Glenforest Secondary School students have organized the Xperience STEM Conference for grades 7 to 12 students from schools across Ontario. The all-day conference will be held on Nov. 20, with 1,900 participants, making it Canada's largest student-organized conference on post-secondary programs and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Notes Glenforest Principal Cheri Riddell, "We are so very proud of our Glenforest students and staff who are involved in bringing Xperience STEM to students from all across Ontario. The planning and organization of this event has afforded our students the opportunity to not only exercise the 21st century leadership skills of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, character and citizenship, it also allows our community partners to work with incredible students who are their future employees."
The conference aims to increase awareness of STEM education programs and inspire youth to pursue STEM careers. "I commend the students of Glenforest Secondary School for their exemplary work planning the Xperience STEM Conference, the largest-ever of its kind in Canada," notes Education Minister Liz Sandals. "It's inspiring to see so many students so keen about the STEM fields—areas vital not just to their academic success, but critical to our competitiveness in a globalized and technology-intensive knowledge economy."
Mississauga City Councillor for Ward 3 Chris Fonseca demonstrated her support by visiting Glenforest to meet with the student executive planning teams. "It's wonderful to see students being leaders—I like the idea of STEM being by the students, for the students," says Fonseca. "Giving students more information on STEM jobs will help ensure that they know what they will be doing in the workplace, what pathways to take to get to their career destination, and it helps the students figure out if they will actually enjoy the work."
Students will have an opportunity to explore post-secondary pathways by visiting representatives from some of Ontario's leading universities and colleges, on hand to offer information on specialized STEM programs offered by their institutions. Many of these universities and colleges will also have workshops and hands-on activities that explore STEM based education and careers. Workshops and activities will also be offered by participating organizations such as Let's Talk Science, Chartered Professional Accountants, Professional Engineers of Ontario, Sheridan College, Microsoft, Cisco and MaRS.
This year, Xperience STEM has brought together an impressive Speakers' Panel comprised of professionals from diverse backgrounds in STEM. These speakers will talk about their education and share the challenges and rewards of their specific careers, with the intent of guiding and inspiring youth who are looking to pursue a future in STEM.
Special guest dignitaries at the conference include Peel District School Board Director of Education Tony Pontes, Peel board Trustee Sue Lawton and Education Minister Liz Sandals.
Student delegates will also have the opportunity to win prizes through various competitions at the conference. During the free event, students will be provided with snacks, drinks and lunch. The conference has been entirely financed with the support of sponsors, including Facebook, GlaxoSmithKlein, Hydro One, Magna, Microsoft, Sheridan College, University of Toronto and University of Waterloo.
The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2015, at The Meeting House, located at 2700 Bristol Circle in Oakville.
Reference: Diana Wang-Martin, Teacher and Conference Advisory at Glenforest Secondary School, 416-305-5873, [email protected]