Presenting the 2017 Let’s Talk Science Volunteer award finalists

Volunteering at Let’s Talk Science comes with many benefits, including increased confidence and communication skills. Our volunteers also are encouraged to innovate and bring new ideas to the table. Today, as we continue our National Volunteer Week celebration, we recognize our volunteer award finalists; volunteers who have gone above and beyond to fully embrace our mission at Let’s Talk Science.

This year, we are presenting three awards:

  • National Volunteer Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
  • National Volunteer Award, CurioCity
  • The David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let's Talk Science Outreach Coordinators

National Volunteer awards recognize amazing communicators with youth, whose work has been an inspiration to other volunteers. The David Colcleugh Leadership Award recognizes Outreach program site coordinators who are demonstrating exceptional leadership at their post-secondary institutions and within the community. The significance of the awards is recognized externally by funders such as The Colcleugh Leadership Program. To learn more about each award and past winners, see the Volunteer Awards.

Join us in celebration of the amazing finalists and all nominees listed below:

National Volunteer Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach

Analise HoffmanAnalise Hoffman, Let’s Talk Science at University of British Columbia

Analise has been involved in a year-long partnership with a local elementary school in Surrey, BC. Through this she has mentored volunteers and prepared a variety of new activities for the students each visit. Her versatility is a great asset – creating activities on topics from biodiversity to coding and working with elementary to high school students.



Caitlin LooCaitlin Loo, Let’s Talk Science at University of Toronto, St. George campus

Caitlin’s experience with Let’s Talk Science began as a high school student attending the University of Toronto symposium StemCellTalks. This event sparked her interest in stem cell research and opened her eyes to the variety of STEM careers that exist. She now works to share learning opportunities with youth as a member of the StemCellTalks content development team, an organizer for the Let’s Talk Science Challenge and by preparing relevant activities for remote trips.

Ethan YangEthan Yang, Let’s Talk Science at McGill University

Since 2011, Ethan has been an involved Let’s Talk Science volunteer and has done outreach in French, English and Mandarin. Whether in the classroom, at a community visit, mentoring homeschoolers or judging science fairs, Ethan aims to make science fun for youth through interactive activities and asking big questions to pique their interests.



Jennifer NeufeldJennifer Neufeld, Let’s Talk Science at University of Ottawa

This year, Jenn has been focused on getting students excited about science and joining the scientific community. At her outreach visits she shares her passion and talks about STEM career pathways related to the topic. Over the past few months Jenn has traveled to remote communities of Fort Albany First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation, along with supporting other local Indigenous outreach initiatives in Ottawa.



Nicole JankovicNicole Jankovic, Let’s Talk Science at University of Alberta

Nicole strongly believes in the need to educate and inspire younger generations to pursue STEM and to understand current science advancements. One workshop she has created focuses on sustainable living practices. To create this Grade 4 workshop, she collaborated with the educator and the campus Office of Sustainability to create a hands-on/minds-on workshop to fully engage the students.

Congratulation to all other award nominees:

Ajani Asokumar, Carleton University

Alastair Kierulf , Queen's University

Aneeq Qayyum, University of Victoria

Arshdeep Khurana, University of Toronto, Mississauga campus

Barbara Francisco, University of Ottawa

Bradford Dean, Concordia University

Brianne Larson, University of Victoria

Carolyn Lauzon, Fanshawe College

Chantel Henderson, University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus

Christine Bowen, University of Guelph

Danielle McCulloch, University of Ottawa

Elizabeth Gregory, University of Victoria

Emily Morneau, University of Guelph

Erin Coyne, McGill University

Erynn Button, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.John's campus

Filip Stojic, University of Toronto, St. George campus

Georges Semedo Cabral, Université de Moncton

Ibrahim Rizvi, University of Windsor

Jade Atkins, Carleton University

Jennifer Morgan, McMaster University

Jennifer Payandeh, Simon Fraser University

Joseph Benjamen, York University

Julia McIntyre, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton campus

Justin Cook, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Karla Juego, University of Calgary

Kiruthika Baskaran, University of Windsor

Kristeen Atkinson, University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus

Logan MacIntyre, University of Prince Edward Island

Manaum Zain, Ryerson University

Mara Goodyear, University of Guelph

Mariam Mohamed, Ryerson University

Marvin Guvara, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Panteha Rastgar, York University

Raymond Al Homsi, Concordia University

Samina Munawar, York University

Sarah Purcell, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton campus

Thomas McIntyre, University of Alberta

Wendy Cao, University of Toronto, St. George campus

National Volunteer Award, CurioCity

Chris ChenChris Chen

Long-time Let’s Talk Science volunteer Chris was one of CurioCity’s most frequent contributors in 2016. His articles cover a wide range of interesting topics in biology. Chris is passionate about promoting STEM literacy and continues to embrace new techniques to make his writing accessible to teens. Chris’ work has made it offline, as well. The CurioCity editing team is using an excerpt from his article “Autophagy: When your body eats itself” in a writing workshop as an example of how to explain scientific concepts through analogy.


Marie-Lyne FillionMarie-Lyne Fillion

Marie-Lyne is a committed Let’s Talk Science volunteer who has made significant contributions to both the Outreach and CurioCity programs. Within CurioCity, her translations are helping meet an urgent need for more French-language content. Marie-Lyne recognizes the challenge of making STEM relevant to youth, and takes special care to fully and clearly break down scientific concepts in her articles. Her goal is always to make STEM topics accessible, relevant and cool—and this shines through in her writing.


Mira OkshevskyMira Okshevsky

Mira is passionate about spreading STEM enthusiasm among youth. She embraces the challenge of writing for younger audiences, recognizing it as a useful exercise for mastering science communication in general. She regularly uses the skills she has picked up writing for CurioCity to share her research findings in other youth-oriented publications as well. She wrote four articles for CurioCity in 2016, covering topics like climate change, anthrax, and how stray human feet end up in the ocean. Her articles are not only clear and informative, but also a lot of fun!

The David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let's Talk Science Outreach Coordinators

Ian DimopoulosIan Dimopoulos, Let’s Talk Science at University of Winnipeg

Ian is a true leader of positive change. He wants all Canadian youth to realize the vast opportunities within their reach. By building relationships in rural and communities and with inner-city groups he is accomplishing this vision. Ian has improved volunteer retention at their local site by adjusting their initial orientation to better motivate new volunteers ensure they have a positive experience with Let’s Talk Science.



Kendall WymanKendall Wyman, Let’s Talk Science at University of New Brunswick, Saint John

Starting the year as the sole local coordinator at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus, Kendall has worked hard to empower her volunteers and grow their program. Over just one busy week, the site was able to reach more youth than they had reached in the entire previous academic year! With such large growth, Kendall is now working to ensure the systems are in place for future site leaders to continue the momentum.



Mannix ChanMannix Chan, Let’s Talk Science at University of Victoria

As a local coordinator, Mannix is excited for the opportunity to inspire young students with curiosity and to encourage volunteers to continue being curious as well. He works to understand his team members’ personal goals in order to provide them with the most rewarding experiences within Let’s Talk Science. With this interest in personal growth in mind, Mannix supports his volunteers in realizing their own leadership growth gained through volunteering.

Congratulations to all other award nominees:

Alexandra Kasper, Simon Fraser University

Alison Muller, University of Alberta

Amanda Tracey, Queen's University

Anna Hudlin, Brock University

Ashley Turner, University of Windsor

Danielle Guitard, University of Ottawa

Drake Comber, Simon Fraser University

Eliza Ali, Carleton University

Hala R. Farahat Abdel Khalek, Concordia University

Jasmin Chahal , McGIll University

Justin Whitaker, Loyalist College

Lindsay Beyger, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Maxime Boudreau, Université de Moncton

Melissa Mathers, York University

Naomi Safir, Concordia University

Osman Mahamud, University of Toronto, St. George campus

Renee Nelson, University of Ottawa

Ryan Sanford, University of Toronto, St. George campus

Sandhya Mylabathula, University of Toronto, St. George campus

Stefanie Barcic, University of Windsor

Swapna Mylabathula, University of Toronto, St. George campus

Tina Pantic, University of Windsor

Vicki Leung, McGill University

Yonatan Lipsitz, University of Toronto, St. George campus