iSci Mentorship – An outreach initiative to foster research skills in local high school youth
In September 2012, the Integrated Science (iSci) Program launched an initiative aimed at promoting scientific discovery while developing basic research skills in students from two area high schools. Undergraduate students in iSci were given the opportunity to develop their leadership and mentoring skills by working with high school students to design, carry out, and then present a science project at the Bay Area Science & Engineering Fair (BASEF) held annually in Hamilton for the past 54 years. This outreach initiative submitted 10 high-quality projects to BASEF and collectively garnered 10 individual awards, an outstanding achievement for its first year. Student mentees expressed their gratitude at being able to learn about science in a post-secondary academic setting, and the overall experience was viewed positively by everyone involved.
The High School workshop held on Saturday April 6, 2013 during the iSci Synthesis Symposium was a great success. This full day workshop was organized and led by iSci students from all 4 levels. After many months of preparation the iSci students hosted more than 60 high school students offering a variety of science workshops and thereby giving high school students a glimpse of how interesting life as a university science student can be. The following email sent to us attests to the experience the iSci program was hoping to provide.
The students in the Integrated Science program are running a one-day workshop for high school students. This workshop is taking place at McMaster University on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 9am to 5pm. This is our second year running the workshop, which was well-received by last year’s participants. This year’s workshop promises to be even more entertaining and educational.
Grade 9 and 10 students will participate in two different sessions, exploring topics concerning water on Earth as well as the search for water in space. Both sessions will feature hands-on activities, including a lab exercise to test water samples from Cootes Paradise. The first session will bring together various scientific approaches to predict, test, and improve water quality. The second session will focus on the importance of water in the search for life on other planets. Hands-on activities will provide an appreciation of some of the difficulties of space exploration, such as landing rovers on terrestrial planets like Mars. Participants will be introduced to current scientific ideas and predictions about extra-terrestrial water and life using analogs found on Earth.
The workshop offered to Grade 11 and 12 students is a science themed workshop that will take place in four sessions. These sessions include blood spatter analysis, blood typing, fingerprinting, and an analysis of television shows that involve forensic science. Each of these sessions will be led by a team of two that will teach you in hands-on, interactive ways. The content of these sessions will align with the Grade 11 and 12 curriculum. The different applications of various scientific fields within forensic science really captures what the iSci program is about.