Contact the SkyNews Team
Philip Groff, executive director
Phil joined the SkyNews team in 2019, concurrent with his appointment as RASC executive director. With more than 15 years of experience as a senior manager working with not-for-profit organizations, Phil served on the staff of SMARTRISK for nearly a decade, ultimately in the role of president. From 2015 to 2018, he was the executive director of Sustain Ontario. Phil is also a seasoned consultant whose prominent clients have included Brock University, the Canadian Sleep Society and the Jays Care Foundation.
Carina Ockedahl, editor-in-chief
Carina Ockedahl is a writer who has worked in both Canada and the United States in print and digital journalism for well over a decade. Her work has appeared on numerous digital properties (including Forbes), in newspapers (Sun Media Corporation’s dailies, which are now owned by Postmedia), and in magazines (Canadian auto dealer and Affaires automobiles). She was previously the managing editor of Canadian auto dealer, and in a previous career worked as an illustrator.
Alan Dyer, contributing editor
Alan Dyer, coauthor of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, is program producer at the Calgary Science Centre Planetarium. He is widely regarded as an authority on commercial telescopes, and his evaluations of astronomical equipment appear regularly in major North American astronomy magazines.
Ivan Semeniuk, contributor
Ivan Semeniuk is an award-winning science journalist, broadcaster and reporter for The Globe and Mail. A long-time contributor to SkyNews, he writes about new developments in astronomical and planetary research. He is the host and writer of the popular astronomy television series Cosmic Vistas, and is a former editor at Nature and New Scientist. Ivan is the 2016 recipient of the Fleming Medal and Citation from the Royal Canadian Institute for Science, the country’s oldest scientific society. He lives in Toronto.
Rowena Rae, senior copy editor
Rowena Rae is a freelance editor, trainer and writing coach and a partner with West Coast Editorial Associates. She also writes nonfiction science books for 9-to-twelve-year-olds and collaborates with her sister to write fiction stories for children who are struggling with learning to read. She lives with her two children in Victoria, British Columbia, where she enjoys hiking, reading, drawing and gardening. She’s absorbing as much information as she can about the night sky and looks up whenever the chance comes.
Geneviève Biloski, art director
Geneviève is an award-winning multidisciplinary designer who has worked for major publications such as Maclean’s, the National Post and Financial Post magazine. She has also worked for a health tech startup and many non-profits. Her work spans from print, digital, branding, illustration and animation. She enjoys snowboarding, hiking, painting, cooking and spending time with her family and rescue dog Luna. Geneviève and her kids hope to one day see aurora in real life.
Chris Vaughan, contributor
Chris Vaughan is a science writer, geophysicist, astronomer, planetary scientist and an “outreach RASCal.” He writes This Week’s Sky and Planets at a Glance for SkyNews online, and he provides a look at deep-sky objects “Beyond Messier” in the magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @astrogeoguy. He can also bring his Digital Starlab portable inflatable planetarium to your school or other daytime or evening event. Contact him through AstroGeo.ca to tour the Universe together.
Elizabeth Howell, contributor
Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is an Ottawa journalist focusing on space exploration since 2004. Her book, Canadarm and Collaboration, published in 2020 and covers the history of Canadian astronauts. She has attended human spaceflight launches in Florida and Kazakhstan, and participated in a simulated Red Planet mission at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Elizabeth teaches technical writing at Algonquin College and publishes space-related articles in numerous Canadian and U.S. publications. She’s been a reader of SkyNews for nearly its entire history.
Reem Khalifeh, social media manager
Reem manages SkyNews’ social media accounts and is also a part-time assistant with RASC, working on the society’s communications and marketing. Reem graduated from the University of Toronto with a major in astrophysics and astronomy, and is working toward a career in cloud computing.