Announcing the 2023 National Let’s Talk Science Award Finalists
As part of our National Volunteer Week celebrations, we are happy to announce the finalists for our National Volunteer Awards! Each year, we honour Let’s Talk Science volunteers' impact on children, youth and their peers with three prestigious awards.
This year, we are presenting three awards:
- David Colcleugh Leadership Award for Let’s Talk Science Outreach site coordinators
- Let’s Talk Science National Volunteer Award
- Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
Join us in celebrating the finalists for this year’s awards below!
2023 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 five years as a site coordinator at the University of Ottawa, Amaal has empowered volunteers and advocated for the youth of Black communities by helping to transform the landscape of STEM to be more inclusive through the Black Youth in STEM (BYiS) program she established. Over the past year, her work has led to over 1,500 Black high school youth in four high schools in lower socio-economic areas and one community group being engaged in STEM through a mix of case studies and hands-on activities.
Conan Lee (University of British Columbia)
Over two years as a site coordinator at the University of British Columbia, Conan has strived to make science fun and accessible to all regardless of their age or background and has organized a variety of events to help accomplish this vision. Through his leadership with the Let's Talk Science Challenge at his Outreach site this year, he has placed emphasis on both effective collaboration and empowerment to give volunteers ownership of their roles and establish them as leaders, leading to long-term growth and greater volunteer retention at his site.
Destina Mattrasingh (University of Guelph)
As the site coordinator for Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Accessibility (EDIA) at the University of Guelph, Destina has led by actively looking for what she can learn from everyone around her and aiming to build a seat at the table for everyone in both academia and STEM. In collaboration with her role in the Canadian Black Scientists Network, she co-created the Let’s Talk Science Black Volunteer Collective, a collaborative effort of Black volunteers across Canada creating Black-led initiatives for Black youth.
2023 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:
Chloe Diamond (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Chloe has been a role model and mentor to many volunteers and youth at her Outreach site through her strong initiative and participation in a myriad of classroom and community visits. Her dedication to learning and presenting concepts effectively to different age groups has helped her to develop strong teaching skills as a volunteer.
Dominique Bower (University of Ottawa)
Dominique has contributed to the development of many materials and resources for her Outreach site’s Black Youth in STEM program. Her focus on collaboration with the community and the use of social media to spark curiosity in youth and increase representation in geoscience has allowed her to inspire many students and volunteers.
Isaiah Morrow (University of Ottawa)
Isaiah has inspired youth through various activities at his Outreach site, including the Carleton Butterfly Show, the Indigenous Mentorship Program, in-person outreach back in his hometown, and multiple activities in French. He effectively seeks and uses feedback to continually improve his teaching and science communication skills.
Kylie Hildebrandt (University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus)
Kylie has empowered and recruited many volunteers at her Outreach site with her site-specific expertise and ability to lead by example. She has led workshops across many disciplines in STEM and has played a key role in helping her site successfully transition from virtual to in-person outreach again.
Miranda Branyiczky (Queen’s University)
Miranda has demonstrated an ability to reach many youth as a Let’s Talk Science volunteer since 2019, including through national STEM Storytime sessions, local in-person classroom visits, and engaging social media videos. Her role on her Outreach site’s Executive Volunteer Team has been instrumental in helping plan multiple local symposiums.
2023 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:
“Serena Slonowski’s Bachelor of Education Community Field Experience – May 2022” – University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
This is a collaboration between Let’s Talk Science Outreach at UBC Okanagan and the Okanagan School of Education through a Community Field Experience placement in a rural and Indigenous community. In May 2022, over 500 Indigenous youth were reached with 20+ hours of hands-on STEM classroom outreach visits in Nisga’a Nation School District 92 and Prince Rupert School District 52. This took place during a 45+ hour road trip, where Serena Slonowski and her mother visited 5 unique communities over the span of 12 days. Plans are underway for a new teacher candidate to complete the trip and continue the partnership in May 2023.
“The building of a relationship with Jolina Gull-Blacksmith Memorial School and Rainbow Elementary School in Waswanipi, QC” – the University of Ottawa and Carleton University
This is a partnership between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University Outreach sites and Jolina Gull-Blacksmith Memorial School and Rainbow Elementary School. It began with them simply bringing their hands-on and minds-on activities to the community and engaging the youth mainly in English and then moved to delivering more French activities, providing activity kits for youth during the pandemic, and setting up the development of activities/workshops that connect to cultural teaching given by an Elder in Waswanipi. Since 2019, they have led activities with 1990 students, 467 students of those being within the past year.
The award winners will be announced in June 2023 – congratulations to all the nominees!