Alberta Science Network

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Volunteer Profiles

The key to our programs is passionate volunteers who share their enthusiasm for science and engineering with students and their teachers! Alberta Science Network volunteers are amazing people! Here we tell you more about what they do and highlight their accomplishments. Also see our Volunteer Awards page.

Bob Rose, Electrical Engineer
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

 

volunteer Bob Rose

“I had volunteered in the classroom when my 2 kids were young. I enjoyed it. There is an enormous demand for qualified people to present science topics. I feel teachers are not very well equipped for any science while they are in university. We as scientists and engineers can share an incredible amount with the students. I’ve met scientists and engineers who don’t feel they can contribute but you’d be surprised at how much you already know. Kids are in awe of you when you come into their classroom. You even get fan mail!”

Bob began volunteering with APEGA science outreach 20 years ago, and transitioned to ASN in Edmonton in 2010. Bob’s extensive repertoire of presentations has included Grade 9 Electrical Principles and Technologies, Grade 3 Hearing and Sound, Grade 2 Boats and Buoyancy, Grade 2 Magnetism and, Grade 1 Building Things. He has presented 13 times at teacher conferences and has recently helped deliver Teacher Workshops for ASN. He currently presents Grade 5 Electricity & Magnetism to Edmonton area students. Bob has made more than 200 presentations over the past two decades, reaching approximately 5000 students. Way to go, Bob! That is amazing.

“I love the things that the kids say – what does a scientist do. They have such interesting questions. For example, I asked the kids, ‘what do scientists do’, and one answered – they mix potions!! (this was when Harry Potter was at its peak). I love helping them learn about science. It is more than just for amusement –science is all around you. It’s behind the clothing you wear, the car you drive to work, even to make toilets work properly. Or just imagine that not too long ago, we heated our homes with wood – you’d have to chop down the tree, chop the wood, get a fire going. Now with the invention of the furnace and central heating, all you have to do is flip a switch!”

Thank you, Bob!

Jessica Slomka, Glacial Sedimentologist, Geoscientist in Training, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Geological Survey
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

 

volunteer Jessica Slomka

“I love teaching and engaging students in learning about earth sciences.”

Jessica began volunteering with ASN in Edmonton fairly recently: June 2016. She has been presenting Grade 3 Rocks and Minerals. Jessica has made 8 presentations for ASN so far, for a total of 186 students. 

“My best classroom experience: there are tons to choose from, but here are couple. For one presentation, I brought in jugs of water filled with sediment – sand, gravel, and mud. The students were learning about how sediment moves in water and how it is deposited. They would draw what they observed initially, then take the jugs and shake them to observe how sediment was transported and deposited. One group thought they would see what happens when you turn the bottle upside down. That was amazing- thinking outside the box; they had so much creativity, they were so into it. They were experimenting on their own!”

“The second best experience was a bit more serious. There was a student in the class who was putting his feet on the desk and giving us a bit of a hard time. At the beginning of explaining the Rock Cycle, though, I asked this particular student if he would like to teach the class about the Rock Cycle. He jumped right up, stood at the front of the class, and taught it in such great detail and with enthusiasm- he knew the concepts and then some! Both the teacher and I were completely blown away- the teacher had no idea he knew so much about the topic. After that, the student was engaged in the class activities and discussions, and he channeled something negative into something very positive for the class. He was amazing. It goes to show that student engagement, and drawing on students’ strengths, are so important in teaching and learning. I learned from that experience and it certainly strengthened my teaching!”

Thank you, Jessica!

Shannon Stambaugh, BSc in Conservation Biology and Management, Wildfire Information Officer, Government of Alberta
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Grande Prairie Region

 

volunteer Shannon Stambaugh

“I believe in ASN’s message that “meaningful science education experiences for children cannot come out of a book – they must be activity oriented and based in sound educational methodology.”
“I love working with students, breaking down the abstract concept of “wildfire management” and show students the science and technology our wildland firefighters use to make their decisions on how to manage or fight a wildfire. My co-presenters and I are able to connect real world issues (wildfire management) with what they are learning in the classroom.”

“I truly believe in the saying: knowledge is power. Connecting our presentations directly to the curriculum, we show the students that the knowledge they are gaining in school can be applied it to real world situations. My hope is that in a small way, students are inspired to love learning.”

Shannon began volunteering with ASN in the Grande Prairie region in 2013. Her topics include: Grade 4 Plant Growth and Changes, Grade 5 Weather Watch (exploring the connection between weather and wildfire) and Kindergarten to Grade 2 Trees and Forests. Over the past three years, she and her team has presented to over 1500 students in Whitecourt, Fox Creek and Swan Hills.

“I would have to say my best classroom experiences are outside of the classroom when I see the students at other events or around town at local stores when I am not wearing my uniform. They often smile at me or come up and say – hey aren’t you the wildfire person? I know all about wildfire now.”

Thank you, Shannon!

Devyn Rudd, BSc. in Civil Engineering, Masters in Structural Engineering Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

volunteer Devin Rudd

“I was laid off last summer and was looking for things to do to give back to the community. My girlfriend is a Grade 2 teacher, and I had helped her out in the classroom and quite enjoyed it - the combination of working with kids and sharing my passion for engineering and math. I then found the SEitC program on the APEGA website and it was a great fit to what I had already done in the classroom. I really wanted to share my passion for learning and awareness in STEM fields, because often times we don’t get that while we are growing up.”

Devyn began volunteering with ASN in Edmonton in June 2016. He presents Grade 1 Building Things, and also a Teacher Workshop on Grade 3 Building with a Variety of Materials and Testing Materials and Designs. Devyn has made 18 presentations for ASN since he started, reaching 449 students.

“My best classroom experience: there was this one classroom in St Albert where the kids were always really enthusiastic, putting things together. They were given playdough in plastic cups to use to make an awesome building. There was one group who used the cups along with the playdough to make a tall and strong building. Their ingenuity and creativity is amazing.”

Thank you Devyn!

Andrea Walter, Hydrogeologist, Bachelor of Applied Science (Geological Engineering) and a Master of Science (Hydrogeology), Univ. of Waterloo Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

 

volunteer Andrea Walter

“I truly love the energy and excitement of the children when I do my presentation especially the hands-on portion.  They always have such interesting and often quite insightful comments and questions.  I so look forward to going into the classrooms and seeing the students have such fun with science.  I really hope that I can have some impact (at least a little) in encouraging them to think of science and engineering as a future career.”

Andrea has 25+ years of experience as a hydrogeologist and environmental advisor at consulting firms (Waterline Resources Ltd and AMEC) and oil and gas companies (Nexen and Petro-Canada – now Suncor). Presently she does contract work for the Canadian Oil Sands Technical Alliance (COSIA) for their groundwater related projects including regional numerical groundwater modelling, regional geochemistry and isotopes studies and subsurface thermal process.
Andrea began volunteering with ASN in Calgary in 2014. She presents Grade 2 Exploring Liquids, Grade 2 Buoyancy and Boats, and Grade 3 Rocks and Minerals. Andrea has made 44 presentations for ASN since November 2014 for 965 students.

“My best classroom experiences - I have had so many but I think my best was at a school where many of the children had English as a second language. The teacher “warned” me of this and that some may have difficulties. The whole group of students were so amazing and very appreciative of me coming in and really had no difficulties building boats. Also I love how the classes send envelopes of self-made thank you cards.”

Thank you Andrea!

Pauline Sceviour, Bachelor's Degree – Civil Engineering,
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

 

volunteer Pauline Sceviour

“I got involved with ASN after my first mentor mentioned the program. It’s a really great thing to see how kids absorb knowledge and how questioning they become. And being a part of their lightbulb moments is a wonderful experience.”

Pauline has been volunteering with ASN in Calgary since 2012. She has done more than 50 classroom presentations to over 1250 students. She presents Grade 1 Building Things and Grade 3 Building with a Variety of Materials.

“After one of my very first presentations – I received a collection of thank you cards in the mail. The cards, hand made by the students (and teacher!), included drawings of what we made and things they learned. It was really unexpected, and I loved reading each and every one. They loved it and they were so thankful. To this day, I still have those cards.”

Thank you Pauline!

Natallia Kanaplianik, Bachelor Degree – Mechanical Engineering,
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Red Deer Region

 

volunteer Natallia Kanaplianik

“First of all, I was teaching students back home in Belarus, but because it was in Russian, it was such a big challenge to find something similar here, in English. I just decided – ok, I have a lot of knowledge to share, but how can I do this? I found ASN in 2014- I decided this would be good to do. It’s not every day, it’s every once in a while; it’s not like teaching where you do it every day.
Kids – they are such a wonderful audience. They get excited so easily, and I decided this is my thing. It’s about excitement and knowledge. They ask “How do you know so much? Where did you learn that?”
And sometimes they just don’t see the science, it’s hiding. For example, in Grade 4 Wheels and Levers -no one sees a gearbox, it’s hiding inside a vehicle. When you bring it out into the classroom and show them how this mechanism works, it’s amazing.
This excitement and inspiration – this is why I am still doing this and why I have done it – it’s so easy to inspire them. I’ve even chosen a second topic- one was just not enough.”

Natallia began volunteering with science outreach in Red Deer in May 2015. She presents Grade 4 Wheels and Levers, and is working on a new Grade 3 Building, and Testing with a Variety of Materials. Since her start in May 2015, Natallia has already completed 12 presentations to 338 students.

“The best classroom experience. Usually we just test our cranes when kids make them, and make it a competition - which crane is more stable. Kids were so sleepy at the beginning, but at the end they were screaming – load more onto our cranes! They were so excited at the end. This time it was such a blast, they were so excited. Before I didn’t do it this way – only I was loading the cranes, this time they were doing it. If they do it, it’s more fun for them.”

Thank you Natallia!

Alexander Diaz,  Bachelor of Science - Physical Science
Data Analyst at Yardstick Inc, Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

 

 

volunteer Alexander Diaz

“I’ve been doing this kind of thing since university and I’ve always loved doing it. In my first year of presenting science, I found that I absolutely enjoyed it, and I really wanted to give back. I started at the Telus World of Science as an observatory assistant.
The reactions the kids give, I love - such as when they say “Wow that’s so cool”. It never gets old for me. If I can blow their minds, it gives me energy and makes me that much more passionate and it inspires me to keep going.  You can always tell when their gears are going in their head and it’s then that you can tell you got through to them.  I know that I can’t get through to them all the time, but there are times when I have taught them, they’ve come up to me at the end and asked questions and are really engaged. I feel I’ve reached a lot of kids. It’s really a lot of fun.”

Alexander started volunteering with science outreach with ESON (Alberta Science Network’s predecessor Edmonton). He presents Grade 4 Light and Shadows and Grade 7 Light and Optical Systems, Grade 5 Weather Watch, and he is working on a new Grade 6 Sky Science presentation. During the last school year, Alexander did 15 SEitC presentations for 417 students. Furthermore, he presented at a science event called the BEST conference (run by Edmonton Catholic School Board) and has volunteered for the Family Nature Nights.

“The best classroom experience was when I was trying something new, I thought it was something fun. It was a laser presentation with balloons, demonstrating how colours affect reflection and absorption of light differently. Each different coloured balloon would pop at a different rate. I was going through each one individually, and the kids were trying to guess which one wouldn’t pop. It was sheer suspense, the kids were getting closer and closer to my experiment as each balloon popped, they were so curious and keen. I’ve never seen so many kids on edge. I still do this in my presentations, they have so much fun with it!”

Thank you Alexander!

Lexie Farmer, M.Sc. Ecology, Senior Instructor, Mount Royal University
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

 

volunteer Lexie Farmer

“I love the excitement of the kids when I present in the classroom. It is refreshing, it rejuvenates me. They’re so excited about everything, it builds me up.”

Lexie began volunteering with ASN in Calgary in 2011. She presents Grade 1 Needs of Plants and Animals, Grade 2 Small Crawling Flying Animals, Grade 3 Animal Life Cycles, and Grade 5 Wetlands. Through the SEitC program, Lexie has made over 35 presentations, and she has also presented twice at the annual Science Road Show ASN holds every year.

“My best experience happened over a few years. There was a school where I specifically addressed special needs students. Many of them had a phobia of insects. Over a couple of years, these particular students went from not even being able to be in the room with insects, to having a great interest in them. It was neat to see the transformation.”

Thank you Lexie!

Rick Scott, B. Sc. Botany, M.Sc. Plant Physiology, Instructor, Grande Prairie Regional College
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Grande Prairie Region

volunteer Rick Scott

“Although my job is as a lab technologist, I also now teach full-time. I have always had a passion for nature. I help kids appreciate nature and spiders and bugs through presentations for both ASN and the Peace-Parkland Naturalists, a local natural history club. I have always liked insects. When my wife found black widow spiders in our bunch of bananas from the store, the press called to interview me about them. After that, even more calls came in to talk about spiders and insects.”

Rick began volunteering with ASN in Grande Prairie in the spring of 2015. He presents Grade 2 Small Crawling Flying Animals, and is planning to choose more topics this coming year. Over the past two years, Rick has done 14 presentations, reaching 250 students.

Rick is also an amateur photographer, so he loves taking photos of insects and bringing them in to show the students. Depending on the time of year (fall/spring is best), Rick has the students collect their own live insects and bring them into the classroom so that he can identify them and talk about them. He says it is neat how the students really take ownership of their own insects that they have collected.

“My best classroom experience – I was really impressed with this one class. I brought in some live insects and used a microscope and monitor. As I was leaving the classroom, the Grade 2 students asked for my autograph! It was amazing how they saw a biologist as somebody special.”

Thank you Rick!

Richard de Boer, Sunwest Aviation, Private Pilot, President of the Calgary Chapter Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Founder & President Calgary Mosquito Aircraft Society Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

volunteer Richard de Boer

“I came to volunteer with ASN because of David Fowlow – he was having so much fun with it, he thought I would too. I volunteer because I like sharing my knowledge and experience, contributing to my community and also serving the purpose of the organization, which is getting kids excited about science. I am genuinely passionate about the subject, which is a good grounding for my presentations.”

Since March 2005, Richard de Boer has made over 70 SEitC presentations for CSN/ASN on the topics of Grade 6 Flight and Air & Aerodynamics.  He has also presented for the Awesome Science Road Show and made a special presentation in March 2012 at ASVI, the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired, for both non-sighted students of various ages and their families.  The non-sighted students then took what they had learned and presented the content to their peers in their own classrooms at school.

“What really gets me feeling really appreciated is when the kids are right with me, anticipating where the material is going. They are very well grounded in the material, the teacher has made a lot of effort to have the kids prepared, so that they can challenge me to go beyond the basics. Another great experience was a Saturday workshop at the ASVI (the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired). It was a presentation to not only students but a lot of the parents were visually impaired as well. It took a lot of tailoring to make what was a very visual presentation into a presentation fit for the audience. With some helpful nudges from someone experienced in this area, we had a fabulous time!”

Thank you Richard!

 

Jessica Liggett, PhD Hydrogeology, Groundwater Specialist, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Geological Survey Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

volunteer Jessica Liggett

“I like bringing awareness of science to kids, and especially getting them interested in Earth Sciences.”

Jessica has been volunteering with ASN in Edmonton since February 2015. She has done more than 5 classroom presentations to over 150 students, 2 Teacher Workshops (which is a new program in Edmonton) and a Family Nature Night (4 presentations).

“My favourite presentation was my very first one. It was a small class, a special needs class. We kept it casual and looked at different rocks that we don’t usually get a chance to look at with a bigger class.”

Thank you Jessica!

Jonathan Barraclough, Glider Pilot Instructor, Canadian Forces
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

volunteer Jonathan Barraclough

“I volunteer with ASN because of the opportunity to volunteer with kids. I personally love teaching to kids, it is a big passion of mine, and ASN seemed like an excellent opportunity to teach skills and the fun parts of air and aerodynamics.”

Jonathan has been presenting with ASN in Edmonton since October 2015. He presents Grade 6 Flight, and Grade 6 Air/Aerodynamics. Through the SEitC program, Jonathan has completed 5 presentations to over 250 students, and also one Teacher Workshop (which is a new program in Edmonton this year).

“The best classroom experience for me was my very first presentation, to about 60 students. They all seemed really engaged. They even had me sign their notes. I’ve even had kids ask me to sign their paper airplanes.”

Thank you Jonathan!

Maya Akbari, Bachelor Electrical Engineering, Dalhousie University, specializing in Automation and Control, Commercial Building Design, and Robotics
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Grande Prairie Region

volunteer Maya Akbari

“I believe education is important. Science is interesting – there’s so much to know, you can always keep exploring. I wish I had the opportunity to have a speaker when I was younger. If I had, I might have started into engineering at a much younger age. The world is much more interesting than we know.””

Maya started volunteering with science outreach with APEGA in Grande Prairie, through whom she heard about ASN’s classroom program. She began presenting with ASN in Grande Prairie in September of 2015. She presents Grade 5 Mechanisms Using Electricity and Grade 5 Electricity and Magnetism. Through the SEitC program, Maya has presented to over 7 different groups.

“The best classroom experience is when the kids participate. They ask amazing questions, some of which I have to say ‘let me get back to you!’ Also when they build their own motors and ask questions, their level of participation intrigues me.”

Thank you Maya!

Heather Currie, P. Biol, B. Sc, AMEC-Foster-Wheeler
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

volunteer Heather Currie

“Because of the one year I worked in environmental education, I noticed that when I moved to Calgary, I really missed working with kids. I missed that outlet for sharing my enthusiasm for nature, so that encouraged me to look for volunteer opportunities, and that is how I found ASN.”

Heather began volunteering with ASN in Calgary in 2012. She presents Grade 3 Animal Life Cycles, Grade 4 Plant Growth and Changes and Grade 5 Wetland Ecosystems. Heather has made 19 presentations for CSN/ASN since November 2012.

“I think I am lucky to have the presentation topics I do, because I believe kids are inherently drawn to nature and the simple addition of having access to someone who is just as curious and willing to explore as they are really just lets them take off with discovery. ”

“My best classroom experiences usually have to do with the types of questions I receive from the students. I’m blown away by their ability to apply what they have learned. After mentioning how dragonflies during the time of dinosaurs could have a wingspan of half a meter, one student was confused as to why dragonflies survived while dinosaurs did not. I was taken aback by the question, and ended up having a conversation about the amazing ability insects have for adaptive evolution, with a group of 10 year olds! Also the reactions the kids have always make me smile – whether its describing how a dragonfly nymph shoots water out its butt to propel itself through the water or dressing a student up in a moth costume their reactions are amazing. ”

Thank you Heather!

Jay Lavender, Project Management Consultant, Astronomer
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

volunteer Jay Lavender

“Astronomy is my passion. I’ve been involved with astronomy for over 40 years now. I started studying astronomy in elementary school, just like everyone else, but then my Dad and I started to build our own telescopes, my interest really began! For several years, we built telescopes, and ended up building what was once the biggest telescope west of Toronto.”

“I was recruited to ASN in Edmonton around the time I started studying Heliophysics – the study of our Sun and its effects on the solar system. We use specialized solar telescopes to study the sun, which means we can do solar observing events at schools during the daytime. I own two solar telescopes that allow us to observe the sun in the Hydrogen-alpha and Calcium-K lines of the light spectrum. I bring my solar telescopes to the school, as well as my handheld spectroscope to show the students the light spectrum. I also bring with me several large-format photographs of the sun (which I took), and a series of images depicting a typical star’s lifecycle. If I didn’t have to eat, I’d spend all of my time studying our closest star. I’m very passionate about it; it’s the kind of stuff I love. ”

Jay began volunteering with ASN in Edmonton in 2013. He presents Grade 6 Sky Science and Grade 9 Space Exploration. Through the SEitC program, Jay has presented to 47 classes, equaling exactly 1200 students!

“What I really like about presenting is when you have a large group of Grade 6 students—40-60 kids—and they have their heads in the clouds before we start the presentation. Then, the presentation starts, they become captivated, the tomfoolery and goofing off stops, and the creativity of young imaginations unites with the inspiration of space science. And like simmering kernels of corn in oil, the ideas, the questions and the suggestions frantically begin to pop! A teacher once said to me, ‘I can’t believe you just kept 50 Grade 6 students captivated for a full hour.’ ”

Thank you Jay!

Dave Fowlow, Engineer, Husky Energy; Senior Flight Instructor
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom and Teacher Workshops Volunteer, Calgary Region

volunteer Dave Fowlow

Giving back is important to Dave Fowlow and he is passionate about flying so it was a natural fit for him to join ASN's predecessor, CSN as a Scientists & Engineers in-the-Classroom volunteer in February 2001. Since then thousands of students and teachers have been captivated by Dave’s Flight, and Air and Aerodynamics presentations, both in classrooms and at PD Teacher Workshops. His radio-controlled plane, balloon powered helicopter and flying bird model always grab attention, but it is his ability to explain the science with ease that is most commented on. David does an excellent job explaining a variety of the objectives in the flight and air and aerodynamics units in a way that the students enjoy and remember. He speaks at a level they understand and his airplane is the "coolest" according to the kids.

Dave's awesome volunteer contribution to getting kids excited about science was recognized when he received the Ward Neale Award in 2010. At that time he had visited 98 schools and given 184 presentations to over 6000 students. His current stats summary is even more amazing! He has presented at 16 Teacher Workshops, and made 152 school visits, totalling 270 presentations to 9996 teachers and students!

“In the fall of 2000, a work colleague told me about the Science Network. I was intrigued about the concept. Science and flight has always been deeply fascinating and I was eager to share my passion with others. April 23, 2001 was my first presentation. What an experience! What a surprising depth of questions from the students! Since then, my records show that I have visited 98 schools and given 184 presentations to over 6000 students. But these are just numbers. Students continually astound me! They energize me, inspire me, humble me, teach me. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities and experiences that The Science Network has afforded me.”

“I would absolutely recommend this volunteer - in fact, I already have. He was so passionate and experience in the field that the students were hooked. He used several devices to demonstrate what he was saying. He was fun and personable.” Teacher quote

Thank you Dave!

Ana Tanaka, Engineer-in-Training, Weyerhaeuser; Science Outreach Coordinator for APEGA, Grande Prairie Region
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom Volunteer, Grande Prairie Region

volunteer Ana Tanaka

“I found out about ASN at an APEGA Christmas party in Edmonton where I met Shannon Zwicker, (previous Executive Director at ASN). I love my profession and hope kids see this as well. My Dad is an engineer, but not all kids have that sort of opportunity. Engineering is an amazing profession and I want them to see that as well.”

Ana began volunteering with ASN in Grande Prairie in 2015. She recently presented at the Tour of Alberta cycling race in early September, where hundreds of young students from Grande Prairie came out to the finish line to not only cheer on the participants, but to also learn about the science behind cycling. Numerous science stations were set up and Ana created and ran the Grade 6 Air and Aerodynamics station. Kids were shown how aerodynamics can affect cyclists during the race. Ana was instrumental in organizing the initial APEGA meeting with ASN as well as assisting with getting Engineers to present at the Tour of Alberta. Through the SEitC program, Ana has done 3 presentations to 90 students.

“Through my science outreach work at APEGA, we were running challenges for kids to build a machine – to challenge them to think of which materials to use and why. The kids were challenged to learn about engineering technical work, and our job was to help them understand the concepts and come up with a solution. It was amazing – we thought it was hard, but it wasn’t for them. The kids came up with awesome solutions all on their own!”

Thank you Ana!

Amy Nixon, Research Coordinator at Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Edmonton Region

volunteer Amy Nixon

"Firstly, I really enjoy my work and the field I work in. I like to share the passion I have for my job with kids, show them that they can be real scientists. It’s a valid career choice that’s interesting and accessible.

Secondly, I like promoting science literacy. In my job I communicate a lot with the public, and if the public has a good basic understanding of the science, they have a vested interest in what I’m saying. And kids are a good target audience because they have a natural enthusiasm and curiosity. I am always inspired to talk to them because they have great questions so they can go further with a topic than I ever thought they would."

Amy began volunteering with ASN in Edmonton in 2012. She presents on Grade 4 Plant Growth and Changes, both in the classroom and to teachers within the Teacher Workshop program. With the SEitC program, Amy has reached over 200 students. In addition, through her instruction at our annual Treaty 8 Teacher Symposium, she has helped teachers make the unit come to life for many more students!

"The thing I love about doing classroom presentations is getting asked a tough question. It always surprises me how much they know already, the amount of inquisition they have. It happens every visit, I always get asked a tough question. Overall that’s why I keep coming back.."

Thank you Amy!

 

Robbie Halonen PhD, Physics Instructor, Department of Science, Red Deer College
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Central Region (Red Deer)

volunteer Robbie Halonen

"As an academic, I think outreach is an assumed responsibility. All of us should be doing this, it’s part of the job, just something we should do. I feel very passionately about this – increasing science literacy wherever we can."

Robbie has a PhD from Western University (Ontario) and his specialty is massive stars, all hotter than our own sun. He has been volunteering with ASN since December 2014 and covers Grade 6 Sky Science and Grade 8 Light and Optical Systems but is best known for demonstrations with his mobile planetarium. Just with ASN (he also volunteers with students coming to Red Deer College) – he has reached about 600 students with the mobile planetarium, and about 200 more with other classroom presentations.

"I have had a great time with the mobile planetarium. They already had good kids, they were so excited about the planetarium. It was amazing to see the excitement and passion some of the kids had. In my presentations, I ask a lot of questions. I’ll ask a hard question such as how many stars are in the Milky Way (there are 200-400 billion), and there were some who actually already knew this fact. It’s neat when students know the answer already, it shows their passion about the topic already."

"The goal with outreach isn’t necessarily to educate, but to inspire. If you get kids to ask questions, then they’re on the path to science. So it’s not just about facts, but to look for themselves, to discover more things on their own."

Thank you Robbie!

 

Peter Wright PhD, (Retired Imperial Oil)
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary Region

volunteer Peter Wright

"The highlight for me is getting direct feedback from students telling me how much they enjoyed my presentation or telling me that they plan to have a career in science. At one presentation I had a number of students come and tell me that they were in my grade five classroom chemistry presentation last year and how much fun it was. I really enjoy their energy and enthusiasm and it's nice to think that you might be making a difference in their lives."

Peter has made significant contributions to ASN, and previously CSN, as a Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom presenter since the fall of 2007. A sample of the topics he presents on are: Hot and Cold (gr. 2), Classroom Chemistry (gr. 5) Sky Science (gr. 6), Heat and Temperature (gr. 7), Mix and Flow of Matter (gr. 8) and Environmental Chemistry (gr.9)! He is also a science fair judge and has presented for large-scale events such as a science and technology convention for 400 junior high school students in 2008 and CSN’s first-ever Science Road Show that reached over 700 people in April of 2010. He mentors many of our new volunteers, allowing them to view his classroom presentations, answering questions and functioning as an experienced resource to help equip our new arrivals to go out and make presentations on their own. He has also added Teacher Workshop presenter to his volunteer resume and is always willing to consider adding a new topic and engaging hands-on activity to his presentation repertoire. He was honoured with the E.R Ward Neale Award in 2011.

Kayleigh - "Dr. Wright was really fun. He showed cool pictures and I enjoyed the science experiment. One thing that I liked about Dr. Wright was that he showed he cared when answered your questions."

Nusair - "Dr. Wright was confident in his knowledge and went above and beyond just talking about planets and stuff. He was positive when we answered questions wrong and made us want to participate."

Thank you Peter!

Tammy Kehl P.Eng., Operations Engineering Lead, Encana
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Grande Prairie Region

volunteer Tammy Kehl

"As a minority in the Engineering field, being both Female and Metis, I feel I have a responsibility to let others see that perceived barriers can be broken.  For several years now, APEGA has been talking about the fact that Natives and Females are underrepresented in the engineering field.  I’ve personally seen this to be true, and I strongly believe that this will only change if Female and Native youth perceive that Engineering is a possible career option for them.  ASN offered me the opportunity to reach out to youth and inspire a more diverse working environment for Engineering in the future.  ASN also allowed me to choose a topic that was relevant to both my work and my daughter’s grade, so I could show her what her mom does at work – other than “play on the computer” all day."

Tammy began volunteering with ASN in Grande Prairie last October, but also worked with ASN’s predecessor in 2010, and volunteered with APEGA's Classroom Science programs (Science Olympics, etc.) a few times before that. Since October 2014 she has already completed three Heat and Temperature (gr. 7) presentations reaching 47 students.

"My best classroom experience was watching the excitement while the groups worked on the Elephant Toothpaste experiment, and having a couple of youths ask me how they could repeat the experiment themselves at home.  I knew that some of these kids would be motivated to explore a career in science, as they now saw it as something fun to do!"

Thank you Tammy!

Kimmee Fischer P.Eng., Electrical Engineer ATCO Electric
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Capital Region

volunteer Kimmee Fischer

Kimmee has wanted to be a teacher since grade 3. However, circumstances lead to her following another passion resulting in her being a practicing electrical engineer today. Volunteering with ASN as a presenter allows her to follow both of her passions at once! Since 2013 she has given 26 presentations, on the curriculum topics Building Things (gr. 1), Magnetism (gr. 2), Electricity & Magnetism (gr. 5), and Electrical Principles & Technologies (gr. 9), reaching 562 students.

She remembers doing a grade 5 Electricity and Magnetism presentation. At the start very few students knew anything about electricity, or even what engineering was. However, by the end of the presentation over half the kids thought electricity was “awesome” and at least five students wanted to become engineers!

Kimmee regularly brings co-presenters to the classroom to enrich the experience for students, and to expose more potential volunteers to science outreach. She remembers partnering on an Electrical Principles & Technologies presentation (grade 9) with a lineman; the students were fascinated with the field equipment that her partner brought to the presentation. It was a perfect mix of theory and practice!

“The best thing about volunteering with ASN is seeing the “lights go on” in kids’ faces when they learn new things, just like when the lights on their circuit boards turn on during presentations!!”

Thank you Kimmee!

Nelson Epp P.Eng., M.Sc., P.E. Senior Engineer Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Capital Region

volunteer Nelson Epp

When asked why he volunteers with ASN Nelson gave three reasons. He wants to contribute to his community; feels a responsibility to share his knowledge with students and make a real world-world connection to what they are learning in school, and enjoys the opportunity to get out from behind his desk! Since 2011 he has given 66 presentations on the curriculum topics Light & Shadows (gr .4), and Electricity & Magnetism (gr. 5), to a total of 1921 students. He previously volunteered with the APEGA Science Outreach program and notes that APEGA’s encouragement for public outreach influenced his decision to volunteer.

“One of my favorite experiences was during a regular grade 4 Light and Shadows presentation. I used lasers and diffraction glasses to show how differently coloured light bends at different angles. Using my props, and after turning down the lights, you see a scattering of red, green, and purple dots on the ceiling. The students were so excited that they called out ‘disco dancing’ and proceeded to spontaneously have a mini dance-party. At the end the students asked for my autograph!”

Thank you Nelson!

Ken Kernaghan P.Eng., Structural Engineer FLUOR CANADA LTD.
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary

Volunteer Ken Kernaghan

Ken presents on the curriculum topics Building with a Variety of Materials (gr. 3), Testing Materials and Designs (gr. 3), and Structures and Forces (gr.7) a perfect fit for his background. He also helps deliver professional development workshops to science teachers, helping them to teach with confidence and understanding.
Ken visited 26 Calgary area classrooms last year and since 2011 he has personally reached 2345 students.
He started volunteering with the APEGA Science Outreach program in 2005 when his son was in grade 3. He brings to every presentation his enthusiasm for science; real life examples from his years of experience as a structural engineer plus engaging hands-on activities that spark the students’ curiosity.
“I believe that it is essential that we spark the interest and curiosity of the next generation about science. Students who are inquisitive and eager to explore will become the scientists and engineer of the future.”

Thank you Ken!

Lisa Bannerman RO, RCLP - Consultant, Hearing Director, College of Opticians of Alberta
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Calgary

Volunteer Lisa Bannerman

Lisa presents to three different grades, based on curriculum that relates to Opticianry.  Primarily, Light and Shadows (gr. 4), and Light and Optical Systems (gr. 8)  with occasional presentations to Biology 30 students. Her favourites are the grade 4s as they are so enthusiastic, ask tons of questions and can't wait to tell you about their dog who has cataracts!

ASN estimates that Lisa has completed 225 presentations in my 18 years, and spoken to more than 5600 students face-to-face.

“Back in 1996 I was at a meeting and the question was asked if anyone wanted to do a school presentation as a request had come to the college. Time was short, so I said that I would call and see what I could do.  Thus began an 18 year commitment that easily is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

Thank you Lisa!

Nick Malychuk P.Eng., (Retired)
Scientists & Engineers-in-the-Classroom volunteer, Capital Region

Volunteer Nick Malychuk

Nick Malychuk presents on the curriculum topics Building with a Variety of Materials (gr.3), Testing Materials and Designs (gr. 3), Building Devices that Move (gr. 4), and Wheels & Levers (gr. 4). Based on his classroom observations and communication with teachers, Mr. Malychuk observes that there is a lack of knowledge, understanding, or even motivation by educators to teach science units with confidence and enthusiasm. Classroom presentations fill that void, offering students a great learning experience in a trusted and comfortable environment.

Originally a volunteer with the APEGA classroom program, Mr. Malychuk has completed well over 700 presentations over the course of his volunteer career, reaching more than 17,000 students!

After 20 years of going into classrooms he has many wonderful, heartwarming, and funny stories from the classroom. He’s had students line up to get autographs on more than one occasion. And he always enjoys making a connection between the science kids learn in school and the real world. A few years ago, he took apart a lawnmower engine in a grade four class to demonstrate all the wheels and levers found inside – to the amazement of his attentive audience. When he’d finished, a little girl sitting at the front looked at him with a perplexed expression. “How are you going to put all of that back together again?!” she exclaimed.

Thank you Nick!