Secondary school data (2004-2009) identifies the rate of First Nation graduation at approximately 36% compared to the Canadian graduation rate of 72%. This camp, a partnership between the Waterloo Indigenous Students Centre, Engineering Science Quest (ESQ), the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 Framework, and sponsored by De Beers Canada aims to address the Indigenous education gap in Canada. The goal of this camp is to increase Indigenous female student participation in STEM experiences and academic careers to build the pipeline of future female leaders in traditionally male dominated disciplines. STEM-based programming will be integrated with cultural Indigenous teachings that will enhance Indigenous girls’ interest and comfort in STEM-based post-secondary programs in a culturally appropriate context.
Contact Engineering Science Quest for more information.
The main activities of the project include:
- 2.5 day live-in STEM camp
- Instructor-led STEM skill development workshops facilitated by ESQ staff
- Indigenous Elder/Knowledge Carrier-led workshops to tie STEM-based learning within a culturally relevant context
The anticipated outcomes include:
- Enhanced interest in high school completion
- Increased interest in and awareness of STEM-based programs in post-secondary education
- Increased involvement and interest for girls in science, technology, engineering and math
- Increased community support for post-secondary STEM education geared toward Indigenous girls
- Increased personal resilience with respect to choosing an education path in a STEM field
- Increase interest in, awareness of, and confidence for success in PSE.
- Help prepare Indigenous girls for work force participation.
- Apply STEM thinking in culturally appropriate ways, including use of culturally relevant materials.
- Strengthen existing partnerships and build new relationships with organizations committed to increase Indigenous youth educational success and participation in modern economic life while maintaining cultural identity.
- Working with Indigenous community members and youth in the program will support greater understanding by participating instructors on the needs and perspectives of Indigenous learners and communities for application within their other academic and instructional endeavours.
- Builds on the well-established Directions and Circle of Life-Long Learning programs offered by The Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre/University of Waterloo to Indigenous high school youth.
- Develop into a ‘best practice initiative’ as related to the STEM education focus and the unique partnership arrangement among post-secondary institutions, Indigenous communities, established education based social service initiatives and Ontario school boards.
The target participants are Indigenous girls in grade 7 and 8 primarily from Six Nations Reserve and their caregiver(s). Active recruitment will be initiated by staff at the Waterloo Indigenous Students Centre.