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Announcing the 2021 National Let’s Talk Science Award Finalists

News | April 22, 2021 | Share on:


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!

2021 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

Over her time as a senior coordinator at the University of Ottawa, Amaal has advocated for youth in Black and Indigenous communities by helping transform the landscape of STEM to be more inclusive. She has taken an active role on the national Let’s Talk Science EDI coordinator committee as well as started a project with the goal of supporting Black youth in local high schools by encouraging them to pursue a career in STEM.

Lintao Hu, McGill University

As a site coordinator at McGill University, Lintao has put a strong focus on reaching underserved youth in communities that otherwise might not have access to the same opportunities. His understanding of the importance of building and developing strong relationships with others has helped form new partnerships at his site, such as with the Quebec homeschool network over the past year.

Sarah Woodward, University of British Columbia

In her leadership role among the coordinator team at the University of British Columbia, Sarah has worked to establish environments that encourage and support learning, mentorship, representation and inclusivity. She has led multiple initiatives to ensure long-term success at her site with a focus on EDI, continuity, financial sustainability and strong relationships with both her team and key partners of her site.


2021 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:

Aleen Shakeel, Ryerson University

Aleen has demonstrated the ability to empower other volunteers with her strong leadership skills as a volunteer at Ryerson University. This year, she has used her expertise in leading virtual programs and her understanding of the importance of coding to help transition various Computer Literacy classroom activities to an engaging virtual format.

Claire Poulin, University of Ottawa

Claire has shown outstanding passion, professionalism and commitment as a team leader at the University of Ottawa this year. In working with others on new initiatives and activities, such as on a new bioinformatics symposium, she continually provides the tools for others to succeed and creates more enriching materials for others at her site.

Emily O’Donnell, Université de Moncton  

Emily has used her remarkable teaching ability as a volunteer at the University of Moncton to serve as a role model and help students leave their comfort zones by using her own experience pursuing post-secondary education in her second language. She shows an eagerness and excitement to volunteer for new opportunities and inspires others at her site to volunteer.

Kevin Zhang, Western University

Kevin has developed a variety of new and innovative virtual activities this year as part of Western University’s kit development volunteer committee. His student-centred approach to working in the classroom allows him to reach students of all abilities and to encourage independent discovery in hopes of pursuing a future in a STEM field.

Linda Muzamuzi, University of Manitoba

Linda has focused on reaching students of all different backgrounds in her assistant coordinator role at the University of Manitoba. She demonstrates considerable empathy and a strong willingness to learn through her development of workshops focusing on Indigenous Sciences and her planning and delivery of a myriad of outreach activities in French.

2021 Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
This award recognizes an outreach project initiated by an Outreach site (or sites) that demonstrate a strong, positive impact on Indigenous youth through involvement in STEM-focused learning opportunities.

This year’s finalists are:

“Ten years of mentoring youth from the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne communities” – University of Ottawa and Carleton University

The Let’s Talk Science Aboriginal Mentorship Program at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University has mentored an average of 30 high school Indigenous youth from the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne communities to develop a science, research or design fair project each year for the past ten years. Volunteer mentors serve as science role models to students and help them see that science is both fun and a possible post-secondary option for them.

“The Beausoleil First Nation and Let's Talk Science, Lakehead Orillia” – Lakehead University, Orillia

As part of a partnership between Let's Talk Science at Lakehead Orillia and the Education Department of the Beausoleil First Nation, 26 teacher candidates/Let's Talk Science volunteers carried out an intensive program of science outreach for the seven classes that make up the Christian Island Elementary School. Teams of volunteers provided live outreach, pre-recorded activity videos and other resources for each of these classes to engage students in science at a critical time.

The award winners will be announced in June 2021 – congratulations to all of the nominees!