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Queen’s hosts three EDIIA camps

Three new Queen’s camps aimed at fostering diversity within health sciences and engineering welcomed students to campus.

Health Science’s Outreach and Summer Program, Connections Engineering Outreach’s Black Youth in STEM program, and the All-Girls Queen’s Summer Engineering Academy (QSEA) took place at Queen’s University the week of Aug. 2-5.

Health Science’s Outreach and Summer Program

Health Science's Outreach and Summer Program

A new program, the Queen’s Health Sciences Outreach and Summer Program provides mentorship and educational opportunities to local high school students who self-identify as low socio-economic status, racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, immigrant, refugee, persons living with disabilities, or first-generation Canadians. This inaugural program offered mentorship and workshops throughout the year for Grade 9-12 students and culminated in a week-long immersive summer program on campus. All of the mentors in the program are current Queen’s Health Sciences students.

The 17 mentees, from five high schools in Kingston, got a taste of life as a student in health sciences through hands-on workshops, lectures, lab visits, simulation activities, and Standard First Aid with CPR-C training.

“The Queen’s Health Sciences Outreach and Summer Program supports local youth from equity-deserving communities who may not otherwise pursue a career in health sciences,” says Ryan Truong, QHS Outreach & Summer Program Coordinator. “This project builds students’ resilience, confidence, and awareness of educational opportunities – encouraging diversity within the classroom and the workforce in the long term.”

Connections Engineering Outreach’s Black Youth in STEM program

Connections Engineering Outreach's Black Youth in STEM program

The Black Youth in STEM (BYiS) summer program, part of Connections Engineering Outreach, is also an inaugural initiative. This summer program built off the Queen’s Black Youth in STEM virtual club, which began during the pandemic.

Grade 7-11 students from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) participated in the two-part BYiS program. The first part of the BYiS summer initiative took place in July, in collaboration with the Durham Catholic District School Board and Ontario Tech University to offer a specialized STEM camp for Black youth. Three Queen’s engineering Black graduate students designed and delivered STEM workshops to the middle school and high school students over a four-day period. For part two of the BYiS summer initiative, 47 Black students in Grade 7-11 from across the GTA were invited to stay on Queen’s University campus for three days. At Queen’s, they had the opportunity to learn more about engineering disciplines and life as a Queen’s student.

“From observation and feedback from parents and community partners, our camp has been an extremely positive experience for the students, which has raised their awareness and understanding of engineering and the engineering design process. The Black Youth in STEM program is positively changing lives and this camp has taken our program one step closer in fulfilling our mandate of increasing the number of Black Scientists and engineers in Canada,” said Cressana Williams-Massey, Black Youth in STEM Lead at Queen’s University.

All-Girls Queen’s Summer Engineering Academy (QSEA)

All-Girls Queen's Summer Engineering Academy

This year, Connections Engineering Outreach also offered a new stream of summer courses for girls in Grade 1-8, as part of QSEA. These all-girls courses are in support of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Chair for Women in Engineering strategic objectives, with the STEM content being designed and taught by an all-female staff and creating a positive female space.

One of the all-girls QSEA courses was the Taste of Engineering, a three-day overnight program on Queen’s University campus for girls in Grade 7 and 8. A total of 26 girls from across Ontario came to Queen’s Aug. 3-5 to participate in this program.

“This week we were able to connect with 26 girls and immerse them into a taste of engineering. Building bridges, designing arduino-based prosthetic hands, programming self-driving robots, and using acids and bases to explore medical applications were some of the highlights this week,” said Lindsay Jones, Engineering Outreach Coordinator.

These three new programs demonstrate Queen’s commitment to diversity and inspiring future leaders in STEM. Queen’s Engineering and Health Sciences look forward to welcoming back a new cohort of students next summer.