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Indigenous Outreach Program Award Winners ignite a passion for STEM through Mentorship Program

Indigenous Outreach Program Award Winners ignite a passion for STEM through Mentorship Program

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London, ON — Let’s Talk Science celebrates a decade-long commitment to Indigenous STEM education led by Site volunteers at the University of Ottawa and the University of Carleton. The Indigenous Outreach Program Award recognizes an outreach project initiated by an Outreach Site (or Sites) that demonstrates a strong, positive impact on Indigenous youth through involvement in STEM-focused learning opportunities. Connor Kupchak, Evan Chartrand, Adam Shuhendler, Caleb Wesley and Sue McKee are the volunteers accepting the 2024 Indigenous Outreach Project Award on behalf of the program. They work in collaboration with three rural communities – the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, and most recently, the Moose Cree Nation of Moose Factory, to deliver the Indigenous Mentorship Program.

Volunteers visit schools in remote Indigenous communities to deliver educational activities and mentor students in STEM opportunities. Collaborating closely with educators and school administrators, they develop customized programs combining the curriculum with Indigenous ways of knowing. At Delores D. Echum School, students enthusiastically participated in activities such as snare-trapping, guided by volunteers introducing the engineering design process through land-based education. Following each workshop, volunteers continue to support students as they guide them in developing research fair projects to be presented in Ottawa in a post-secondary environment.

In these long-term, robust community partnerships, the volunteers from University of Ottawa and Carleton University exemplify Let’s Talk Science’s commitment to inspiring and empowering children and youth across Canada through meaningful STEM engagement.

Read more here.


“I liked how the Let’s Talk Science volunteers created hands-on science activities that were relevant to what we were learning about in the Outdoor Education class. After explaining the spring trap method that the Cree people use to capture snowshoe hares, the Let’s Talk Science volunteers designed their own contraption with counterweights which we ended up testing out in the bush. I later created a presentation which compared the two methods, which of course pointed out that the Cree method was better for many reasons. Thanks to the Let’s Talk Science Program for giving me the opportunity to share the harvesting methods of the Cree to the Mohawk students from Akwesasne.” – Robert, Cree student from Moose Factory.

“The ongoing involvement of Let’s Talk Science through Indigenous outreach has always been a focus, ensuring that all students can engage with STEM. Going to a students’ community, learning on the land with each other and then sharing that knowledge at a university campus are all critical actions for First Nations students to see themselves, their understanding and their perspectives being valued in a post-secondary setting. Through mentorship, guidance and learning alongside each other, can we transform the future of STEM for all learners.” – Tammy Webster, Director of Equity, Let’s Talk Science.

“The Indigenous mentorship program is a wonderful example of a community-based collaboration that engages Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers with First Nations youth to explore STEM in culturally appropriate programming. Expansion to include more communities has enabled even more youth to develop critical skills, meet inspiring role models and explore the possibilities of postsecondary STEM pathways.” – Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, President and Founder, Let’s Talk Science.

Indigenous Mentorship Program 

Let’s Talk Science’s Indigenous Mentorship program aims to inspire and empower Indigenous youth in Northern Ontario by providing them with unique opportunities for scientific engagement and mentorship. The volunteer sites at the University of Carleton and the University of Ottawa have spearheaded this decade-long initiative. Last spring, the program was able to expand to the remote community of Moose Factory, Ontario, thanks to the gracious donation from Mitacs. Through these collaborations, the program aims to foster a sense of cultural belonging and community connections by exploring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

Let’s Talk Science

Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering children and youth of all ages in Canada to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of STEM-based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit

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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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