Discovery Western granted PromoScience funding

Western Engineering News | May 6, 2016

Discovery Western (DW) – a not-for-profit organization managed by Western Engineering – will be able to expand its outreach initiatives following the recent announcement of the 2015 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) PromoScience grant recipients. Facilitated by undergraduate engineering students at Western University, DW works to increase youth awareness and cultivate an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

A total of $81,000 in federal funding over the course of three years has been granted to support DW programming. NSERC PromoScience offers financial support to a wide variety of organizations that motivate youth to take an interest in STEM.

The NSERC PromoScience funding was announced at the Canadian Association of Science Centres Conference, which was held at Science World BC at TELUS World of Science on May 6. The Honourable Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science, announced a total of $4.8 million in funding to support 43 organizations across Canada.

Duncan also officially launched Science Odyssey - a collaborative event geared to engage and inspire Canadians of all ages with accomplishments and activities in STEM. DW will be participating in the ten-day long (May 6-15) national event through a variety of software engineering and coding workshops for youth in Grades 2-8.

Joanne Moniz, Outreach Programs Coordinator at Western Engineering, said the continued support from PromoScience enables DW and its community partners to bring interactive, hands-on STEM experiences to young people.

“This funding will specifically support initiatives that are geared at reaching young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with an additional focus on empowering female and Indigenous youth. DW works to create opportunities for young people to experience the possibilities that STEM creates, with a strong emphasis on highlighting electrical and software engineering careers.”

Aleks Essex, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the faculty lead on the DW PromoScience grant submission, spoke about what leads youth to choose a career in STEM. He explained that for some, it starts through the influence of a family member, an educator, or a STEM program. But at a young age, it is not about a career path.

“It starts with that experiment, that project, or that demonstration,” Essex explained. “It's about discovering the thrill in that moment when you realize, 'hey, I get it.' It's about the satisfaction in that moment when you realize 'hey, I made this.' If we can create an environment that provides kids with enough of these kinds of life moments, just imagine what happens one day when they realize 'hey, I could do this for a living!’"

Learn more about youth outreach programs at Western Engineering.