This post is from one of the high school students who will be joining us at ScienceOnline2013. We’re thrilled to have Megan join us! She has a great story.
Hello ScienceOnline and other readers!
My name is Megan Nantel (twitter) and I’m a high school student from Vancouver, British Columbia. I am extremely honored to have received a scholarship to attend the upcoming ScienceOnline conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Having read through all the different programs and sessions available, I already know it is going to be very difficult to decide which ones to attend! I absolutely love sharing my ideas, discussing different opinions, and hearing different perspectives on topics. I’ve found that the different ways that people look at a problem and come up with an opinion can be one of the most interesting things to hear. I’m looking forward to all I can learn from this conference and what I can bring back to share with my peers. I know I will get so much out of each session and I hope that they will help develop my science communication skills even more.
Currently, I am involved in a few projects that have already proved to be so educational and amazing! Through the Telus World of Science, I became involved with a program called Future Science Leaders, created by Dr. Catherine Anderson (genegeek, twitter). Last year was my first year in the newly developed program. I attended weekly meetings with my peers and was challenged in many new ways. We had to opportunity to participate in innovative activities and learn about unique research and industry pursuits from top science leaders who have already been distinguished in their fields. I’m in grade 12 now and I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of a research stream. We are currently working on the fermentation of grapes and isolating yeast strains in relation to the important industry of biofuels. Future Science Leaders has served as an amazing catalyst in my learning and growth. I am developing research skills and learning the critical aspects of being a successful scientist. Through hands-on practice, I am lucky enough to be learning new skills all of the time.
As a member of Future Science Leaders, I have been offered many fabulous opportunities and have been able to spread my love of science by helping to create a new science network. With my mentor, I am in the process of creating and refining a science blogging network for individuals under the age of twenty. The site, called u20science.org, hopes to attract youth from all over to share their opinions and ideas on all types of science related topics. I aim to prove that science is creative field for all types of people and that its vast topics mean there is something for everyone. Science can be an extremely creative discipline and a lot of science careers actually depend upon creativity. Scientists are constantly troubleshooting and being forced into re-thinking everything.
Through u20science.org, I hope to show how large of a role communication plays in science. Communication skills and being able to eloquently express an idea or thought are vital in science. Science blogging can be great practice for all scientists because it demands these skills. In addition, adding some personal flare to an article can shed light on very interesting perspectives that a reader may not have previously considered. The site aims to create a safe environment for all science bloggers to be around like minded youth. One of the main ideas behind the creation of the program Future Science Leaders was the fact that society begins to tone professional athletes at a very young age and that maybe we should be doing the same for future science leaders. In a similar way, blogging helps tone and develop future science leaders at a young age. It allows youth to practice and learn more about all that science has to offer.
I am so excited to be attending the ScienceOnline Conference in January because I know that it will be an extremely inspirational experience. I’m looking so forward to all the discussion that will take place and I hope to bring home lots of new ideas. Once again, I am so thankful for this opportunity and will see you all in January!