Outreach Team 

NS3 Outreach Coordinator

Jamie Phillips, BSc 

Jamie graduated from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Biology with a concentration in marine biology. After graduation, Jamie went on to share her enthusiasm for science as a STEM youth Instructor with Science Venture in Victoria, and as an Environmental Science Instructor with the Whale Camp in New Brunswick. Jamie loves exploring the environment around her, spending much of her time outside either hiking or in the water SCUBA diving. She is excited to bring her passion and enthusiasm for outdoor and hands-on education to NS3.

Outreach Educator

Emily Pendergraft, BSc 

Emily was born and raised in Bellingham, Washington. She moved to Victoria, BC in 2009 to attend the University of Victoria. She received a BSc in Biology and tried to take every animal biology and ecology course available! Working in science education has always been a passion of hers and she enjoys helping others see how wonderful the world around us is. Previous experience has included helping break stereotypes and conquer fears at the Victoria Bug Zoo and Horne Lake Caves Prov. Park, and bird banding at Rocky Point Bird Observatory.

Outreach Educator

Sarah Spencer, BSc 

Sarah has recently graduated from Vancouver Island University with a BSc, major in Biology. Her focus was in terrestrial /aquatic ecology and organismal biology. She spent much of her childhood on the west coast of Vancouver Island in Bamfield, where her passion for animals and nature began. One of her favourite courses in university was Entomology. She thinks that insects are some of the most fascinating animals in the world! She also works as a sea kayak guide and likes to spend her free time outside, especially hiking.


Executive Staff

Executive Director

Nneka Otogbolu, BSc, MSc, MBA

Nneka has her first degree in Microbiology from the University of Nigeria and has an MBA and MSc International Management from the Vancouver Island University and the University of Hertfordshire respectively.  She has over 10 years of experience in the commercial banking sector, where she led several teams in developing banking products to support small and medium-sized enterprises. She has a passion for helping non-profits grow and achieve sustainability. At NS3 she is able to combine her passion with her science to make a difference in the community.


Board of Directors

Sue Durnin, BSc, (President and Co-Founder)

During a rainy winter day on Vancouver Island, Sue dreamed of an educational, hands-on place where she could take her kids to help them better understand the world around them. From this dream, the roots of NS3 took hold. Sue has worked as an environmental consultant in British Columbia for over 15 years, with multiple industries important to this province including forestry and mining, and has first-hand knowledge on the many environmental issues in BC.

Susan (Sooh) Shultz (Secretary/Treasurer)

Sue is Vice President of Island Architectural Millwork, a commercial woodworking company based in Nanaimo. Sooh has worked in woodworking for twenty years, and has been responsible for designing sustainable LEED™ certified woodworking installations throughout BC. As a mother, Sooh is excited to use her woodworking/construction experience to help the NS3 build the best and most sustainable exhibits that we all can imagine.

Tod Gilbert, BSc, MEng.

Tod is a mechanical engineer who leads the product development and engineering teams at an innovative local air compressor manufacturing company (VMAC). He loves to share his passion for science and technology with anyone who will listen. Tod is a certified Professional Engineer and completed his Master’s degree in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s University in 2005, where he also managed the Formula SAE race car team. In 2014, he completed his Master of Business Administration from Royal Roads University.

Joe Christiano, BA, MBA

Joe has 25 years’ experience in the cooperative system, with his career being primarily with Coastal Community Credit Union, and primarily in marketing. As Chief Community and Marketing Officer he leads a team that delivers advertising and promotions, communications, product development, marketing research and analysis, and community engagement programs.  He achieved his Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master of Business Administration in Montreal. He is very active in the credit union system, including both provincial and national committees, and has been involved in a variety of local community groups over the years. Joe is excited to bring his experience in marketing, business, leadership, and governance to help NS3 be as successful as possible.

Liz DeMattia, BA, MEM, PhD (Co-Founder and Former Executive Director)

Liz is an ecologist with more than 15 years experience conducting ecological research and developing environmental outreach for community-based conservation programs. Liz first began developing outreach programs for the Centre for Environmental Education at Duke University, where she developed projects for inner city youth, undergraduates and adult education. As Program Dean at the School for Field Studies, Liz managed the educational and research programs as well as developed environmental community outreach programs for five international research centres. While in BC, Liz worked as a university instructor at UVIC and VI and served as the Executive Director of NS3, which she co-founded. She recently moved back to the east coast but is continuing to lend her support and considerable knowledge to NS3 as a board member.

Elaine Parker, BA, BSc

Elaine graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 2000. After completing graduate studies at the University of Alberta, she found her passion working with non-profit societies, particularly with post-secondary students.  Elaine has held the position of Executive Director at the Alberta College & Technical Institute Student Executive Council; at the Graduate Students Association at the University of Alberta, and at the Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University.  In Nanaimo, she works as a Marking Consultant with SEAMOR Marine (an ROV design and production company) and is very involved in building a networked-community for her daughter and other young preschoolers.

Mel Sheng, BSc

Mel graduated from UBC in 1978 with a BSc., and has over 30 years of experience working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as a Resource Restoration Biologist. During his career, Mel has worked with the Salmon Enhancement Branch providing biological support to hatcheries, public involvement groups and Community Economic Develop Program hatcheries. Mel has been responsible for identify, designing and constructing habitat restoration projects like fishways, spawning channels, side-channels and water storage facilities etc. in B.C. for the last 31 years. His area of responsibility is currently Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Central Coast of B.C. In the past, he has have also provide habitat restoration support to the Upper Fraser, Thompson-Okanagan and Yukon.

Wendy Simms, BSc, MSc

Wendy Simms has worked in the Biology Department at Vancouver Island University since 2000 and has co-curated the VIU Natural History Museum since 2008. She has a strong interest in science education and community outreach and volunteers with Science World’s Scientists and Innovators in the Schools program. She has a BSc in Ecology, an MSc in Wildlife Toxicology and is currently working on a doctorate degree in Education at the University of Calgary. Her research interest lies within the learning potential of citizen science, and the influence social networks have on environmental identity and behaviour. She has been helping develop the NS3 Citizen Science Varnish Clam Project and is excited to be the newest NS3 Board Member.

Cory Vanderhorst, CPA, CA

Cory is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Partner with MNP LLP. He works with non-profit and public sector organizations from Victoria to Port Hardy, and takes pride in giving back to his Island community. Cory is also the Board Chair of the Innovation Island Technology Association and a Board member for the Islands Agriculture Show Society. Cory grew up in Courtenay and currently lives in Nanoose Bay.


Former Board Members


Aaryn Kay, BS, MEM, MAT

Aaryn has been engaged in environmental education and sustainability demonstration for more than a decade. As the Director of Community Outreach at Duke’s Centre for Environmental Education, she applied her strong foundation in ecology and education to environmental education programmatic development, green event implementation, and educational curricula design for teachers, K-12 students, graduate students, and volunteers. She has also taught sustainable best practices to hundreds of land managers and volunteers, a graduate-level course in environmental education, high school environmental science and biology courses, and community-wide sustainability programs. Aaryn is currently a grants specialist in Boulder, CO.

Bill Pennell, PhD.

Bill Pennell has a PhD in biological oceanography from McGill University and has had a 30 year teaching career in the areas of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine sciences. He has also been active in developing fisheries and aquaculture programs and research facilities in BC and in several tropical countries, and he has worked extensively with First Nations communities in BC. He now divides his time among work at VIU (Research Associate with the Centre for Shellfish Research), private consulting, and photography.

Allison Chang, BS, OD

Allison completed her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees at the University of Waterloo.  She is currently practicing with FYidoctors in Nanaimo.

Copyright 2019 | Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3)