Let’s Talk Science Outreach Awards finalists announced

Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers dedicate their time and energy to improving science literacy and bringing awareness to the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by working with children and youth across Canada.

Each year, the Let’s Talk Science Outreach Program recognizes the hard work of our volunteers with two national awards. As National Volunteer Week draws to an end, we’re proud to announce the finalists for 2015. Read on to learn about the contending award nominees who devote so much of their time, energy and passion to Let’s Talk Science.

National Volunteer Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach

This award recognizes volunteers that have shown outstanding innovation, communication skills and a commitment to science outreach and education.

Curtis McCloskey

Curtis McCloskey, University of Ottawa

Throughout the past year, Curtis McCloskey has been helping to promote youth engagement in rural and remote communities reflecting his philosophy that science should be accessible and enjoyed by all students. By directly mentoring students in these communities, Curtis has acted as a strong role model and ambassador to post-secondary education. Curtis has also engaged in peer mentoring to help support 24 fellow Let's Talk Science Outreach volunteers at the University of Ottawa. He has also developed a "Heart Health" hands-on activity that really gets participants moving while learning about the heart, body and circulation.

Emma Chaston-Vickers

Emma Chaston-Vickers, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton

Emma Chaston-Vickers has focused on promoting science careers to young girls by encouraging students to think of scientists as more than just "men in white coats." Emma has also developed strong and on-going relationships with the students she visits by engaging in many repeat visits to the same classroom, taking the time to learn every student’s name, modifying hands-on activities to best suit each individual group and acting as a "friend and trusted teacher." Educators she has worked with throughout the year have remarked her enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to communicate with young learners.

Maude Perreault

Maude Perreault, McMaster University

Maude Perreault has designed workshops to share her knowledge of nutrition science. Maude has co-designed workshops to encourage students to use critical thinking to make healthy choices by sharing her nutrition knowledge through hands-on activities including myth busting, nutrition quizzes, and creating fruit skewers based on nutritional content. Throughout the year, Maude has also focused on bringing hands-on activities to under-represented groups such as homeschooled students, youth in remote locations and French-speaking students.

Tim Jayme

Timothy Jayme, University of Calgary

Timothy Jayme wrote his own pledge to recite at the start of each Let’s Talk Science Outreach activity to engage, inspire and unify students. To demonstrate the four life stages of the Monarch Butterfly, Timothy developed an interactive and hands-on Monarch Butterfly game. Timothy's other initiatives to promote STEM awareness and engagement in his community includes a mentorship program, a research night, the first student-led vaccine clinic and a careers night. Timothy's unique vaccine activities have focused on creating public awareness by making connections between the scientific community and Canadian youth.

Travis Schoepp, University of Alberta

Travis SchoeppTravis Schoepp has participated in lab tours, science demonstrations and science fairs as well as remote outreach trips to Yellowknife and Lutsel’ke, NT and Cambridge Bay, NU. Travis has also promoted electricity, magnetism, light and optics-related science outreach at his site. His passion for these subjects has led him to design diverse and relatable activities suitable for all ages. Shakib Rahman, Let’s Talk Science Outreach Coordinator at the University of Alberta, says that his “ability to adapt and make complex and often dense subjects available to a much broader audience, while still demonstrating the same scientific concept, is one of Travis's greatest strengths."

The David Colcleugh Leadership Award

This award recognizes an Outreach site coordinator who has demonstrated exceptional leadership to influence others to create positive change through STEM outreach.

Erin Macpherson, McMaster University

Erin MacPhersonErin Macpherson has been successful in establishing a strong volunteer base of both undergraduate and graduate students at McMaster University composed. Erin changed the local Outreach site’s strategy to recruit active and long-term volunteer across all educational backgrounds. With the goal of making science relatable to everyone, she has worked to make sure workshops clearly demonstrate its everyday relevance to the students. Erin has also forged meaningful relationships with new schools and worked to create positive changes to her Outreach site’s administration to ensure a strong, sustainable future at McMaster University.

Rachel Ward-Maxwell, McMaster University

Rachel Ward-MaxwellRachel Ward-Maxwell has made outstanding contributions to the growth of her site’s local program. This year, she has added three new community events: Science Rendezvous, the Westfield Star Party and the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry Family Science Day, increasing the number of youth and families reached in the community! Rachel has also developed the partnership with local libraries expanding the program into all branches of the Hamilton Public Library.

Sherie Duncan, University of British Columbia

Sherie Duncan has focused her time as an Outreach coordinator on strengthening her site’s continuing relationship with rural schools. Under her leadership, their program has doubled the number of classrooms reached each year. She has used these trips to illustrate how science intersects with daily life. In addition, Sherie took steps to improve the quality of outreach taking place at their local site by adding to the training materials and mentoring long-term volunteers to help train and oversee new volunteers, thereby contributing to the sustainability of their programs.

Let’s Talk Science congratulates all of the Outreach volunteers and site coordinators who were nominated for this year’s awards! We value the dedication of all of our volunteers as we work together to reach our mission to motivate and empower Canadian youth to fulfill their potential and prepare for their future careers and roles as citizens.

Read more about some of our outstanding volunteers and stay tuned our announcement of the award winners in June 2015.