Sea Cadet program sparks interest in engineering
By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer
Thanks to a grant of $19,200 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Science WORKS! will be able to continue its program for Sea Cadets for the next three years.
Science WORKS!, a collaboration between Queen’s and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC), was founded in 2012 by Dr. Jennifer Scott, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at RMCC. The program is designed to get youth involved with engineering.
“Giving the Sea Cadets the chance to get involved with engineering is a great way to spark what could potentially be a new career or study option for them,” says Maria Lahiffe, outreach co-ordinator of EngQonnect, an education outreach program in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science aimed at getting youth involved in engineering.
The six-week program begins this week and over 600 12-17 year old Sea Cadets will be able to spend their Tuesday evenings learning about engineering. There is no cost for them to sign up.
“Demonstrations at ScienceWORKS! typically show research that is currently going on at RMCC. They really bring science to life for the students,” says Ms. Lahiffe. “We’re also including hands-on engineering design activities where students will be presented with a problem and have to generate ideas to create and test a solution.”
Dr. Scott, principal investigator for the collaboration, says that the team has been measuring the effectiveness of the program and have found Science WORKS! to be quite successful.
“Last year, we surveyed a subset of the 150 youth that we worked with and found a measurable increase in their understanding of what engineers do,” she says. “This year we plan to survey all Sea Cadets and I hope we’re able to continue this program for the coming years with even more success.”