It’s not every day that students have the opportunity to speak with a Nobel Prize winner. But that’s exactly what 50+ classes of grade 7 & 8 students got to do during the second annual STEAM Summit, an event created by FemSteamPTBO and hosted by Trent University and Fleming College.
The virtual field trip inspired students to learn all about school and career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
“Today’s event was a special look at what university learning can do for young people – an opportunity to meet and connect with inspiring leaders who will teach you something you didn’t know before and potentially show you a future path you hadn’t considered, ” said Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University.
Students at this year’s event had the opportunity to connect virtually with Dr. Donna Strickland, the first Canadian woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics and professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo . Dr. Strickland shared her experience as a woman in STEAM and gave the students some advice.
“Don’t ever let anyone else tell you what you are good at. Look inside and see what makes you tick. You know what you are good at,” urged Dr. Strickland. “You do your best job if you do something you really want to do. Don’t listen to other people say ‘do this or don’t do that’ based on what’s popular. Go with your gut.”
Trent proud of alumni participation in event
The fireside chat was co-hosted by Trent’s own Dr. Cathy Bruce, a leading educator and researcher and vice-president of Research and Innovation at the University. The Summit also featured a number of notable Trent alumni, including Rhonda Barnett, co-founder of FemSteamPTBO and president of AVIT Manufacturing, as well as the Honourable Maryam Monsef, minister for Women and Gender Equality.
In addition to today’s event, FemSteamPTBO will also be hosting Mentor Mondays sessions on the first Monday of each month. Mentors include Sandra Klemet-N’Guessan, Trent University Ph.D. candidate and president of the Trent Graduate Student Association, and Stephanie Johnson, a recent graduate of Trent’s M.Sc. program in Applied Modelling and Quantitative Methods.
Speaking on the event, Dr. Bruce said: “We were honoured to have hosted this event at Trent University, and to have had the opportunity to hear from Nobel Laureate, Dr. Donna Strickland. She is such a down-to-earth and passionate speaker who was able to connect her experiences as a once-shy and aspiring female physicist to students from across our region. Dr. Strickland explained to students her belief that in knowing themselves well, and in recognizing their own strengths, students will meet their potential and will have a richness of life opportunities. It was an absolutely inspiring interview!”
FemSteamPTBO is a collaboration and initiative in the City of Peterborough, supported by Trent University, aimed at showing female innovators in science, technology, arts and mathematics (STEAM) to help inspire the next generation of leaders. Learn more about FemSteamPTBO.