Scientists in School participant alumna Julia

Over the last 30 years, we’ve come across thousands of promising students with undoubtedly bright futures. Julia is one of them. The Environmental Engineering student, who is in her third year at Carleton University, is also a Scientists in School participant alumna. We’re delighted to share Julia’s inspiring story of finding her voice as a STEM role model in her community.

For Julia, Scientists in School workshops didn’t feel like a regular day at school. Julia fondly remembers learning about water movement and rivers in Kindergarten alongside her friends and her mom, who regularly attended workshops as a parent volunteer. She can still vividly visualize how exciting it was to learn about the environment in a hands-on way.

“Scientists in School is a crucial program that introduces youth to science concepts in an engaging and tactile manner,” Julia says. “Many teachers lack the funding and resources to teach [with these scientific materials]. Teaching with the combined use of visuals and physical manipulation provides students with the opportunity to learn experientially.”

In Grade 11, Julia was inspired by the science courses she took, particularly Environmental Science, and decided to pursue that career path. Gaining more hands-on scientific experience in Grade 12, she was accepted into the Science School program at the Ontario Science Centre, volunteering for school programs and working with visitors. Julia is now in her third year of Environmental Engineering at Carleton University working towards a Bachelor of Engineering. In the summer of 2018, Julia worked at the Virtual Ventures program at Carleton University as one of 13 instructors at the engineering camp. As an instructor, Julia worked on curriculum development, taught workshops and camp lessons, and created science, coding and engineering activities for Grade 1 and 2 students.

With a few incredible leadership roles under her belt, Julia also partly credits her childhood experiences with Scientists in School to her major confidence boost in Grade 7. Once a quiet and reserved student, Julia blossomed into a confident leader when she was recruited to help run stations in Kindergarten and Grade 2 science workshops. The experience, which allowed Julia to help younger students learns about wind turbines and UV rays through hands-on play and discovery, sparked an interest in renewable energy resources for Julia.

“It’s very important to engage children in science because they will grow up to be the next generation. These youth will need to be innovative and make discoveries in modern medicine, climate change and other fields. Without developing this passion early on, children may not be inspired to research and learn,” Julia says. “[Scientists in School] contributed to my passion for science and general skills like confidence and critical thinking.”

Looking towards her undoubtedly bright future, Julia plans to learn as much as possible about the environmental industry, field work and research, and is exploring her career options. Later in her career, she also hopes to one day help inspire the next generation of children and youth—no matter what career path they take—as a teacher.

Read more about Scientists in School’s impact on children and youth by visiting our Alumni page. Are you a Scientists in School participant alumni? Contact us at inquiries@scientistsinschool.ca to share your story!