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Congratulations to the 2023 National Volunteer Award Winners!

News | June 1, 2023 | Share on:

Each year, we recognize the Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers who have exceeded expectations. Our volunteers have shown exceptional innovation and creativity to continue inspiring youth through science, technology, engineering and math. We applaud their outstanding contributions to volunteerism and Let’s Talk Science through three prestigious awards!

We’re proud to present the 2023 winners of The David Colcleugh Leadership Award, the Let’s Talk Science National Volunteer Award, and the Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach.

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.

Winner: Amaal Abdi, Let’s Talk Science at the 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.

“Over the course of the past 5 years, I’ve worked incredibly hard to cultivate an environment that connects volunteers to our organization and encourages their development into leaders and champions of STEM outreach. I am deeply proud of our commitment to bringing STEM to disadvantaged youth and so fortunate to lead the creation of life-changing outreach for Black youth. These are the most important things I would want to persist after departing from this role.” – Amaal Abdi

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.

Winner: Dominique Bower from the 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.

“Dominique proves to students why it’s so important to follow your passions even if there is a lack of representation for it because your mere existence within the field and the way you advocate for the subject might just be the form of representation someone else has been searching for!” – Allisha Bhat, Let’s Talk Science Site Coordinator at the University of Ottawa

Indigenous Outreach Project Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach

This award recognizes a collaboration between an Outreach site (or sites) and an Indigenous community that demonstrates a strong, positive impact on Indigenous youth through involvement in STEM-focused learning opportunities.

Winner: Let’s Talk Science at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University Project: The building of a relationship with Jolina Gull-Blacksmith Memorial School and Rainbow Elementary School in Waswanipi, QC

Volunteer team: Liliana Austin, Sue McKee, Marwa Ibrahim, Zaineb Al-Faesly, Olivia Makinson

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.

“At our site and with our various Indigenous partners, we have been working to offer ways to connect Indigenous culture and the STEM activities in ways that fit with the Indigenous community we work with. This is the work we find most meaningful and we have done this before (over the past 2 years) with the local and rural Indigenous communities we work with.” – Sue McKee, Director, Let’s Talk Science at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University

Thank you to all of the applicants, and congratulations to the 2023 winners!

Learn more about our amazing volunteers and how you can join the Let’s Talk Science Outreach community on our website.