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(Class of '69) Penny Park - Enhancing Science Awareness

In her final years of The Study, Penny knew she wanted to be a journalist. Inspired by her analytical, yet open-minded English teacher Mrs. Wilmott, Penny loved to write and was filled with a desire to change the way things were.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at the University of New Brunswick, Penny worked on the local CBC morning show in Fredericton, NB. “I thought political journalism would be “it” for me, but after a couple of years I found the stories the same and the politicians on a message track that I lacked the skills to break.” Penny returned to university and fell in love with science, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology from the University of Guelph. She went back to work at the CBC, this time in Northern Ontario, before applying to Quirks and Quarks, the award-winning weekly science program on CBC radio, where she worked for thirteen years. “It was a tortuous path to science journalism, but I knew I had found my passion. We were informing Canadians about the latest research and the science behind important issues in an accessible and entertaining way.” Penny then devoted sixteen years with the Discovery Channel where she helped develop the show now called “Daily Planet,” the first nightly TV magazine show about science and technology in the world.

According to Penny, “many of the issues we face as a society have science at their core - from climate change to early childhood education, from addiction to species extinction - there is science in just about everything - from why teenagers can’t get out of bed in the morning to why that music gets stuck in your head. Knowing about science is an essential part of being a good citizen. Understanding the elements of the scientific method also helps us evaluate all kinds of information.”

As Executive Director of the Science Media Centre of Canada (SMCC), Penny helps journalists report on all aspects of science which results in media coverage that is more accurate, concise and understandable.” Learn more about this innovative organization at www.sciencemedia.ca.

Penny has fond memories of her Study days, especially being with her supportive friends. She remains best friends with three amazing women and will be forever grateful to The Study for being a school that supported co-operation in an environment where strong, life-long relationships were born.