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Announcing the 2022 National Let’s Talk Science Award Finalists

2022 National Let's Talk Science Awards Finalists
2022 National Let's Talk Science Awards Finalists
April 28, 2022

 As part of our National Volunteer Week celebrations, we are happy to announce the finalists for our National Volunteer Awards! Each year, we honour the impact that Let’s Talk Science volunteers have on children, youth and their peers with three prestigious awards.

This year, we are presenting three awards:

  1. David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let’s Talk Science Outreach site coordinators
  2. Let’s Talk Science National Volunteer Award
  3. Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach

Join us in celebrating the finalists for this year’s awards below!

2022 David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let’s Talk Science Outreach site coordinators
This award recognizes a site coordinator who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and has influenced people to create positive change through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outreach.

This year’s finalists are:

Amaal Abdi, University of Ottawa

During her four years as a site coordinator at the University of Ottawa, Amaal has advocated for the youth of Black and Indigenous communities by helping to transform the landscape of STEM to be more inclusive, such as through the Black Youth in STEM (BYiS) mentorship program she established. She leads volunteers by giving them a sense of ownership and connection to each task they complete.

Jessica Allingham, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay

Over two years as a site coordinator at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Jessica has led by example and continually worked to build the confidence of others, leading to tremendous progress in growing her site and empowering both current and future coordinators. She strives to make STEM accessible and achievable so that everyone can see themselves in STEM.

Negin Ficzkowski, McMaster University

As a site coordinator at McMaster University, Negin has worked towards involving the engineering community in a meaningful way through various collaborations and initiatives at her site, including with Engineers of Tomorrow. Her adaptive leadership style allows her to effectively work with volunteers, educators, community partners and other coordinators at her site.


2022 Let’s Talk Science National Volunteer Award
This award recognizes an exceptional volunteer who has shown outstanding innovation, communication and a commitment to STEM education and outreach.

This year’s finalists are:

Anikka Swaby, McGill

Anikka has used her passion for science communication to help influence others and be a role model at her site. Over the past year, she developed a versatile new workshop, called Good Gut Bacteria, that has already been adapted for the Let’s Talk Microbiology symposium and an Adaptation and Evolution homeschool workshop series at McGill University.

Erin Smith, University of Ottawa

Erin has worked towards integrating foundational STEM skills into her science lessons through a variety of outreach opportunities this year, including the design of a critical thinking STEM challenge on the Aboriginal Mentorship Program team. Her commitment to fostering positive change is also evident by her active participation on the Black Youth in STEM initiative.

Jen Baron, UBC

Jen has empowered youth and helped to promote and support scientific literacy and critical thinking among youth as a volunteer for three years. Her experience volunteering with the Lessons in Ecology and Evolution Fundamentals (LEEF) program and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has showcased her ability to adapt her teaching for diverse age groups and audiences.

Laurence Gagnon, UQAC

Laurence has focused on making science accessible and uses effective questioning, flexibility and various teaching strategies to reach learners of all ages. She has volunteered for both local and national-led events, such as STEM Club, and through these activities has served as both a leader and role model to students, educators and other volunteers.

Linda Muzamuzi, University of Manitoba

Linda has demonstrated commitment to reaching students of all different backgrounds in her assistant coordinator role. She shows considerable empathy and a strong willingness to learn through the development of workshops focusing on Indigenous Sciences and the planning and delivery of a myriad of outreach activities in French, including a French Storytime Week.

2022 Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
This award recognizes an outreach project initiated by an Outreach site (or sites) that demonstrates a strong, positive impact on Indigenous youth through involvement in STEM-focused learning opportunities.

This year’s finalists are:

“A tri-site partnership to support STEM learning in the Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation” –  University of Ottawa and Carleton University (Ottawa site), University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNB Saint John), University of New Brunswick Fredericton (UNB Fredericton)

This is a collaborative project between three Outreach sites to provide a deep STEM learning for the Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation community. The three sites now provide a mentorship program to students in Grade 5-8 at Alaqsite'w Gitpu School in Listuguj, kits of materials and lesson plans for teachers to use in their classroom, a planned in-person outreach visit this May, and (in development) kits for the after school program and community that include a Mi’gmaq teaching and a STEM activity that connects to the teaching.

The award winners will be announced in June 2022 – congratulations to all of the nominees!