Island youths encouraged to Talk Science at STEM camp

Former Expositor staffer Stacey Lavallie now plies her communication skills inspiring youth to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with the not-for-profit Let’s Talk Science. She and her colleague Mayanr Kothari of Bangalore, India stopped by Little Current for lunch following presentations in Aundeck Omni Kaning recently. photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT – Former Expositor staffer Stacey Lavallie dropped in on The Expositor recently with her colleague Mayanr Kothari, who has been in Canada for four months studying project management. Ms. Lavallie and Mr. Kothari were delivering the Let’s Talk Science program in Aundeck Omni Kaning.

“This is the second of two visits to the Island this summer,” explained Ms. Lavallie. “Let’s Talk Science is a not-for-profit organization that works with colleges and universities to provide youth with hands-on experiences with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). We work with youth in order to inspire an early passion in STEM.”

Mr. Kothari, who hails from Bangalore, India, is no stranger to the world of STEM, having spent the last few years working with robotics, but his current focus is aimed at putting the skillset of project management into his CV toolbox, with a bonus of getting to see as much of Canada as he can cram into the downtime between studies.

“The Great Lakes!” he exclaims when asked about what part of Canada has most recently captured his attention. We often take having the world’s largest bodies of fresh water in our backyard as commonplace, but the scale and volume of our water resources is pretty impressive to most of the globe.

“I am going to lunch and then we will head back to Sudbury,” he confided. “I have an exam at 3:30 pm.” Mr. Kothari isn’t concerned, however, he has long learned not to leave studying for tests and exams to the last minute. “I think I have it okay,” he smiles.

“Let’s Talk Science has conducted 50 visits in July and each of those site visits involved interacting with between 10 and 40 kids,” explains Ms. Lavallie. 

“Science, technology and innovation are increasingly important to Canada’s economic well-being and quality of life,” notes the Let’s Talk Science website. “Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) help us understand and shape our day to day lives.”

While the importance of science may not always be obvious, we actually make countless science-based choices each day, noted Ms. Lavallie. “Even when it comes to managing our health and well-being, STEM plays a key role.”

Let’s Talk Science’s focus on STEM helps to builds skills, she said. “Doing science develops the ability to ask questions, collect information, organize and test ideas, problem-solve and apply what was learned.”

But perhaps the most important aspects of inspiring students with STEM is that it has been proven to offer a powerful platform for building confidence, developing communication skills and making sense of the world.

“So let’s talk science,” quips Ms. Lavallie. “It can change your life.”