YES Program 2018
With support from NSERC PromoScience funding, SciXchange ran our Harriet Brooks Internship (HBI) and Camp SoSci for the second summer in a row. The HBI provided a diverse group of high school youth with a summer program to develop their science and leadership skills. Camp SoSci was a program for children aged 8-11. These young campers participated in our Eureka science, engineering and sports day camp and returned to campus for further enrichment.
HBI was a one week program centered around three main components: scientist spotlights, leadership skills, and activity development. In addition, an implicit goal of HBI is to expose interns to underrepresented members of the scientific community to counteract preconceptions of who scientists are and to give our interns role models they can relate to.
HBI - Scientist Spotlights
Scientists from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialties spoke to the interns about their work and career paths. Interns got to meet, learn from, and ask questions to help broaden their scope on what a career in science looks like and how to get there. Many interns were surprised by the wide range of potential careers available to them and new interests were ignited.
HBI - Leadership Skills
During the leadership portion of the internship, the interns and coordinators had an opportunity to discuss what kind of leaders they wanted to be in their communities and how to become them. The interns learned to navigate themselves through the scientific world by developing their communication and public speaking skills, learning to set goals, and building resilience.
By the end of the program, the interns were also prepared to participate as activity leaders for part of the Camp SoSci programming. They left the internship with experience and advanced tools in creating, planning, and facilitating youth engagement.
HBI - Activity Development
Interns were tasked with creating interactive, educational, and engaging science activities for the 8 - 13 year old campers of Camp SoSci. The interns thrived in this novel task and blew the coordinators away with the activities they developed and how well they were delivered. A truly successful moment was hearing some of the campers exclaim that their favourite part of Camp SoSci was the intern-led activities.
Camp SoSci boasted programming that touched on several aspects of STEM. The campers completed hands-on activities in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and math in a university laboratory. Campers got out of the lab for trips to Allan Gardens Botanical Conservatory and Loblaws PC Cooking School. They also received a talk from an engineering PhD candidate about food enrichment and nutrition. The campers were primarily girls to counteract implicit gender stereotypes at a young age.
In just the second year that SciXchange has run these programs, we have made much progress and many improvements in terms of reach and content. Seeing our interns and campers leave with new perspectives, skills, ideas, and goals inspires us to continue to strive to increase the opportunities we provide for youth engagement.