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ABOUT ME

HI!  I'm Rebecca Yardley!  I am a chemist and science communicator.  My Ph.D. is from the University of Western Ontario where I studied new degradable polymers.  I also have a Masters of Science Communication from Laurentian University! This program is the only one of its kind in North America.

Outside of research, I have developed a passion for both teaching and science communication (#SciComm) throughout my degree.  Below is a summary of my accomplishments to date, but if you are looking for more information, please feel free to contact me!

 

EDUCATION

 

B.SC. IN CHEMISTRY 
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY 
WATERLOO, ON, CANADA

September 2010 - April 2014

I graduated from WLU at the top of my class, earning an honours degree in chemistry.  During my 4 years there I held many scholarships and completed 2 NSERC USRA research projects under Prof. Kenneth Maly.

PH.D. IN CHEMISTRY 
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO 
LONDON, ON, CANADA

September 2014 - December 2019

I completed my Ph.D. on the Synthesis and Properties of Self-Immolative Polymers, under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Gillies.  I was an NSERC CGS-M and NSERC CGS-D funded scholar.

M.S.COMM.
LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY 
SUDBURY, ON, CANADA

September 2019-August 2020

I completed my Masters in Science Communication, the only program of its kind in North America. I ran the social media for the program while there.

WORK EXPERIENCE

 

EDUCATIONAL PROJECT MANAGER (CHEMISTRY)
TOP HAT

July 2020 - present

  • I manage the Chemistry Portfolio at Top Hat, which includes the National General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Textbooks.

  • I conduct market research to determine what professors need in their textbooks and implement projects to improve them by managing a team of Authors and freelancers.

SESSIONAL INSTRUCTOR
MCMASTER UNIVERSITY

January - May 2021

  • Remotely, I taught 150 undergraduate students an introductory level science communication course - Science Communication in Life Sciences (LIFE SCI 3P03).

  • This course covered the fundamentals of science communication, as well as basic production techniques and strategies to communicate in various mediums.

  • A focus of the course was training students to tailor their messages for different audiences.

CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT
AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY

July 2020 - present

  • I write short highlights on the importance of high-impact research recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society for a non-specialist audience.

  • I have written 12 spotlights for the Journal of the American Chemical Society to date.

DIGITAL CONTENT STRATEGIST
ROYAL CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE (RCISCIENCE)

May - July 2020

  • I worked as part of a team to transition in-person programming online during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to create long-term online programing.

  • Developed new initiatives to foster an online community, including their #SidewalkScience Campaign. 

  • Worked as part of a team to produce original digital content across all social platforms.

  • Developed a long-term communications plan that integrates with the charity’s strategic plan.

SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR FOR LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY'S MASTERS IN SCIENCE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

October 2019 - August 2020

As part of my Masters in Science Communication, I ran the social media for the program at Laurentian University.  I aided in the development of a digital media strategy and ran the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.  I also aided in the redevelopment of the website of the program.

PRELIMINARY YEAR PROGRAM INSTRUCTOR (CHEMISTRY)
BRESCIA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON, ON, CANADA

May 2019 - August 2019

The preliminary year program is a foundational program for students new to Canada that can help them acclimate to campus life, university courses, and lectures before entering a full-time undergraduate program. I taught the chemistry program (Chem0011 and Chem0012) over the Summer 2019 term.

  • Planned the course content and modified the exercise book

  • Designed and delivered two 3-hour lectures a week

  • Created examinations. 

RESEARCH ASSISTANT
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, LONDON, ON, CANADA

September 2014 - August 2019

  • Developed new synthetic strategies for self-immolative polymers and evaluated their aqueous self-assembly and depolymerization properties. 

  • Supervised and trained undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Published 4 papers to date.

LEAD TUTOR
BRESCIA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON, ON, CANADA

October 2018 - May 2019

First-year chemistry is a required course for students in the Food and Nutrition Science Students.  Many students typical underperform in the course, and as such can not continue in the Food and Nutrition program.  I was approached by Brescia University College to create a tutoring program to help their students.

  

  • Ran 2 large group tutoring sessions a week, plus additional sessions before midterms and final exams.  These were a mix of styles between short lecture and drop-in questions.

  • Supervised an Associated Tutor that helped facilitate the tutoring sessions.

  • Managerial role included tracking attendance, filing a biweekly report to the Dean of Food and Nutrition at Brescia, developing and maintain an OWL site, and booking tutoring sessions to accommodate students. 

  • I developed an evaluation system for the program.

  • Student testimonials can be found under 'Teaching'.

TEACHING ASSISTANT, 
THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, LONDON, ON, CANADA

September 2014 - April 2016

  • Responsibilities included supervising the lab component of the course, providing pre-lab talks, marking and proctoring of examinations.

    • Chem 2003b – Organic Chemistry for Food Science (Winter 2016)

    • Chem 1302b ‒ Discovering Chemical Energetics (Winter 2015)

    • Chem 2213a ‒ Organic Chemistry for Life Sciences (Fall 2014 and Fall 2015)

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, WATERLOO, ON, CANADA

May 2011-July 2014

During my undergraduate, I synthesized new discotic liquid crystals in the research lab of Prof. Ken Maly.  

  • Developed novel discotic liquid crystals and evaluated their phase change behaviours.

  • Supervised and trained 3 undergraduate volunteers

  • Research presented at multiple national and international conferences.

  • Held 2 NSERC USRA grants

  • Published 2 paper to date.

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTOR (CH390 - CHEMICAL LITERATURE)
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, WATERLOO, ON, CANADA

January 2014 - April 2014

  • Developed 4 online modules to teach and compliment the course content of CH390 Chemical Literature, where the students were taught effective science communication practices through various media (e.g., journal articles, posters, presentations, etc.)

  • Marked the students’ responses and provided feedback.

INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, WATERLOO, ON, CANADA

September 2012 - April 2014

  • Responsibilities included supervising the lab component of the course, providing pre-lab talks, marking and proctoring of examinations.

    • CH301 - Organic Chemistry III (Fall 2013)

    • CH203 - Organic Chemistry II (Winter 2013 and Winter 2014)

    • CH202 - Organic Chemistry I (Fall 2012)

    • CH111 - Fundamentals of Chemistry II (Winter 2012)

CH110 - Fundamentals of Chemistry I (Fall 2011)

PUBLICATIONS

To date, I have published 7 peer-reviewed journal articles.  For the most up-to-date information, find me on Google Scholar

 
  1. Yardley, R. E.; Rabiee Kenaree, A.; Gillies, E. R.* Transesterification of Poly(ethyl glyoxylate): A Route To Structurally Diverse Polyglyoxylates. Macromolecules, 2020, 53, 8600–8609.

  2. Yardley, R. E.; Paquette, J. A.; Taing, H.;  Gaebler, H. M.; Eichhorn, S. H.; Hamilton, I. P.; Maly, K. E.* Stabilization of Columnar Liquid Crystal Phases via Arene-Perfluoroarene Interactions. Org. Lett2019, 21, 10102-10105.

  3. Yardley, R. E., Rabiee Kenaree, A.; Gillies, E. R.* Triggering Depolymerization: Progress and Opportunities for Self-Immolative Polymers. Macromolecules, 2019, 52, 6342-6360

  4. Yardley, R. E., Gillies, E. R.* Multi-Stimuli-Responsive Self-Immolative Polymer Assemblies. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 2018, 16, 1868-1877.​

  5. Fan, B., Yardley, R. E., Trant, J. F., Borecki, A., Gillies, E. R.* Tuning the hydrophobic cores of self-immolative polyglyoxylates assemblies. Polymer Chemistry, 2018, 9, 2601-2610.

  6. Fan, B., Trant, J. F., Yardley, R. E., Pickering, A. J., Lagugne-Labarthet, F., Gillies, E. R.* Photocontrolled Degradation of Stimuli-Responsive Poly(ethyl glyoxylate): Differentiating Features and Traceless Ambient Depolymerization. Macromolecules, 2016,  49, 7196-7203.

  7. Paquette, J. A., Yardley, R. E., Yu, J., Eichhorn, S. H., Maly, K. E.* Anthra- and Pentacenequinone Derivatives: Influence of Structure on the Formation of Columnar Liquid Crystal Phases. New Journal of Chemistry, 2016, 40, 5985-5988.

RECOGNITIONS

Over the years, I’ve had the honor of receiving over 15  recognitions and awards for my hard work. Below is a selection of the recognitions I have received.  If you wish to see a full list, please contact me.

 

Natural Science and Engineering Research Council CGS-D (2016 - 2019)

Awarded annually to excellent students in doctoral studies in the natural sciences or engineering across Canada. Criteria: Academic excellence, research achievement, and extracurricular involvement.

Doctoral Excellence Research Award for Tri-Agency Scholarship Recipients (2016 - 2019)

Given out during the term of the doctoral Tri-Agency Scholarship (NSERC CGS-D) to University of Western Ontario doctoral students. Criteria: Academic excellence, research achievement, extracurricular involvement and holding a Tri-Agency Doctoral Scholarship.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2015)

Awarded annually to excellent graduate students across Ontario. Criteria: Academic excellence, research achievement, and potential, extracurricular involvement, and communication, interpersonal and leadership skills.

Natural Science and Engineering Research Council CGS-M (2014)

Awarded annually to excellent students entering graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering across Canada. Criteria: Academic excellence, research achievement, and extracurricular involvement.

The Marjorie H. Brown Scholarship (2014)

Awarded annually to a full-time graduating student with the highest cumulative GPA in all chemistry courses in an Honours Chemistry program. Criteria: Academic excellence.

Alumni Gold Medal (2014)

Medal awarded to the top 1% of students, based on cumulative GPA,  graduating from an Honours Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Criteria: Academic excellence.

The Joan Heimbecker Memorial Scholarship (2013)

Awarded annually to one student at Wilfrid Laurier University entering their final year of full-time academic undergraduate studies who has maintained a high level of academic performance and involvement in extra-curricular activities at the university. Criteria: Academic excellence and extracurricular involvement.

Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Student Research Award (2013 and 2014)

Awarded annually to an undergraduate student completing a summer research project. Criteria: Academic excellence.

President’s Gold Scholarship (2010)

Awarded annually to full-time undergraduate students entering first year who have never previously attended a postsecondary institution with an incoming average of 95% or higher based on their best six 4U/M final grades. Students are awarded $5000 each year if they maintain a GPA above 10.5 (out of 12). Criteria: Academic excellence.

VOLUNTEER WORK

 
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PINT OF SCIENCE

September 2018-May 2020

I am the City Coordinator for Pint of Science 2020 in Sudbury, ON and previously was the city coordinator in London, ON.  Pint of Science is an international organization that beings scientist out of the labs and into the pubs to discuss their research with people outside of academia. For more information check out the website!

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OLIPHANT CAMPERS ASSOCIATION

September 2010-present

The OCA is a non-political group that aims to advance the cultural, social and property interests of the members, to promote improvements to the community, and to promote an annual regatta and other activities of the people of the community.I am currently the Social Media Coordinator for the OCA but previously served as Secretary for 7 years.

CHEMISTRY OUTREACH

September 2014-August 2019

I have always been passionate about science outreach and encouraging women in STEM.  I worked for a few years doing Teacher Partnerships through Let's Talk Science, and help out regularly with outreach activities within the Chemistry Department at Western University.

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LAURIER CHEMISTRY ASSOCIATION

Sept. 2010 - May 2014

The LCA is the undergraduate Chemistry organization as western. It runs various social and academic events for its members throughout the year.  I was a member all four years while attending Wilfrid Laurier University.  I served as a First-Year Represenative, Second-Year Represenative, Secretary and finally President in my last year.

INTERESTS AND HOBBIES

Chemistry may be my day job, but it certainly isn't the only thing I have going on!

 

PHOTO AND VIDEO PRODUCTION

Taking and editing photos is something I have been interested in for a long time.  I have recently extended this interest into video production.  I started just wanting to document my life, but as my interest in science communication has allowed the merging my love of science with this hobby.  For my foray into videos, check out my YouTube Channel where I do a mix of #SciComm videos and tutorials on chemistry.

I could put a quote about guiding light