O UR T OWN
The Interior News
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Smithers Secondary School student researches with renowned scientists Contributed by Arlette Raaen Smithers/Interior News
Imagine doing research in some of the top science labs in the country. This is exactly what a Grade 11 student from Smithers Secondary School got to do earlier this summer. Gavin Day received a scholarship to spend a week at university doing hands-on science research. As a result of this experience he could be on his way to a fulfilling career in the field of science. As a successful applicant to the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering program, Gavin travelled along with 52 other First Nation, Metis and Inuit students from across Canada to participate in an informative and inspiring educational opportunity. The program aims to increase the number of indigenous students graduating from science and engineering programs in Canada. Scholarships were awarded based on demonstrated interest in exploring the sciences as a career option, and through recommendation from teachers. The program provided an excellent opportunity to experience science at the university level and to network with other students of similar interests. In his application to the program Gavin expressed a strong interest in engineering, particularly aeronautical engineering, where he writes that he has, “been part of
Gavin Day with Dr. Verna Kirkness. the Bulkley Valley RC Flyers Club for about three years now. “Physics is by far the most interesting and amazing class I have ever taken at my high
school level. Technology is evolving every day and seeing the way that it evolves really interests me.” While doing actual research with some of Canada’s most
accomplished and renowned scientists, the students also had the opportunity to experience living on campus. Through this experience, the realization that university
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is not necessarily a foreign environment, but an extension of their learning and a place where they can feel a sense of belonging became a possibility. Dr. Ron Woznow, Chair of the Verna J. Kirkness board of directors explained that, “not only will the students themselves develop new skills and knowledge during their internships, but they’ll also take their experiences and new knowledge back to their communities.” The program is being run in honour and with the support of Dr. Verna J. Kirkness, a member of the Order of Canada and lifelong advocate of Aboriginal education. “Education is the key to the future of our young Aboriginal people and an opportunity to be a science researcher for a week is an exciting and meaningful connection to the broad world of science,” said Dr. Kirkness. “As the program becomes known, it will motivate our youth to consider science as an inspiring field of study.” Students were selected from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and British Columbia and were placed in science labs at the University of Manitoba or University of Saskatchewan. In 2016 the University of British Columbia will be on board to host a group of students as well. Readers can go to www.vernajkirkness. org for more information about the foundation.
July 01, 2015 edition of the Smithers Interior News