An outreach program at the University of Waterloo that gets kids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through hands-on activities has been awarded almost $325,000 in federal funding over three years.
The money will be used by Engineering Science Quest (ESQ) to support full-time staff and a free workshop program designed to reach more girls, disadvantaged youths, Indigenous youths and youths with disabilities.
Funding will be provided through the PromoScience program, which was created by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support organizations that promote an understanding of STEM subjects among young people and help build the next generation of scientists and research leaders.
ESQ aims to reach over 10,000 youths a year, including more than 3,000 in-depth interactions that lead to lifelong interests and confidence in STEM fields.
Launched in 1990, ESQ has grown to offer multiple summer camps for children entering grades one to nine, as well as March Break, Winter Break and after-school programs, and in-school and community programming.
At its core is a belief that the best way to create interest in STEM is by actively involving participants. Activities are created and delivered by post-secondary and high school students.
ESQ is run through the Waterloo Engineering Outreach department with support from the Faculty of Science.
Across the country, $12 million in PromoScience grants were announced for 81 recipients to offer summer camps, science centre programming, after-school programs and other initiatives.
“By inspiring young Canadians’ interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, great teachers and leaders across our country are making a real difference," François-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister of innovation, science and industry, said in a media release. "They are opening Canada’s most creative minds to new possibilities, sparking enthusiasm and building a culture of curiosity."