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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Hemmerich

Expanding our network: Up4's new connections

The beginning of the academic year is often an exciting time - a chance to meet new teachers, students, and friends and to consider the various challenges and opportunities in the months ahead. At Up4 The Challenge we are excited to welcome to our team three Bachelor of Education candidates studying to become STEM teachers through our new partnership with the University of Ottawa’s Community Service Learning (CSL) volunteer opportunity.

This partnership builds on our previous relationship with Prof. Giuliano Reis with whom we have facilitated STEM Design Thinking workshops for the last three years. During these interactive, hands-on workshops, we take his ‘teachers-in-training’ through a creative design process that demonstrates how to make meaningful connections between the science they are teaching youth and creating positive social change in their communities.

Our CSL volunteers will spend the next couple of months participating in structured activities, such as program facilitation and content design, that are also linked to their course learning. We hope that by actively reflecting on their experience with us over the coming weeks, they will not only increase their understanding of how to teach science in an inclusive and engaging way, but they’ll also provide us with creative ideas to continually improve our own programming.

Find out more about our University of Ottawa CSL volunteers, Madeleine, Seth, and Megan, here.

The idea to strategically partner with the University of Ottawa also expands on our fantastic experience collaborating with Ryerson University’s Arts & Contemporary Studies (ACS) program where we’ve benefited from having a diverse group of students placed with our organization for six weeks in the spring. While Giuliano Reis’ students bring their knowledge and experience in STEM education, the Ryerson students who have worked with us to date have contributed their expertise around equity and inclusion. Their experience and creativity have helped us grow as an organization while also improving our outreach efforts and ability to connect with young people who wouldn’t normally describe themselves as “good at” science.

You briefly met Parichart (Pari) in our previous newsletter. Read more about her Ryerson Fellowship experience here and meet Lauren, a Ryerson ACS graduate who is currently volunteering with us!

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