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“Education is the Great Equalizer”: Richard Longtin to Join Let’s Talk Science as Vice President, External Relations

Blog | May 16, 2024 | Share on:
Richard Longtin Headshot

Born and raised in the small town of Dunnville, Ontario, Richard Longtin admits he wasn’t always sure what he wanted to do. “I wasn’t too passionate about much until about midway in high school,” admits Longtin. However, when the government started to consider closing the local hospital and long-term care facility, Longtin found a new passion for his community. “My grandmother was in the long-term care home, and I had family and friends that worked in the hospital, and I just got passionate about it. I realized that what happens in a community is really important.”

As he moved into his post-secondary education, studying History and Political Science at Lakehead University, he carried his passion for community with him. From 2007 to 2009, he served as president of the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU), where he represented 7500 students and oversaw the multi-million dollar organization. After his presidency, Longtin took a position as Alumni Relations Manager while completing his Master of Education at Lakehead. Later, he transitioned to the Director of Government Relations role, during which time he helped raise more than $40 million.

Longtin has always been interested in the power of education and how it can be used to uplift individuals and communities. “Education is the great equalizer, and the power and pursuit of it is beyond just knowledge, wealth or a credential,” says Longtin. “People don’t realize how much it can transform an individual, how it transforms communities, families, and society.” Currently, Longtin is working on his PhD at the University of Toronto, where he is studying higher education institutions and their relationships to their communities, the “town and gown” connection.

For the past few years, Longtin has served as the Associate Vice President of External Relations at Red Deer Polytechnic, where he successfully oversaw alumni relations, development, and government relations. Being passionate about giving back to the communities where he lives, he has served as a board member with multiple organizations, including the Town and Gown Association of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital, the Thunder Bay Museum, and Rotary. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very diverse teams,” Longtin says. “The perspectives and lived experiences that people bring to the table allow us to come to better destinations and better outcomes. There’s a lot of privilege that I’ve had in life, and I want to make sure that I use that privilege to provide platforms for others.”

Looking forward to joining Let’s Talk Science, Longtin is excited to pivot his focus from higher education to the K-12 system. After working in the post-secondary space and meeting so many students who were unsure or confused about their careers, he sees Let’s Talk Science as the perfect pathway to help kids see different options earlier and leave high school with a better idea of what they want. “What’s appealing about Let’s Talk Science is it is trying to continue to open doors for youth and help them with their discovery journey,” says Longtin.

Despite the inevitable challenges of starting a new position, Longtin is looking forward to creating an impact on the national scale. “There may be some learning curves, but I’m really excited about this! I’ve worked in Alberta and Ontario, and I’ve done stuff on the national side of things—and even some international partnerships,” he says. “But what’s amazing about this new experience is being a part of a national effort to affect change and open doors. I’m excited to work across the country with many partners to get more people, more youth, involved in STEM careers.”

Longtin starts his position as Vice President of External Relations at Let’s Talk Science on June 17th, 2024.