but good-for-you topic. Science is a world of the most fascinating ideas and the most novel of discoveries.”

Fuelled by a Passion for Science

She makes no apologies for science; instead her mission is to celebrate her passion for science and share that passion with as many people as she can. That’s why in 2005 she founded the annual two-week Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre, for scientists and communicators. Dr. Moser is director of the program.

“I want to engage the public by helping science communicators try new ways of talking about science,” she explains. “It’s way beyond using lay language. It’s about using art and culture, like television, stage and poetry to think about science in creative ways. In a nutshell, we’re building a community of creative science communicators.”

To date about 100 professionals from around the world have come through the program, which has a stellar faculty including award-winning television and radio producers and magazine editors. The community continues to keep in touch and support each other’s communications explorations, with Dr. Moser at the helm.

The Pursuit of Dreams

Dr. Moser, also Director of Communications at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, is at heart a dreamer who works hard to fulfill her dreams, which invariably involves seeing others fulfill their dreams.
“It is one thing to dream big,” she says. “But then you have to deliver quality on your ambitions. It takes hard work! You really have to put your heart into it.”

Dr. Moser describes herself as a “pencil-behind-the-ear kind of person,” someone who works behind the scenes. She believes that the greatest rewards of her career are in bringing like-minded people together.

“I love seeing what is possible when you bring people together who have the same passion,” she enthuses. “I started the Banff Centre program with my vision, but the program would not be successful without others – especially the faculty – buying into that vision. What we can accomplish together is far greater than any one individual can accomplish.”

Innovating Education

It was that same philosophy that led her to launch Iron Science Teacher, a Canada-wide challenge to encourage innovation in science education. Its goal is to create a level of awareness and appreciation for creative science teaching that, through the scale of collaboration, has a greater impact than any individual effort might have.

Tirelessly seeking to share her passion, Dr. Moser is in the midst of collaborating with several Calgary and Alberta institutions to organize an annual arts and engineering festival, called Beakerhead, the first of which will be test-driven at the Calgary Stampede in 2012.

Dr. Moser’s passion and vision create public awareness through collaboration and creativity. In all of her endeavours, she asks the question “Why should anyone care about this?” With this question informing her actions, Dr. Moser has become one of Alberta’s most creative leaders in advancing science and engineering public awareness and has helped bring Alberta’s science to the national and international stage.

– Dr. Mary Anne Moser
Schulich School of Engineering University of Calgary
Founder and Director, Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre