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The Lives of Let’s Talk Science Summer Students

Blog | July 24, 2023 | Share on:

Hi, my name is Gray, and I am the 2023 Summer Communications Intern for Let’s Talk Science. I am one of 24 summer students working across five different departments. I started at Let’s Talk Science a few weeks ago, and it has already been a flurry of activity. As the Communications Intern, my main job is researching and writing stories to promote our organization. I get to work with the other members of the communications and marketing teams to ensure that everyone can learn about Let’s Talk Science and all the fun initiatives and projects we do! I thought it would be fun to check in with some of my fellow Let’s Talk Science summer students to talk about their roles in our organization: Carson in Marketing, Darrell in Digital Development, Jessica, Dawson Sarah, and Idelin in Youth and Volunteer Experience. So enough about me, let’s meet some other students hard at work at Let’s Talk Science this summer!

What is your role at Let’s Talk Science?

Carson: I am the Summer Marketing Intern. Right now, we’re working on planning out all the different marketing projects for the summer. I think I’ll be doing a lot of email-oriented projects and working on the website as well.

Dawson: I am a Summer Assistant Programmer at the main Let’s Talk Science office in London, ON. There are project kits that go out to public and high schools for students to complete in their classrooms. When they get shipped back, I make sure everything is in order: I’ll open it up, make sure everything is in there, add anything it needs, clean everything, then close it back up and put it back on the shelf for the next school.

Darrell: My current role at Let’s Talk Science is as a Web Content Assistant on the Digital Development Team. My job is to take things from our old back end and record all of them so that we can push them to a new database. I’ve also had a couple of tasks to fix links and reorganize documents that were shifted around when they were changed to different formats.

Jessica: I’m a summer coordinator based in St. Johns, Newfoundland, on the east coast. We do a lot of site visits, bringing activities to camps. When we are not out doing outreach, we are very busy prepping all our kits.

Sarah: Like Dawson, I am a Summer Assistant Programmer in the London office. Most of my role is fixing the kits used at the different sites. I’m also here to help in the office if anyone needs anything. Plus, I go to Let’s Talk Science outreach events!

Idelin: I’m located in Edmonton, Alberta, and my role at Let’s Talk Science is a video editor. I edit the Daily Discovery videos, the Visionary Symposiums and STEM Club.

I may be the farthest away from a STEM student you can be: I am an English and Creative Writing major at Western University. However, my liberal arts background just made me more excited to work at Let’s Talk Science because I knew I would learn more about fields I don’t typically interact with. A diverse set of backgrounds is the key to success in any organization, so I was very excited to find out where my fellow summer students were coming from.

What is the educational background you're bringing to your role?

Carson: I’m at Fanshawe College in the Bachelor of Commerce degree program, and my specialization is in Digital Marketing. I just finished up my third year, I have one more co-op to do, and then I’ll be done!

Dawson: I am going into my fifth year of Honours Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor.

Darrell: I have an Advanced Diploma in Computer Programming and Analysis from Fanshawe College. Eventually, I hope to get an undergraduate degree in video game development, but that’s somewhere down the line.

Jessica: I just graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN)  in May with a Bachelor of Science. I majored in Biochemistry (nutrition) and minored in psychology.

Sarah: I am currently in my third year at Western University. I'm studying engineering, specializing in mechatronics engineering. Mechatronics is a mix of electrical and mechanical engineering. It’s basically robots.

Idelin: I went to film school in Vancouver, and I have a degree in journalism from NAIT, the Northern Alberta Insitute of Technology.

The charity world has always interested me, so when I saw the opportunities that Let’s Talk Science offers, I knew I had to jump on them. As an English student, working in communications for Let’s Talk Science is the perfect way to hone my craft while also rediscovering my passion for STEM (I loved astronomy when I was little).

What drew you to working at Let’s Talk Science?

Carson: I was looking for an internship for the summer related to my program, and this one matched the criteria well. Plus, I think working for a company you can resonate with is really good: I have younger siblings, so I can see how Let’s Talk Science can make an impact.

Darrell: I worked at a call centre for about five to six years, and I didn’t feel I was making any impact. I felt that Let’s Talk Science and its clear and impactful goals were much more suited to me. It’s not just a job; it’s something that I am aligned with, and it’s something that helps people. This job is also one of my first tech-oriented experiences—before I was in tech support or surveying—but this role is actually in my industry, so I’m really happy to be here.

Dawson: Most universities in Canada have a Let’s Talk Science program on their campus where students can volunteer. When I first started university, I saw the program and was interested, but then COVID-19 happened, and my priorities shifted. Then, in my third year, I saw a Let’s Talk Science email chain and decided to join. One week, they sent an email that included a job posting for the London main office, so I looked into it and applied!

Jessica: In my third year of university, just after Covid, when everything was getting back to normal, somebody came into one of my lectures and gave a presentation on Let’s Talk Science and it kind of stuck with me. I just love science so much and I love the idea of teaching science, so I immediately knew I wanted to get involved with this program.

Sarah: I heard about Let’s Talk Science through a friend who works here. She likes the work environment and the people, so when a position opened up, she recommended it to me. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do something in my field.

Idelin: I am a queer and trans individual, and we are not always loved in the STEM community. So the ability to create things to ensure that kids who are queer have access to that is pretty cool.

My first few weeks at Let’s Talk Science have been a flurry of activity with training, meetings, and even an all-staff meeting to discuss the climate crisis's impact on our organization and its programming. I’ve been interviewing past Let’s Talk Science Volunteers and Coordinators, and writing many, many stories. And, of course, I chatted with my fellow summer students.

How have your first couple of weeks been going?

Carson: My first month at Let's Talk Science has been great. I've enjoyed working in the marketing team and being able to learn from experienced coworkers in a friendly environment. Putting my education into practice and developing new skills related to marketing, strategy, and research has been a great opportunity and I'm very happy to be here!

Dawson: My first month has been really fun and informative. I have been making kits and replenishing them as I learn about new ones each week. On top of this, I have been helping out with Let’s Talk Science activities ranging from participating in outreach events to helping prepare for in-house events such as the Let’s TLAk Science National Volunteer Conference.

Darrell: My first month at Let’s Talk Science has been by far the best working experience of my life. Even with being 100% remote, I have never felt this comfortable around my work colleagues, everyone here has such great personalities. So far we have fixed web pages, updated some HTML, logged a ton of data for later use, uploaded new assets, and filled in a bunch of missing metadata. We are slowly making the Let’s Talk Sciences webpage more assessable for those with impairments and making it easier for everyone to find exactly what they are looking for to empower their lessons.

Jessica: It has been so fun and so busy. This is actually my second summer in addition to being a part of the MUN team. On our second day, we were doing outreach hands-on in schools, so it’s been very busy. We’ve reached lots of youth so far.  

Sarah: It’s been going really well. The first week was just onboarding, training, and stuff. Other than that, it's been a lot of fun getting to know people in the office and looking over what the summer will look like and what we will be doing. We’ve been looking over a lot of the kits and just learning about them and testing out the activities.

Idelin: It’s been good. I get the footage, I edit it, bada-bing, bada-boom. Everyone’s very nice. In June, I participated in one of our equity lunches for Pride month—I’m a lot of the letters in LGBTQIA2S+, so that was a fun experience.

I already have a lot of projects on my docket to look forward to: interviews with past Let’s Talk Science staff and volunteers, writing stories for our upcoming 30th anniversary, and keeping up with the lives of our Let’s Talk Science summer students (of course)!

What are you most excited to work on in your role this summer?

Carson: Putting everything I’ve learned in school to practice. You can learn a lot of stuff in school, but it's usually theory-based, so I think this is a good opportunity to dive in and put everything I've learned into action.

Dawson: I’m excited to see all the kits. There are about 30 kits, and I’ve only seen about five to six so far. We did the Bone Zone kit, which is learning about your arm and finger bones, and it was interesting, but I want to see more. Is there a kit on the brain? Is there a kit on animals? I just want to see all the creativity people have put into developing these kits.

Darrell: Any aspect of Let’s Talk Science’s internet presence—not in the sense of social presence—but more in the sense of usability. I want to make sure that all of our resources and articles are accessible to anyone visiting our site. You can have as much information as you want, but it’s useless if you can’t get to it.

Jessica: This summer I’m most excited for the events we get to attend! We have some fun garden parties, the regatta, and an amazing science race coming up. I can’t wait to teach science to all ages in different locations across the city!

Sarah: I’m mostly excited to go through all the kits, especially those related to engineering and robotics. I know we have a couple of coding kits, so those will be fun to go through and learn about. At outreach events, we get to see the kids interacting with the kits, so I think going to those will also be a lot of fun.

Idelin: I’ve pretty much settled into what I’m working on, but I like editing the French videos— that’s a lot of fun.

This last question I mostly asked for my amusement— and hopefully yours!

Who is your favourite fictional scientist?

Carson: Tony Stark (aka Ironman)

Dawson: Dr. Nefario (from Despicable Me)

Darrell: Victor Von Doom (aka Doctor Doom)

Jessica: Ms. Frizzle (from The Magic School Bus)

Sarah: Dr. Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk)

Idelin: The entire cast of John Carpenter's 1982 seminal classic The Thing

And my favourite fictional scientist is the inimitable Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler from CBS’s The Big Bang Theory. Carson, Dawson, Darrell, Jessica, Sarah, Idelin, and I will all be hard at work for the next two months as we learn and grow within Let’s Talk Science. I’ll be checking back in with my fellow students at the end to recap our experiences, so keep your eyes peeled to learn more about the lives of the Let’s Talk Sciences Summer Students!