Do you have dream job in mind, but don’t know what steps to take to get it? Are you interested in astronomy, but have no idea what stars you are looking at? A mentor can help you learn about new fields and grow as an individual as they guide you with their experience and knowledge. Take a look into mentorship programs that are out there and start building a relationship with a professional in a field that interests you, and they can help you become everything you aspire to be!
Want to connect with someone passionate about health and science? Check out Synapse, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) youth outreach program. Synapse matches budding young scientists with CIHR researchers, creating cool mentorships that give young people a first-hand look at what it’s really like to work in health research. Having a mentor is a great way to figure out the best science-related career path!
CIHR Synapse Youth Mentorship Profile, Coco Ooi - If you are thirsty for knowledge; constantly searching and exploring the world around you for answers to life’s questions, there is a program that can start you on your way to making discoveries! Synapse is a mentorship program put on by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) that works to educate youth about science and about the benefits of health research. The program connects Canada's aspiring scientists with today's leaders in health research to provide hands-on experiences for students helping them to understand what is involved in scientific research.
Coco Ooi, a student from Vancouver, had the opportunity to work with researchers as a part of Synapse. While working on her Grade 10 science fair project, Coco stumbled upon a link to CIHR’s Synapse website, and shortly after, decided to give the program a shot. “Up until the mentorship experience, my impression of ‘science’ was the school lab assignments primarily comprised of ‘recipe-labs’ where the results were pretty much to-be-expected,” says Coco, explaining that the mentorship gave her more of a hands-on approach. “I actually had first-hand contact with a variety of scientific instruments…I had the chance to develop and execute my own complex science fair project with guidance from my mentors.”
During her mentorship, she was guided by two diabetes researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) who unveiled a dimension of realism to science that Coco had not encountered in school. “I learned many things—immunofluorescent staining and imaging, pipetting (which was incredibly fun, to my surprise), deparaffinizing slides, and how to operate a fluorescence microscope with the imaging software,” Coco recalls. “My experience in the UBC diabetes research lab was a sort-of revelation—it made me realize how truly imperfect science was with the many difficulties and complications I encountered along the way!”
Coco’s Synapse mentorship has spurred her to continue developing interesting science projects, and to pursuing future scientific endeavors which involve working in a research laboratory. Encouraging fellow students to also explore the world around them and what Synapse has to offer, she says, “If you are truly interested in the sciences, or just want to explore your career options, this program is perfect for you!”
Click here for more information about Synapse, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research youth outreach program.
From learning your first words to discovering that shaking a can of pop before drinking it is a bad idea, there is no shortage of things for you to learn! High Touch High Tech, Science Made Fun is dedicated to encouraging young minds to investigate the world around them though science. Partnering with schools, High Touch High Tech goes into classrooms and presents hands-on programs where students get to conduct fun experiments.
Oversized white lab coats, crazy messed up hair from experiments gone wrong, and bulky safety goggles. Think that’s what a scientist is? Working to get rid of the ‘mad scientist’ image when it comes to science careers is a program called ms infinity. Run by the Society of Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), ms infinity shows young women that getting a science education and pursuing science careers is exciting and leads to infinite opportunities!
ms infinity operates throughout B.C. and the Yukon, giving girls the opportunity to meet female scientists and hear about the cool jobs science can lead to. ms infinity offers programs like eMentoring where students get the chance to build relationships with women working in science, math and technology through email. For young women in grades 11 and 12 who are in the process of planning their future, ms infinity’s Quantum Leaps conferences showcase math and science career opportunities. Check out the ms infinity blog for updates on volunteer opportunities, scholarships, science fairs and program information.
SCWIST is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of the opportunities available for women in science, engineering and technology.
Click here to learn more about SCWIST!