Joanna Szurmak        Scopus Author ID: 6506601382     ORCID:

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Joanna Szurmak photo taken in 2018I am a research services and liaison librarian at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library where I work with the Psychology and Anthropology departments and the Robotics and Forensic Science programs. My professional focus is scoping and systematic reviews.

I am a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies at York University, Toronto, ON. I have graduate degrees in electrical engineering and information studies from the University of Toronto. Between 2010 and 2013, I was seconded to the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI) at the University of Toronto to build capacity for instruction among academic librarians. Over the years I have worked in research labs, the Canadian telecommunications industry, and university libraries both in Canada and in the U.S.

Recent publications:

Thuna, M., & Szurmak, J. (2019). Telling their stories: A study of librarians' use of narrative in instruction. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 45(5)

Szurmak, J., Laflamme, M., Thuna, M., Ahmed, M., & Dhillon, K. (2019). A qualitative interview-based pilot study of discipline selection narratives by undergraduate science students: in search of “aha” moments and “bottlenecks”. Discussions on University Science Teaching: Proceedings of the Western Conference on Science Education, 2(1). Retrieved from

Szurmak, J. (2019). The science loop: How cognitive biases contribute to the intellectual entrenchment at the root of junk science. The Financial Post (June 20).

Szurmak, J., & Desrochers, P. (2018). The one-sided worldview of eco-pessimists. Quillette (3 December, 2018). This was a response to Dr. Christian Berggren's Quillette review of the Roslings' book Factfulness.

Desrochers, P., & Szurmak, J. (2018). Population bombed! Exploding the link between overpopulation and climate change. London, UK: Global Warming Policy Foundation. (258 pp.).

Population Bombed! was short-listed for the 2018-2019 Donner Prize. Please see the reviews and the op-eds.


My current research interests include: studying the impact of the work of Jane Jacobs through the lens of economic thought, exploring the history and impact of "optimistic" viewpoints in the sciences and in popular discourse, exploring narrative methods in instruction, and researching the role of conceptual bottlenecks in discipline selection. 

In addition to academic projects and doctoral research, I have also worked on a podcast featuring the quirkier side of the University of Toronto Mississauga with Clearday founder Dr. Claire Carver-Dias. Please look up Bright Lights, Big Sauga on SoundCloud or iTunes and be sure to get Haunted . If you rate us on iTunes, we will be, as Claire assures, "eternally grateful."                 

 "You think you meet people by chance, but when you look back on your life you realise there was nothing random going on at all."   Jerome Bruner, 2007 interview.

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