My Experiences with STEAM Opportunities

In Vancouver, there are many opportunities for youth to get involved in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math). I’ve had the privilege to take part in a few of them, so I’m going to touch on a few of the experiences I’ve had.

Of course there’s Future Science Leaders, which I am super grateful to be a part of. A big part of why I loved the first year was the emphasis they gave on exploration, asking questions, and being curious. I loved the discussions we had about science and the breadth and depth we got from each theme. I also met some really amazing like-minded people and it was something I looked forward to every Tuesday night. I learned about citizen science projects during first year which I still take part in today!

Most people have heard of SHAD, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had! Basically, SHAD is a month-long summer enrichment program focused on STEAM and entrepreneurship. I went to Memorial, the University of Newfoundland, and stayed there for the whole month of July in residence. Each day I attended lectures and seminars, worked on my innovation project, did rec activities, and planned events in committees. On the weekends we got to go on field trips, which included a camping trip to Fogo Island, and visiting popular tourist destinations like Signal Hill and Cape Spear. Although all of the activities we took part in were amazing, the greatest part was definitely the people there, the 56 students at our campus got super close and I still talk to most of them!

In my grade 10 year, I did Encounters with Canada, in the medicine and health theme. This was my first trip by myself away from home, so I definitely grew a lot from it. There were 120 students there, and it was only 5 days long, so of course it was hard to meet everyone. I’m not particularly interested in medicine or health (kind of ironic why I did that theme!) but it was still interesting to visit hospitals, labs, and hear from health professionals. We also got to tour parliament and a bit of Ottawa, and do fun activities each night. It was a super great trip, way more relaxed than SHAD, and I was able to meet people from every province and territory in Canada.

In my grade 10 year, I was involved in Science Expo as an ambassador. For this role, I planned a small seminar at my school, volunteered at their annual conference, and took part in the mentorship program. My mentor was Jillian Bennett, a research assistant studying environmental science at SFU. I visited the lab each week to develop my own project about the different methods of salmon aquaculture and learn about how they influence the environment. I learned a lot from this experience and saw what it would be like to work in a lab. It was super interesting and it really sparked my interest in research!

Lastly, I heard about KidsCan through FSL, and it’s a research advisory group run at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute for teens. I haven’t been extremely involved with this program, but I attended a research workshop which was cool, and I took part in the ICAN Transitions project. For this, I contacted physicians and medical professionals from around BC to get their input on how transition from child to adult care could be improved for people with chronic health conditions. I interviewed a few physicians, and I learned a lot about health policy!

All in all, there are many great opportunities to learn more about STEAM in the community, and all of them are great resources to explore your interests. I am so thankful to have taken part in these programs and encourage anyone to get involved in them!

SHAD MUN Open Day via Stephanie Quon

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