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University calling all young and curious minds to explore science and digital literacy

Funding and partnerships supporting the university’s efforts to inspire the next generation of scientists and researchers

Students and staff at Oshawa's Lakewoods Public School celebrate the arrival of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's c_wonder Engineering Outreach 'Makers Truck' mobile lab (November 6, 2018).
Students and staff at Oshawa's Lakewoods Public School celebrate the arrival of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's c_wonder Engineering Outreach 'Makers Truck' mobile lab (November 6, 2018).

Whether it’s looking through the telescope at the surface of the moon, watching butterflies or working with friends to build a robot that can fly, a young person in Canada will typically recall that special moment when they discover a passion for science.

Back when 2017 Electrical Engineering graduate Rudy Lang was a high school student in south Oshawa, he knew he liked studying math and science. But Lang says he still wasn’t quite sure then what he wanted to do with his life.

“The University of Ontario Institute of Technology stood out to me because it was relatively new, had great modern labs and facilities, and a strong reputation for engineering,” says Lang. “I settled on Electrical Engineering because of how multi-disciplinary it is. My program introduced me to all kinds of amazing fields such as software design, embedded systems, power electronics and electric vehicles.”

Today Lang is an entry-level software developer with General Motors (GM) Canada in Markham, Ontario. A big part of his academic journey includes spending countless hours as an undergraduate volunteer participating in engineering outreach activities at local schools and libraries.

“A long list of teachers, lecturers, employers, peers and family members in the community have contributed to my success,” says Lang. “Whether it involved mentoring high school robotics teams, teaching primary students how to code, or sharing their personal stories about why I love engineering, I would like to help inspire future engineers.”

On November 6, Lang was on hand when the university, GM Canada and the Durham District School Board announced the launch of a new mobile design lab called ‘c_wonder’ during a ceremony at Lakewoods Public School in south Oshawa. The ‘Makers Truck’ mobile lab contains materials to deliver fun hands-on learning activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to elementary and high school classrooms.

“c_wonder was designed to let students be curious and develop a love of scientific inquiry, innovation and discovery through the lens of design thinking and engineering,” says Tarlochan Sidhu, PhD, Dean of the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Students will work together in teams as they discover STEM paths and solutions, all without boundaries.”

In September, as part of the Government of Canada’s Science Literacy Week, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced $11.9 million in funding for 163 grants across Canada through the PromoScience Program, including c_wonder.

PromoScience awards to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology

  • Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science: $120,000 (over three years)
  • Faculty of Education: $100,000 Discover STEM (one-year funding)
Quotes

“Our government understands the importance of fostering a culture of curiosity and a passion for science among our children and youth. PromoScience funding will help inspire young Canadians to make science part of their education, their careers and their lives. When we support young Canadians, as these grants will do, we are building a brighter future for our entire country.”
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“The fostering of curiosity in science and engineering opens doors to novel ideas, creative solutions and exciting career possibilities. By sharing their enthusiasm and expertise with Canada’s youth, the science outreach community is contributing to a healthy science culture in communities across this country.”
Dr. B. Mario Pinto, NSERC President

About UOIT Engineering Outreach
UOIT Engineering Outreach is a proud member of Actua and delivers Kindergarten to Grade 12 STEM outreach programming to youth in the Durham Region and surrounding communities. This year we will reach more than 14,000 students. Our community and school-based programs include: c_wonder: Mobile Design Lab, ENG Squad Summer Camp, Go ENG Girl, Go CODE Girl and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s annual Engineering Robotics Competition for elementary and high school students. For more information about UOIT Engineering outreach, please visit engineering.uoit.ca/outreach.

About Actua
Actua provides training, resources and support to its national network of members located at universities and colleges across Canada in the delivery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outreach programming. Each year, these members engage more than 225,000 youth in 500 communities nationwide. Please visit Actua at actua.ca.

About PromoScience
The PromoScience Program delivered through NSERC supports hands-on learning experiences for young Canadians and teachers. This program not only inspires the next generation of scientists, it also makes sure people in communities across the country have access to job opportunities that fulfil their passion for science.

About NSERC
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada invests more than $1.2 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Its investments deliver discoveries—valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform research and development and solve scale-up challenges. NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

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