By Heather Campbell

Luc Boileau, right, Let’s Talk Science coordinator at Laurentian University, and Sky Kimewon-Bebamikawe making dreamcatchers.

Luc Boileau, right, Let’s Talk Science coordinator at Laurentian University, and Sky Kimewon-Bebamikawe making dreamcatchers.

SUDBURY − Students from Wasse-Abin High School have been finding out just how much fun science can be.

This past year they participated in Let’s Talk Science, a national program involving both Cambrian College and Laurentian University in helping students in the Sudbury-Manitoulin area discover the fun-side of science and relevant career opportunities.

In May students from the Wikwemiklong high school wrapped up this year’s program with a visit to Laurentian University and a Science Fair at Cambrian College.

Allison Ross, site coordinator at Cambrian, says the program focuses on STEM − science, technology, engineering and math. “We bring science into the classroom and make it fun for kids.”

Students have the chance to conduct actual experiments, create a science fair project and talk about potential careers in science with mentors and professors. Undergraduate students who are taking studies in biology, nursing, chemistry, and even social work, volunteered to be mentors.

Luc Boileau, Let’s Talk Science coordinator at Laurentian, says the program not only teaches the high school students about science but the mentors learn about sharing their own passion for science.

Mentors visited the students at Wasse-Abin four times, conducting four different workshops. Students learned about the science of physical fitness, simple experiments they could do at home and making a science fair project.

“The mentors were helpful; they helped us to test our experiment and I learned that there are more chemicals in a bottle of pop than I thought there were,” said Sky Kimewon-Bebamikawe, a Grade 9 student. “I like science and I think I would like to pursue it a little bit.”

Christine Trudeau, a Grade 12 student who accidently ended up in the science class, found herself pleasantly surprised with the experience.

“I have applied to study kinesiology and this definitely ties in with my interests in terms of science and what I hope to study.”

Her science experiment was studying heart-rates and the effects of music on heart-rates.  “I was the one who was administering the procedure so it got me more familiar with the equipment, which is helpful.  This makes me feel even more excited for further education.”

Christine planned to attend Queens University, but after her involvement with Let’s Talk Science she received an attractive enough offer from Laurentian to  give her second thoughts.

Boileau said the students were able to stay in residence at Laurentian and visit different science departments on campus.

“We took them to the biology and chemistry departments, they also were able to meet nursing students. We all had a chance to have a play day together at Science North and see an IMAX film.”

Boileau says they want to share the enthusiasm for education, not just science, and the volunteer mentors were learning as well.  “The mentors are learning leadership skills and gaining the confidence to share what they have learned in their own education.”

Emily St. Germain, a Laurentian University mentor, a graduate from  Wasse-Abin High School, said she was thrilled to participate in the program and encouraged more young people to explore careers in science.