There are many times I’m reminded of how meaningful it is to work at Actua, but today was special. Today I had the opportunity to spend time with the people who directly inspire youth through Actua’s programming; our Outreach Team Instructors.
Arriving on day four of the eight-day Outreach Instructor Training Camp in Ottawa, I was happily greeted by 12 dynamic, diverse, and engaging undergraduate students who have travelled from across the country to be here. All of them are passionate role models for youth with backgrounds in subjects ranging from computer science and energy systems engineering, to physics and medicine. Five of the twelve students are Aboriginal.
Led by Actua’s amazing Outreach Team Coordinators, the instructors are preparing for a life-changing summer of delivering hands-on, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs for youth in underrepresented communities across Canada. The energy and excitement around the journey they are about to embark on is clear. They will have the unique privilege of traveling to some of the most beautiful and remote areas of the Canadian Arctic - areas that few Canadians have the opportunity to experience.
With four full days of training already under their belt, I wanted to hear about what the instructors’ experience was like so far. Here’s just some of what they had to say:
“I love the format, it is so cohesive offering a safe space and sense of belonging. You don’t find this in many places.”
“The teaching styles are very effective, and ones that I will take to the classroom."
“Actua is one of the first employers I’ve had that actually values previous experiences of employees.”
“I love how everything we talk about relates back to the youth.”
“This experiences creates lasting bonds, there’s a synergy in which you wouldn’t totally get without coming here-- the ability to connect with these people doing the same thing as you across the country.”
“The types of the conversations you have here are tough to find anywhere else.”
Getting to spend one on one time with the instructors today was a reminder that collectively, we’re not only here because of our passion for STEM and teaching. Anyone who’s part of Actua believes that ALL youth, regardless or race, gender, socioeconomic status, or geographic location - should have the opportunity to be inspired through STEM.
Finally, what I’ve reflected on here is only a snapshot of what 1,000 instructors employed by Actua’s university and college-based network members across Canada are experiencing. I’m proud that Actua is supporting these incredible learning and life experiences for undergraduate students who are the driving force of Actua’s impact and who will bring these experiences into their lives and careers in the future. I can’t wait to hear their stories over the summer and share them with you!