We are proud and grateful for the thousands of Let’s Talk Science volunteers that are working to bring STEM to life for children and youth across Canada. Every year we present the Let’s Talk Science Awards to recognize some of our top volunteers and Outreach site Coordinators. This year we also have a new award to recognize an Indigenous Outreach Project.
After much deliberation, we are pleased to announce the finalists for this year’s awards!
The David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let's Talk Science Outreach Coordinators
Michelle Lynn Trudel, University of Winnipeg
Michelle’s first year as a site coordinator included improving the visibility of the program on her campus, and growing the access to programs at rural and Indigenous communities.
“I am a strong believer that education is the key to empowering youth to create change within their own communities.” - Michelle Trudel
Renee Nelson, University of Ottawa
Renee has put a strong focus on ensuring that the many unique communities within and outside of Ottawa are able to access STEM programs in a way that best suits their student’s specific needs.
“I visited a handful of special needs educators in their classroom and was able to demonstrate how to incorporate science curriculum material into an engaging hands-on activity.” – Renee Nelson
Ryan Kahue, Western University
This past year Ryan has empowered his volunteers to grow the program and their own skills by creating and supporting volunteer led committees and trying out new volunteer recognition strategies.
“My role is to create a positive, rewarding, meaningful, and enriching experience for them as volunteers; I show them that I truly value their time.” – Ryan Kahue
Indigenous Outreach Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
Cross Lake First Nation Outreach, Let’s Talk Science at the University of Winnipeg
Volunteer team: Michelle Trudel, Nicole Dorville, Apurva Bhardwaj, Lambert Wilson Baiden, Ian Dimopoulos, Andrea Dypiangco
In December 2017, volunteers worked with the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police to do outreach in 3 schools in Cross Lake First Nation. They plan to return next year.
“Having talked with numerous teachers (primarily at DR Hamilton and Mikisew High School) they found that Let’s Talk Science had a positive impact on the youth interacted with and that student engagement and interest in science courses/careers has gone up since the visit earlier this school year.” - Constable Nichols
A remarkable journey with the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre, Let’s Talk Science at the University of Ottawa
Volunteer team: Sue McKee, Marie-Ève Wedge, Sarah Zhang, Jason Kwan, Renee Nelson, Priyam Maini, Shuhiba Mohammad
What started as a request to support the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre earlier this year grew into a much bigger, stronger partnership between the children, volunteers, and educators.
“What began as programming for the children involved in the March break has turned into a strong partnership where we are now involved now with 4 of the OICC programs: their March Break Camp, Tukimut after school program, Youth Moving Forward teen program, and their summer camp.” - Sue McKee
Mini-University day at the Calgary Foothills Campus for Chiniki Community College from Morley, Let’s Talk Science at University of Calgary
Volunteer team: Shinia Van, Aurna Khan, Reem Ghaleb, Tianyi Zhao, Kourosh Banaeianzadeh, and Sid Goutam
In response to the struggle that many students have in completing their schooling and low attendance in high school programs, these volunteers organized a mini-university
school day for students from Morley, AB. Students came to the Foothills Campus in Calgary to participate in hands-on science, gain insight into what university looks like and explore some available career options.
“Being a positive impact in a community is also about building connections with students and volunteers to be an available support system for students who want guidance, friendships and mentors to help meet their academic goals and future endeavours.” – Shinia Van
National Volunteer Award, CurioCity
Beverly has a knack for showing her readers the hidden excitement of the plant and animal world. She writes vivid, detailed articles that get you thinking about trees, ants, and other living things you might take for granted in a whole new way.
“I have learned a lot about tailoring STEM outreach for a younger audience, by making connections with things that are relevant to teens and explaining difficult concepts in easy-to-understand ways. I have also learned the importance of generating excitement, enthusiasm and curiosity, which encourages readers to discover more on their own.”
Learn more about Beverly on her Volunteer Feature.
This past year, Harleen reviewed over 40 older articles on CurioCity to make sure they were up-to-date and still relevant to teens! She also wrote two articles. She writes in a fun, conversational tone that helps draw readers in to complex topics. It’s like learning STEM from a good friend.
“I love having the opportunity to share ideas that interest me with others, and I feel CurioCity
truly allows me to do this, while also allowing me to continue learning as well.”
Learn more about Harleen on her Volunteer Feature.
Moushumi wrote five articles for CurioCity last year. Her specialty is finding the fun and fascinating STEM behind topics that teens might be thinking about anyway, like “Why do I get carsick?”“What’s the deal with those nostalgic posts on Instagram?” or even “Could hippogriffs actually exist?!”
“Our environment is continuously changing. These changes include culture, technology, and problems being faced by teenagers. Therefore, STEM education will continuously evolve, adapting to a teenager’s context.”
Learn more about Moushumi on her Volunteer Feature.
National Volunteer Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
Christine Vaccaro, University of Manitoba
Christine is involved in a wide range of activities at her local outreach site. She has created activities on topics ranging from computer programming to plant microscopy. She takes part in rural outreach trips, Girls in Science day, and Summer Day camps.
“It has been my goal to make outreach opportunities more available to rural schools so that they can experience a taste of university and unique STEM activities.” - Christine
Daniel Saucier, Université de Moncton
Daniel is a dedicated francophone volunteer who has done over 35 activities in the past year! He helps organize a regular science club at a school in Dieppe, NB and has created new inquiry-based activities for students.
“Bringing yourself to the children’s level and while recognizing they are very capable of thinking on their own is key to earning their respect and trust.” – Daniel
Erica Mitchell, University of Winnipeg
Erica helps organize and coordinate a partnership with the UWSA daycare on their campus. She works with her team to create a suite of activities, including topics based on the children’s requests! As co-leader of this partnership, she also supports her fellow volunteers.
“Since becoming the program leader, I have had the chance to guide newer volunteers, many of which feel self-conscious about speaking and being a little silly.” - Erica
Jade Atkins, Carleton University
Jade has been volunteering with Let’s Talk Science for 7 years! She is aware of her impact as a role model to all the students she visits, especially Indigenous women, and as such works to broaden the view students have of who can have a career in STEM.
“My volunteer work ... has been primarily motivated by my desire to be an ambassador for
STEM, and my desire to show young girls that STEM careers are viable for them.” - Jade
Krysta Levac, Professional Volunteer
Krysta has been volunteering for the past 6 years at New Sarum Public School. As a volunteer not connected to one of our Outreach sites, Krysta independently builds and maintains educator relationships, creates activities, and arranges her classroom visits.
“I think it’s important the children see that science experiments don’t always need fancy equipment. Inexpensive, everyday materials from the recycling bin, toy box, dollar store or grocery store are my favourite supplies.” - Krysta Levac
Congratulations to the 120+ nominees! Without your continued dedication and effort we would not be having the impact that we have. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Award winners in June 2018.