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Nathan Kostiuk

Western Regional Coordinator
Let's Talk Science
Nathan Kostiuk headshot
Nathan Kostiuk headshot
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway
School Subject

Nathan coordinates the work of the Let’s Talk Science volunteer sites from Manitoba to British Columbia.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Born in Slave Lake, AB but grew up in Lethbridge, AB

I now live in: Lethbridge, AB

I completed my training/education at: I have a B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Chemistry both from the University of Lethbridge.

What I do at work

I support the Let’s Talk Science volunteers and coordinators across western Canada. This means assisting with hazard assessments, coaching new coordinators, and travelling to visit each site. Most of my job is linking the people who deliver science education and the people who support their activities. I use general science communication skills to support our various programs and activities. I use math daily to crunch the data we collect. I use technology skills to troubleshoot the web-tools I use to work. My work is mostly done remotely at a home office. Since my job involves travel and is integrated with internet cloud tools, though, I can work from anywhere with a good internet connection.

The problems I solve are usually human-centered. They call on my interpersonal skills as much as my problem solving skills. When I make decisions, I try to understand the problem as best I can. I then gather the help I need to solve it and help everyone understand the “Why” of our decision after the fact. My background in science helps me solve these complex problems.

People are kind of like chemicals. They have unseen interactions, special properties, and unpredictable reactions. Finding the right questions to ask a team is like finding the right test in a chemistry experiment. That is, it's the first step in understanding the problem and building a solution. My job involves a lot of teamwork, and wouldn’t be possible without them. Understanding the whole team's responsibilities allows me to deliver the best support from my colleagues to the sites. It also makes my life so much easier. Let’s Talk Science operates in French and English, so while my day-to-day work is in English, sometimes I get to speak and read in French. This helps me keep my vocabulary fresh.

My career path is

I studied all the science I could in high school. At the time, I wasn’t sure what branch of science I wanted to study in university, but I kept my options open. I went to my local university and pursued a program where I could do research as soon as possible. I earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree in chemistry.

While I was at university, I volunteered with Let’s Talk Science. As a volunteer, I worked to deliver science activities in schools and on campus. At that point, I found out that I preferred sharing science to actually doing it. This led me down the path of science communication. I took on as many opportunities as I could to share my passion. This included judging science fairs, writing articles, and recording podcasts. Finally, I learned the logistics of how to manage teams, materials, and budgets while working at a science museum.

I am motivated by

My proximity to technological and scientific advances keeps me excited about my work. I get to work with companies on the cutting edges of technology. I also get to work with scientists who are studying the biggest problems in the world. The part of my job I enjoy the most is getting to talk about the wonders of science to all sorts of audiences. Growing up I always wanted to share the latest thing I learned or some obscure science fact.

At this job, I encourage and support experts to share their passion for science. I get to work directly with the human side of science. Sometimes we are so caught up in those obscure science facts that we forget about the people behind the research. I believe that we can learn from everyone we meet. Getting to work with passionate science educators and pupils, then makes it very rewarding.

How I affect peoples’ lives

I get to see the direct impact on audiences and the excitement of youth. This makes my job feel relevant and fulfilling. It's especially fulfilling when I see audiences access material and technology that is brand new to them. I know that the memories we create will have a long lasting impact on their careers and futures.

Outside of work I

Outside of work, I enjoy staying active, backcountry camping in the Rockies, and playing PC video games. I also work in EMS and am upgrading my scope of practice by becoming a primary care paramedic. While it might not be relaxing, it gives me the chance to give back to my community and take care of people in need.

My advice to others

Your career is so much more than the degree or training you earn. There are so many jobs you’ve probably never heard about. With enough research you can find a job that combines your personal interests and professional goals.

I am indigenous

Some of my family live on Waterhen Lake, a Cree community in Saskatchewan.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Drama
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Business & Economics
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Learned best “by doing”

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