Award Winners (2017)
National Volunteer Award, Let’s Talk Science Outreach
2017 Award Winner: Jennifer Neufeld, University of Ottawa
This year, Jenn has been focused on getting students excited about science and joining the scientific community. At her outreach visits she shares her passion and talks about STEM career pathways related to the topic. Over the past few months Jenn has traveled to remote communities of Fort Albany First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation, along with supporting other local Indigenous outreach initiatives in Ottawa.
Runner-up: Analise Hoffman, Let’s Talk Science at University of British Columbia
Analise has been involved in a year-long partnership with a local elementary school in Surrey, BC. Through this she has mentored volunteers and prepared a variety of new activities for the students each visit. Her versatility is a great asset – creating activities on topics from biodiversity to coding and working with elementary to high school students.
Runner-up: Caitlin Loo, Let’s Talk Science at University of Toronto, St. George campus
Caitlin’s experience with Let’s Talk Science began as a high school student attending the University of Toronto symposium StemCellTalks. This event sparked her interest in stem cell research and opened her eyes to the variety of STEM careers that exist. She now works to share learning opportunities with youth as a member of the StemCellTalks content development team, an organizer for the Let’s Talk Science Challenge and by preparing relevant activities for remote trips.
Runner-up: Ethan Yang, Let’s Talk Science at McGill University
Since 2011, Ethan has been an involved Let’s Talk Science volunteer and has done outreach in French, English and Mandarin. Whether in the classroom, at a community visit, mentoring homeschoolers or judging science fairs, Ethan aims to make science fun for youth through interactive activities and asking big questions to pique their interests.
Runner-up: Nicole Jankovic, Let’s Talk Science at University of Alberta
Nicole strongly believes in the need to educate and inspire younger generations to pursue STEM and to understand current science advancements. One workshop she has created focuses on sustainable living practices. To create this Grade 4 workshop, she collaborated with the educator and the campus Office of Sustainability to create a hands-on/minds-on workshop to fully engage the students.
2016 – Portia Kalun, McMaster University
2015 – Curtis McCloskey, University of Ottawa
2014 – Sue McKee, University of Ottawa
2013 – Li Wang, University of Saskatchewan
2012 – Gabriel Potvin, University of Ottawa
2011 – Sara Rafferty, University of Ottawa
Let’s Talk Science David Colcleugh Leadership Award
2017 Award Winner: Mannix Chan, Let’s Talk Science at University of Victoria
As a local coordinator, Mannix is excited for the opportunity to inspire young students with curiosity and to encourage volunteers to continue being curious as well. He works to understand his team members’ personal goals in order to provide them with the most rewarding experiences within Let’s Talk Science. With this interest in personal growth in mind, Mannix supports his volunteers in realizing their own leadership growth gained through volunteering.
Runner-up: Ian Dimopoulos, Let’s Talk Science at University of Winnipeg
Ian is a true leader of positive change. He wants all Canadian youth to realize the vast opportunities within their reach. By building relationships in rural and communities and with inner-city groups he is accomplishing this vision. Ian has improved volunteer retention at their local site by adjusting their initial orientation to better motivate new volunteers ensure they have a positive experience with Let’s Talk Science.
Runner-up: Kendall Wyman, Let’s Talk Science at University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Starting the year as the sole local coordinator at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus, Kendall has worked hard to empower her volunteers and grow their program. Over just one busy week, the site was able to reach more youth than they had reached in the entire previous academic year! With such large growth, Kendall is now working to ensure the systems are in place for future site leaders to continue the momentum.
2016 – Emily Ng, University of Calgary
2015 – Rachel Ward-Maxwell, McMaster University
2014 – Gabriel Potvin, University of Ottawa
2013 – Frances Lasowski, McMaster University
2012 – Megan Dodd, McMaster University
2011 – Julie Mason, University of Toronto, St. George campus
National Volunteer Award, CurioCity
2017 Award Winner: Mira Okshevsky
Mira is passionate about spreading STEM enthusiasm among youth. She embraces the challenge of writing for younger audiences, recognizing it as a useful exercise for mastering science communication in general. She regularly uses the skills she has picked up writing for CurioCity to share her research findings in other youth-oriented publications as well. She wrote four articles for CurioCity in 2016, covering topics like climate change, anthrax, and how stray human feet end up in the ocean. Her articles are not only clear and informative, but also a lot of fun!
Long-time Let’s Talk Science volunteer Chris was one of CurioCity’s most frequent contributors in 2016. His articles cover a wide range of interesting topics in biology. Chris is passionate about promoting STEM literacy and continues to embrace new techniques to make his writing accessible to teens. Chris’ work has made it offline, as well. The CurioCity editing team is using an excerpt from his article “Autophagy: When your body eats itself” in a writing workshop as an example of how to explain scientific concepts through analogy.
Marie-Lyne is a committed Let’s Talk Science volunteer who has made significant contributions to both the Outreach and CurioCity programs. Within CurioCity, her translations are helping meet an urgent need for more French-language content. Marie-Lyne recognizes the challenge of making STEM relevant to youth, and takes special care to fully and clearly break down scientific concepts in her articles. Her goal is always to make STEM topics accessible, relevant and cool—and this shines through in her writing.
2016 – Anna Zhou, University of Toronto