Written by Camila Castaneda, Marketing Coordinator
Through a variety of youth-focused programs, SCWIST encourages girls from kindergarten to grade 12 to explore careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
The programs include workshops, networking events, informative conferences, as well as scholarships and awards. SCWIST also leads a renowned STEM-focused eMentoring program, where professional women teach girls about their careers in STEM.
In honour of National STEM/STEAM Day, here are some highlights of our Youth Engagement team’s impact over the last year.
Program and Workshops
With their ‘STEM Explore workshops’, the Youth Engagement team reached more than 2000 youth throughout Canada. Students explored hands-on STEM activities delivered by STEM role models during events such as Science Literacy Week, which is supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The Youth Engagement team also received free workshop design training from STEMedge Academy to make future STEM Explore workshops even better.
The Youth Engagement team has also developed a variety of Canada-wide mentoring programs which have increased the number of girls interested in journeying down a STEM career path. eMentoring is a 6-week program that connects students in grades 10-12 with professional women in STEM. They are sent weekly emails that guide their interactions and focus on a variety of topics, including life after high school, finances and work-life balance. This year, 65 students engaged with these inspiring role models and explored as many different career pathways! Feedback on the program has been glowing.
SCWIST Quantum Leaps Conferences
The team also sponsors and delivers STEM-focused Quantum Leaps Conferences. Their Technology Series brought awareness and interest in technology-based careers to over 450 high school students across Canada.
Scholarships and Awards
The Youth Engagement team has a variety of scholarships available and has handed out three Skills Development Awards, two Indigenous Youth Skills Awards and six Youth Leadership Awards so far this year. These awards have often been the catalyst students need to get their innovative projects and ideas off the ground or helped them discover where their true STEM passion lies.
Being Available When They Are Needed Most
Over the past few years, Youth Engagement programs have had to be flexible, especially when it came to transitioning online during the pandemic. Not even a global health crisis could stop the SCWIST Youth Engagement team from delivering accessible STEM information to students in need of guidance and support. Their model can be easily replicated by other non-for-profit who would like to engage in advocacy and equity in education.
After participating in their programs, 90 per cent of student respondents felt they knew more about the career opportunities available in STEM, 80 per cent felt better prepared to make decisions about post-secondary school and and 70 per cent said they were now more likely to pursue a career in STEM.
SCWIST’s Youth Engagement team supports girls through different stages in school, creating opportunities to meet role models and discover pathways they may not have considered previously and allowing them to explore the endless possibilities that STEM fields have to offer.