Science Mentorship & Advocacy Winners
Outreach and Mentoring in Botany
Chris works to reinvigorate student’s interest in botany through non-traditional methods in order to reveal the rich biodiversity that often goes unappreciated. A self-identified Botanist, Chris is also interested in multiple subdisciplines of organismal plant biology, including: ecology, evolution/systematics, reproductive biology, and biodiversity/taxonomy. This has manifested in a holistic approach to discovery - where students can receive training in everything from field- and greenhouse-based methods to genetic and computer-based analyses. Chris embraces new methods to reach out the pubic - including social media and creating, producing, and hosting the YouTube series, "Plants are Cool, Too!"
“Nothing inspires me more than nature and the notion that we are still learning new things about the natural world everyday.”
Inspiring Young Women in STEM
GO GIRL (Genomic Opportunities for Girls In Research Labs) is an educational outreach program for high school girls designed to demystify genomics, a discipline notoriously intimidating to young scientists, thus empowering them to consider a career in the biomedical sciences. Participants learn the principles behind the science and techniques commonly used in forensic and research laboratories, and also gain hands-on experience using state-of-the-art equipment. By utilizing their own DNA to explore scientific questions, participants become personally invested in the experiments. The participants self-identify for this all-female genomics program, creating a low pressure, energized and fun atmosphere. The program also provides participants with multiple levels of female mentorship and exposure to career possibilities in the biomedical field.
“Gender and racial diversity in STEM are important for future STEM endeavors. Creating young women who are passionate about and dedicated to science will help build a strong and well-rounded workforce in the future.”
Advanced Molecular Biology Lab
AMBL is the educational unit of the Michael Smith Laboratories (MSL) at UBC and carries out the vision of the founding MSL Director, Dr. Michael Smith (1993 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry) by providing teaching, outreach and science advocacy with local, national and international impact. As the AMBL Director, David works to provide hands-on science field trip experiences to students from grades 5 to 12, lead science and engineering workshops and conferences, and drives development of science education tools and their creative use of social media to promote science literacy. AMBL is also active in researching the effectiveness of various facets of its programming. This includes looking at the divide between children’s impressions of science versus creativity; gender equity challenges in uptake of careers in innovations; and the effectiveness of using games in STEM.
“AMBL provides authentic science experiences, while creating comfort with interdisciplinary notions, such that those disinterested in science see gateways towards better public understanding.”
Biota is a scientific documentary series with the aim of improving engagement between scientists, artists, and the general public. The series draws parallels between symbiotic relationships (mutualism, parasitism, commensalism) and how people interact with each other and their environment. Biota employs young professionals from all different backgrounds across the globe, whose skill sets range from videography and science to social media. They also take in and mentor undergraduate students so that they can gain valuable work experience for the job market. The first season of Biota centers on the 10 bioregions in California, creating accessibility to science for viewers.
"If two species can work in a manner that's mutually beneficial and evolutionarily advantageous to one another, why can't people do the same thing? I decided to take on Biota and try it out. I want students, scientists, artists, and community members to know that we all have the power to thrive.”