Propelling Student Engagement through STEM

Monday, August 30, 2021

By Beth Fleming, Programs Assistant

This Spring, Renison hosted the eSTEM (English, Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) program to more than 130 high school students. Hosted in partnership with ApplyBoard, the world's largest international student recruitment platform, the eSTEM program supports high school students who want to improve their English language skills while being introduced to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the University of Waterloo.

Each eSTEM class section allowed an opportunity for three students to earn student engagement awards. The honours were awarded to the top students in each class section who were the most engaged with strong participation in their classes and events, as designated by feedback from the Student Experience team, instructors, and classmates.

The following individuals were chosen as the gold winners from their respective sections: Dorothy Zheng, Yunshu (Sophie) Cai, Keyang (Kathy) Zhang, Raphael Li, and Kai Yi (Sylvester) Mao.

The silver winners were: Junqi Chang, Hancheng (Tiger) Song, Zihao Zhang, Moru Wang, and Hongyuan (Willam) Yang.

Finally, the bronze winners included: Victor Sheng Heng Zhang, Gary Kairui Niu, Quoc Dinh, Shu Liu, and Botao (Brian) Liang.

Gold winners, Yunshu (Sophie) Cai, Raphael Li, and Kai Yi (Sylvester) Mao have agreed to speak about their experience in the eSTEM 2021 program.

Yunshu (Sophie) Cao Raphael Li Kai Yi (Sylvester) Mao

Q: Why did you choose to join eSTEM?

Sylvester: I was looking forward to meeting some new people and making my vacation more colourful. On the other hand, I also wanted to broaden my horizons, and see how the schools in Canada feel like.

Sophie: I wanted to practice the skills required for science and increase opportunities to develop and practice my thinking, speaking, and listening skills.

Q: What did you enjoy most about your program?

Sophie: The quantum computing workshop! Quantum technology is fascinating since it could be used to provide faster, more accurate diagnostics with a variety of applications.

Raphael: The wide variety of knowledge on the different subjects and, more importantly, eSTEM provided us with plenty of opportunities to practice our soft skills.



Q: How did eSTEM help you with your academic journey?

Sylvester: The program helped me build my confidence, find out my soft skills, and I met a lot of impressive people.

Sophie: I gained knowledge, skills, and experience to help me both in my future career and life in general. For instance, through learning about the soft skills such as note-taking and the way to speak, I can use them in my class to help me achieve academic success.

Raphael: The whole program is very well organized for me to learn different subjects and have more understanding on the education system and lifestyle of Canada.

Q: Why would you recommend this program to other students?

Sylvester: This program helped me realize that I could do better than what I expected, making me more confident. More importantly, the teachers and the Peer Leaders were really hard-working, passionate, and friendly. They will always help you to solve your problems.

Sophie: The program offers more than facts about science, but gives the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the world and provide more practice of soft skills, and to create lasting bonds. Science itself is fascinating, and the program will expand on this topic.

Raphael: I think this program is great to expand your knowledge and try things out of your comfort zone. Furthermore, it’s very educational and helps us learn of Canadian University.

About the eSTEM Program

Renison University College is pleased to partner with ApplyBoard to offer the eSTEM program (English with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Environment, and Mathematics), for a unique opportunity for students to improve your overall English language skills while experiencing one of Canada’s most innovative universities, the University of Waterloo.

Our online immersion program is designed specifically for high school students to immerse themselves in the University of Waterloo’s renowned STEM ecosystem and simultaneously improve their ability and confidence to communicate in English.

Registration is now open for our September/October 2021 session. Learn more at

Remote video URL

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