GLOWS Program Manager, Tanya Malcolm just had one last question for Selkirk College’s Rural Pre-medicine Program Coordinator before wrapping up their first call together. 

“Is that a Wutang Clan sticker on your filing cabinet?!” 

Takaia Larsen laughed out loud and explained that she was conducting an informal, virtual meeting, social experiment. Apparently, Tanya is among the zoom guest subjects who recognize and voice curiosity about why the sticker is there? 

Before she knew her love of Wutang Clan was being measured, Malcolm was introduced to the term “Near Peer Mentoring” by Larsen. Mentorship opportunities within peer groups who are near in age. 

As a 43 year old program manager trying to inspire youth to pursue higher education and careers in STEAM fields, and seemingly unable to crack the youth engagement code – this made perfect sense to Malcolm. This is the FUBU (For Us By Us) model in the context of mentorship.

On Tuesday March 8th, International Women’s Day 2022 at 6:00pm, five college students from 19 to 25 years in age formed the Keynote Panel on the main stage of Quantum Leaps Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference;  to speak to Kootenay Boundary girls about student life and what it actually looks and feels like to pursue a health science career through rural post secondary education pathways. 

The feedback is in. When it comes to female STEAM professionals, the 2022 Quantum Leaps Conference was an All-Star line-up.  Two Biomedical engineers, a family physician, a video game developer, red seal trades women, a healthcare entrepreneur and more! However, according to participants, the most impactful session of the evening was hearing from the Keynote Panel of young female college students. 

Near Peer Mentoring = ‘hashtag relatable.’ We shouldn’t be surprised. Inclusivity is built on belonging. Belonging is built on representation.  Spotlighting youth voices at events curated for youth is essential to creating meaningful experiences for young people. In fact – it is best practice. 

The conference was attended by Kootenay girls from Rossland, Revelstoke, Cranbrook, Fernie Sparwood, Elko, Trail, Castlegar, Nelson and more! These young women had the opportunity to attend presentations with topics about ‘The Possibility of Practicing Medicine’ by Dr. Shelina Musjij and ‘Statistics to Stories’ by, former Quantum Leaps participant,  Michelle Spencer who now works for the BC Centre for Disease Control. The students even had the opportunity to develop a video game by learning block coding with Scratch. Overall the 2022 Quantum Leaps Conference was a unique gathering of bright young minds learning from STEAM students and professionals who are strengthening the education and career pathways ahead of them. 

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST)  would like to thank everyone who contributed to Quantum Leaps 2022. All of the speakers, panelists, volunteers and mentors who care deeply about closing the gender gap in STEAM and personally and professionally  contribute to gender representation by joining events like GLOWS’ annual conference for girls.

KAST would also like to thank our generous sponsors:

Mercer Celgar; Teck Trail Operations; Columbia Basin Trust; Canada Foot Care Training, Fortis BC and Gather. 

Are you a Kootenay based youth age 10+ interested in engaging with the GLOWS Community? Join GLOWS 2.0 Discord.

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