Mentoring Budding Young Scientists in the Bison Regional Science Fair!

Written by JeAnn Watson, Youth Engagement Director and Dr. Anju Bajaj Associate Principal Catholic School Commission, Research Scientist in Cell Pathophysiology and PM National Teaching Award Recipient.

Each year, Dr. Anju Bajaj Manitoba Chapter Lead, single handedly takes on the monumental task of organizing the Bison Regional Science Fair (BRSF). The BRSF is an event that “inspires youth to discover their potential in these STEM fields, attracting bright hardworking students to grow their great ideas into initiatives they can take into the larger world,” said Dr. Bajaj.

It typically attracts over 400 students across the Manitoba province to plan, design and execute their science projects for a spot at the Canada Wide Science Fair. To add to this, Anju also mentors students on their science projects, despite not being an expert in the broad range of fields that these projects touch. SCWIST has admired and supported her efforts. So this year, we take it one step further.

SCWIST is now an Innovation Champion sponsor of the Bison Science Fair, and our Youth Engagement team has joined forces with BRSF to design a special e-mentoring program that will meet the needs of the science fair student participants.

Eleven grade 7 to 9 students have been paired with STEM mentors to guide them as they develop their projects. We did our best to pair mentees with STEM female professionals who are experts in fields related to their projects or that can take their projects to the next level. The program is running from Feb 21 to Apr 4. During this time mentors can guide students as they finalize their project ideas, carry out their research, complete their projects, and present their findings.

This mentoring round promises to be a fulfilling experience as mentors guide a young female budding scientist through their science fair journey.

Student mentees have sent letters to their mentor saying, “thank you for doing this. I am glad I have had this option because I feel like I could really use the help.”

Another student wrote, “I appreciate that you have considered being my mentor. It’s reassuring that someone is able to teach me something I’m interested in. I hope that the result of our collaboration is successful.”