Let's Talk Science Announces New Board Members

October 23, 2013

London, ON - Let's Talk Science announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors, bringing its total up to ten.

"The caliber of our new board members reflects the growing importance of Let's Talk Science's mission for Canada's future," said Rick Dobson, Chair for Let's Talk Science. "These new directors give us strength in strategic areas and they are already hard at work sharing their talents and advancing our work. "

"We are delighted to welcome these new members, who represent key positions within the Canadian business community," said President and Founder of Let's Talk Science Bonnie Schmidt. "Their career experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) compliment the strengths of our current members, and will assist in planning the future direction of Let's Talk Science."

Joining the Let's Talk Science Board:

HiliaryMs. Hilary Foulkes, most recently the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Penn West Petroleum Ltd., began her career over 30 years ago as a geologist working in remote mining camps and on oil drilling rigs. Ms. Foulkes, a Deloitte Women of Influence speaker, is a committed mentor and passionate promoter of both science and education. She participates in many public education events, volunteers with local schools and was recognized for her service receiving the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists' Volunteer Award.



RandyDr. Randy Frank, Director of Research and Development at 3M Canada. Dr. Frank currently leads 3M Canada's technical organization including research and development, product engineering, technical services, quality and regulatory affairs. Dr. Frank has spent much of his career at 3M leading new product development programs in a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, electrical utilities, mining and automotive.

Let's Talk Science, now it it's 20th year of operation, creates and delivers unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable outreach organization. The organization strives to prepare youth for their future careers and role as citizens in a rapidly changing world.


Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Cost of Dropping Science and Math

New report on science learning reveals the economic burden of discontinuing high school science courses

TORONTO, ON (October 8, 2013) – The cost of dropping out of secondary school science and math courses is significantly high for Canada, according to a new research report released today by Let's Talk Science and made possible by Amgen Canada. Spotlight on Science Learning 2013: The high cost of dropping science and math highlights three costs – financial, opportunity and societal – that hinder Canada's economy as a result of disengagement of students in senior level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

Every year Canada spends $50 billion on kindergarten to grade twelve education yet less than 50 per cent of Canadian high school students graduate with senior STEM courses. Given that approximately 70 per cent of Canada's top jobs require STEM education, a number that will continue to grow, this is an alarming statistic. As jobs of the future demand education in STEM courses, Canada's economic well-being, quality of life, and ability to remain competitive with peer countries is put at risk. It is important to ensure that our funds are being directed to preparing today's youth for tomorrow's economy, especially when Canada commits almost 6 per cent of GDP toward education.

"Canada must focus on building a strong STEM talent pool with the skills to contribute to our country's long-term prosperity. Ultimately, these skills lie in at least some form of science literacy," says Bonnie Schmidt, Ph.D., president, Let's Talk Science. "We need to inform our youth of the importance of STEM courses for their future careers, engage them in experiential science learning from an early age, and sustain their interest in science throughout their studies. This will take collaborative effort – educators, parents, youth, industry, non-profit organizations and government – to ensure Canada has a bright future ahead."

The 2013 research report outlines the costs associated with high school students dropping out of senior level STEM courses:

  • Financial costs to students, parents, tax payers and high schools when students go back and retake STEM courses. Not only does it cost millions, but it delays students' post-secondary plans.
  • Opportunity costs associated with lost job options and future earnings. Students are often late in discovering that their future career requires a background in at least one STEM course. This amounts to a loss of talent pool on the job market, and affects students' earning potential as, on average, people in STEM fields earn 26 per cent more.
  • Societal costs from losing key, talented people with the skills Canada needs to prosper and grow. A high-performing economy with quality programs depends on innovation – without a solid talent pool, Canada's performance staggers relative to its peer countries.

"Education in science, technology, engineering and math will be essential for many jobs that will be in great demand in the coming years," says Karen Burke, Ph.D., director, regulatory affairs, Amgen Canada. "As other nations put greater focus on these areas of learning, Canada must follow their lead to secure its future."

Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada's shared commitment to raising awareness of the importance of science education extends this year with Spotlight on Science Learning 2013: The high cost of dropping science and math. The new report is a follow-up to the 2012 Spotlight on Science Learning: A benchmark of Canadian talent, which looked at Canada's talent pool for science-based careers and identified that while our talent pool is strong in terms of performance, it is weak in terms of size.

This fall, Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada are taking science on the road and visiting high school students across Canada to demonstrate the value of science in everyday life and for jobs of the future. For more information and to access the full report, please visit http://www.letstalkscience.ca/Spotlight.

About Let's Talk Science
Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable, science outreach organization. Let's Talk Science creates and delivers science learning programs and services that turn kids on to science, keep them engaged in learning and develop their potential to become 21st century innovators and citizens. For more information about Let's Talk Science, please visit www.letstalkscience.ca.

This report was made possible by Amgen Canada.

About Amgen Canada
As a leader in innovation, Amgen Canada understands the value of science. With main operations located in Mississauga, Ont.'s vibrant biomedical cluster, and its research facility in Burnaby, B.C., Amgen Canada has been an important contributor to advancements in science and innovation in Canada since 1991. The company contributes to the development of new therapies or new uses for existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada's leading health-care, academic, research, government and patient organizations. To learn more about Amgen Canada, visit www.amgen.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Maggie MacLellan
Let's Talk Science
519-474-4081 ext. 239

Third annual Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake program a success

October 7, 2013

hiking sandylakeThis past summer, Let's Talk Science Outreach volunteers at the University of Toronto, St.George Campus had another successful year running the Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! Program.

For the past three years the program has been a collaboration between Let's Talk Science Outreach at the University of Toronto, St.George Campus and the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes project, along with support from other invaluable contributors. The program's main event is the week-long Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! Summer Camp in August. Surrounding that event, volunteers are also found participating on the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project weekly radio show, interacting with the community before and after the camp, and even leaving behind camp activities and materials to be used throughout the year with children and youth.

Five Let's Talk Science Outreach volunteers: Shannan Grant, Peter Chen, Oscar Aguilar, Elsa Dinsdale, and Zoryana Salo travelled to Sandy Lake this year to run the camp. A member of the Let's Talk Science national office staff, Cailin Clarke, also joined the Let's Talk Science volunteers in Sandy Lake this year, taking the opportunity to work with the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project team.

"It was truly an honour to be a part of the Sandy Lake First Nation community for a week and to get to know the children and youth of the community," recounts Clarke of her experience. "Every day I think back to the smile of a young child, a question from an inquisitive youth or learning about medicinal plants and I know that we have all changed for the better because of the opportunity to share a week of learning in Sandy Lake."

This camp provided the campers an opportunity to learn about science through hands-on activities, peer-teaching and storytelling. The volunteers welcomed between 60 and 94 children and youth aged 4-17 years old each day! The camp program worked to combine scientific disciplines with Indigenous Knowledge and education principals traditionally used under the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project. A wide range of topics were explored, including nutritional science and applied human nutrition, physiology and anatomy, exercise science, astronomy, information technology, neurology and applied psychology, and botany.

This year, the Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! volunteers organized the first Astronomy Night with support from the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto. At this event, Mike Williams, Observatory Demonstrator from the University of Toronto Observatory, did a presentation on telescopes using videoconferencing/telecommunication. Following the presentation, Williams was available by phone to answer questions the campers had about telescopes and astronomy. The campers and larger Sandy Lake community then had the chance to learn how to use Galileoscope telescopes for night sky viewing. The entire evening was such a success that a second astronomy night with the telescopes was arranged. Three of the telescopes were donated to the Sandy Lake community by the University of Toronto Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and have already been used for follow-up events within the community.

As another new initiative this year, the team of volunteers organized a Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! Science Camp fundraiser in Toronto. This event brought together a host of local artists and local businesses to celebrate the accomplishments of this project to date and learn about Sandy Lake and the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project. Thanks to the generous donations and support, this year's camp was a success!

A special thanks goes out to the amazing people who came together to make this camp possible and their continued support. Planning has already started for the 2014 Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! program. For more information, please contact the project coordinators at: ltssl.2013@gmail.com.

Let's Talk Science's FNMI outreach is supported nationally by Merck Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation and CIBC.

Other supporters of the Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake camp include the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project; Glycemic Index Laboratories; Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association; Department of Immunology, University of Toronto; Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto; Engineering Outreach Office, University of Toronto; Professor Aimy Bazylak, University of Toronto; Dr. Richard Bazinet, University of Toronto; Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education; and all of the generous donors at the Let's Talk Science Sandy Lake! Aboriginal Outreach Fundraiser

To see all of the Let's Talk Science supporters, visit: www.letstalkscience.ca/supporters.html.


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