The Science in Public team
|Niall Byrne||Niall is the creative director of Science in Public.|
|Sarah Brooker||Sarah is the managing director of Science in Public.|
|Toni Stevens||Toni is project manager, writer and office manager with a background in journalism and environmental science.|
|Errol Hunt||Errol is a scientist, writer and project manager who is passionate about telling compelling science stories.|
|Ellie Michaelides||Ellie is a science communicator, project manager and office manager with a background in zoology.|
|Megan Girdler||Megan has nine years of experience in marketing and communications, but is new to the world of science. She has a background in change management and business transformation, and writes science fiction in her spare time.|
|Lydia Hales||Lydia Hales is a science writer with a degree in marine biology and zoology and a masters in journalism. Lydia joins us after internships with The Age and Australian Geographic, and a stint at Burnet Institute.|
We also work with a network of trusted associates.
|Tim Thwaites||Tim has 30 years’ experience of science writing, editing, teaching and broadcasting in Australia and overseas.|
|Margie Beilharz||Margie lectured in environmental policy and management after working in wetlands policy with the state government, and works with us as a project manager, editor and communicator.|
|Tanya Ha||Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate.|
|Melissa Trudinger||Melissa worked in the US biotech industry before coming home to Australia to work as a science writer and editor.|
|Frankie Lee||Frankie is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant who came to us from ABC Science in Sydney.|
Niall is a science writer and publicist based in Melbourne. The focus of his work is helping scientists bring their work into the public space through the media, events and festivals.
He also guides science organisations in the development of communication strategies to reach their stakeholders, customers and the public.
Recent clients include: Nature; Monash University, The Australian Institute of Marine Science and the GAVI Alliance.
Some highlights of his work include:
- story-telling and publicity for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes (2004 to present), L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships (2007-present), the Eureka Prizes (2003-2006; 2013 to present), and the Clunies Ross Foundation (1998-2004)
- working with CERN on the Australian end of the Higgs boson discovery at the High Energy Physics Conference (2012)
- conference director, 5th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, and the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers in 2009
- development and management of the Fresh Science program (1998-present)
- a series of supplements for Nature (2003 to 2014)
- re-building the public profile of CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (1988-1998)
- CSIRO’s communication response to disease emergencies such as equine morbillivirus, bat lyssavirus and pilchard deaths
- CSIRO’s communication response to the escape of rabbit calicivirus from Wardang Island.
Brought up in Hadleigh, Suffolk in the UK, Niall completed a biology degree at Durham University before running away to the Antipodes.
Sarah is a science communicator and event manager. She develops and delivers communication strategies for science organisations, manages science projects and events and provides media and presentation training.
With a background in biochemistry and genetics, Sarah moved into science communication by joining the science circus and completing a graduate diploma in science communication through ANU.
She went on to assist Biotechnology Australia establish the Gene Technology Information Service, a national enquiry centre on biotechnology and gene technology.
Familiar with the science, issues and public attitudes to do with biotechnology, she has presented widely to audiences including farmers, teachers, students, government groups and at international conferences.
Her freelance projects have taken her through Canberra to work on Science meets Parliament and 50th anniversary celebrations for the Australian Academy of Science; up to Queensland to develop and design a travelling biotechnology exhibition and across to China to extract DNA from bananas in a shopping centre.
Sarah was the Executive Officer for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists which was held in Melbourne in April 2007.
She is now the managing director of Science in Public and coordinates the national Fresh Science program which publicises the work of early-career scientists.
Toni tried to escape her family of scientists by studying media production at the University of Canberra. However she was lured into an environmental science major by her interest in high school biology…
One year later she was campaigning the uni to create a science/journalism double degree to suit her newfound passion for science communication. She was the first to graduate from UC with this double degree.
After 5 years writing environmental impact assessments for mining companies in Wollongong, Toni got her break into science communication and came to Science in Public in 2012 and has since added many more slashes to her title.
Now not just scientist/journalist, Toni is also a project manager/media liaison officer/science writer/event manager/newsletter compiler/ web editor and Twitter-er.
She loves the diversity of her work which ranges from working on the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and the L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowships, to writing press releases for the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Australia, the Centenary Institute and the National Stem Cell Foundation.
Outside of work you’re most likely to find Toni at the beach (even in Melbourne) or exploring the world around her, whether at a gig in the city, hiking out on the peninsula, or anything in between.
Errol is a scientist, writer and project manager who is passionate about telling compelling science stories.
After a physics degree at Waikato University (New Zealand), Errol worked as a research physicist for Comalco Research in Melbourne, modelling and verifying physical processes in aluminium reduction cells.
He then side-stepped into travel publishing, becoming a writer, commissioning editor and associate publisher at Lonely Planet, ultimately project managing some 90 different titles. He was coordinating author of the first edition of the South Pacific guidebook, helped shape and implement the company’s media strategy in NZ, and led travel coverage of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake.
Errol is an editor for the Institute of Physics (UK) and has most-recently been working at the Bureau of Meteorology on a project to collate great stories of industry working with Bureau research and environmental intelligence.
A passionate Westy, Errol lives in Footscray, where he works part-time with the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, explores Vietnamese and Ethiopian eateries with his family, and tinkers (endlessly, and often fruitlessly) with a 1957 Morris Minor.
Ellie is a science communicator, project manager and office our manager, with a love of animals and the environment.
She completed her MSc in zoology at The University of Melbourne in 2013, researching how environmental light pollution affects reproduction and survival in an Australian species of cricket. She is now working on publishing her research.
During her Master’s degree, Ellie discovered a new-found love of science communication, which she has followed up with six months experience at Science in Public.
She loves the diversity of her work, and particularly likes rolling out the various science prizes including the Eureka Prizes, the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and the Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research.
Although she’s roamed from zoology into science communication, Ellie still keeps a foot in with the animals as a volunteer tour guide and bird handler at Healesville Sanctuary. She one day hopes to help bring the Tasmanian devil, her favourite Australian animal, back from the brink of extinction.
Megan has recently moved to Melbourne after living and working in New York for the past three years. During her time in the US, she worked as the Internal Content and Community Manager for Weber Shandwick, one of the top PR agencies in the world.
While she has nine years of experience in marketing and communications, Megan is relatively new to the world of science. As a budding science fiction writer, she is an avid follower of popular science but has no formal qualifications in the field.
On the way home to Australia, she took three months out for a writing retreat in the Galapagos Islands and is currently working on a portfolio of short stories on topics including dark matter, alternate dimensions and solarpunk.
Previously Megan has also worked for Vale – a leader in the resources sector, FoxedGlove Marketing – a digital marketing start-up, The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland – a highly respected not-for-profit, and Colonial First State Global Asset Management.
Lydia is a freelance science journalist who has written for ABC Health and Wellbeing and ABC Science periodically since April 2014. She has been published by Australian Geographic magazine, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, Australasian Science, ABC’s The Drum, the Lip! Yearbook and the Bloomtrigger blog.
She once had a poem non-delinquently published on a tree. This joined others’ work in an anthology to raise funds for Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease research, as part of Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week. She has had creative writing in a few other small anthologies, and volunteered at the Melbourne Writers Festival and Emerging Writers’ Festival the last couple of years.
She moved from Tasmania in 2009 to study Science (Marine Biology and Zoology) at James Cook University in Townsville, finishing with a small research project in the rainforest in Borneo. She then moved to Melbourne to complete a Master in Journalism. Prior to joining Science in Public, she held a temporary media and communications role at the Burnet Institute, writing for their website and providing assistance during the International AIDS Conference.
Tim is a freelance science writer and broadcaster who specialises in putting science, medicine and engineering into everyday language.
He has 30 years experience of writing, editing, sub-editing, teaching and broadcasting in Australia and overseas.
After a degree and graduate work in zoology, including several years in Canada, he trained and worked as a journalist at The Age.
He has since written and subedited for newspapers, newsletters and magazines both nationally and internationally, and has also worked for universities, government departments, research institutes, private companies and professional organisations producing news stories and features, writing background material and press releases, editing publications, and organising publicity. Tim has been heard regularly on radio.
As a foundation member of Australian Science Communicators, he was national president from December 2007 to December 2009. He was also first editor of its newsletter, acted as co-chair of the program committee for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, was convenor of its National Conference in February 2010, and is a member of the committee which for the past 13 years has organised Fresh Science, the national competition for early career researchers.
Tim has also taught non-fiction writing at La Trobe University.
Margie is a Melbourne-based science communicator who has been working with Science in Public since 2008. Here she delights in taking control of publications and reports, as well as guiding communication for a number of our clients.
Margie followed up her PhD in Zoology with a couple of years in the Victorian National Parks Service working in Wetland Policy. She lectured in Environmental Management at Deakin University for nine years before taking a family break, which included a couple of years living in London.
In 2009 Margie completed a postgraduate certificate in Technical Communication from Swinburne University.
Margie works part time to allow her time for her family, dog, tennis, bike riding and travel.
Tanya Ha, Associate
Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate. She is also a media commentator on environmental issues, was a National Tour Ambassador for National Science Week 2009 and was a delegate to the Australia 2020 Summit.
Tanya is an environmental, science and health communication specialist. She holds a science degree (Chemistry major), a postgraduate certificate in Scientific and Technical Writing, and a Master of Environment. Her work has included reporting for ABC TV’s science show Catalyst, answering viewers’ eco questions as the environment presenter for Can We Help?, radio broadcasting, writing for several magazines and conducting media interviews on environmental issues.
Tanya is also a popular author. Her books include the best-selling eco-guide book Greeniology and the acclaimed Green Stuff for Kids. In 2010 she won the United Nations Association of Australia Media Award for Environmental Reporting. In addition to her media work, Tanya also develops sustainable living and behaviour change programs.
Tanya spent many years working on campaign development, media and engagement for the environment group Planet Ark. She is a past board member of the state government authority Sustainability Victoria and the green group Keep Australia Beautiful, and is an ambassador for the Living Smart program.
Melissa is a Melbourne-based science journalist and communicator. She assists Science in Public with anything biotechnology-related, in particular with our work for EMBL Australia.
Melissa has a background in immunology and molecular biology research. She worked in the US biotechnology industry in a variety of roles for 7 years.
She returned to Australia to become the Science Editor for Australian Biotechnology News from its debut in 2002 until 2005.
She has a post-graduate diploma in Science Communication and was Co-Chair of the Program Committee for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists, which was held in Melbourne in April 2007.
Frankie Lee, Associate
Frankie Lee is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant.
She studied Communications at the University of Technology, Sydney and worked in the music industry for a long time before moving to ABC. Frankie was Marketing Manager at ABC Radio National for several years then moved to ABC Science.
At ABC Science, she looked after National Science Week, being one of the small team that founded Science Week in Australia in 1997. Frankie produced hundreds of science events including Cafe Scientific and Scientists on the Loose sessions in every state of Australia from 2002 to 2012. She was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival in Sydney in 2005.
Frankie’s science communication career highlights include witnessing the ceremony where Dr Karl Kruszelnicki was awarded an IgNobel Prize at Harvard University for his research into belly button fluff and being tour manager and minder of Douglas Adams for his last Australian tour.