“…my perception of what I want for my future would change completely”
It is difficult to know what career possibilities are available when you are young. I didn’t know any scientists or engineers so I read about options – but it was so foreign that rocket scientist and microbiology lab technician seemed very similar. Plus, everyone seemed so fancy and unaccessible, reinforced by school reading. I thought you had to be brilliant and driven, like we had learned about famous scientists (Galileo, Pasteur, Einstein, etc.). What if I just like math and biology?
Doctors, dentists, and lawyers are common suggestions from parents but are those the best choices? With the teen program that I’m running in Vancouver, students can learn about different possible careers, in part by meeting working scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Here is one girl’s report about her experience.
When I first heard about FSL from my school’s bulletin, the first thought that ran trough my mind was ” This is a great chance to make my resume more university/med school worthy”. I have for a while been pretty keen on becoming a doctor, so any opportunity that was remotely involved with that field was something I looked forward too. As I got accepted into the program, I was very happy, knowing that I am one step closer to my goal. Little did I know, my perception of what I want for my future would change completely.
Future Science Leaders is a science outreach program in Vancouver for students who are already interested in science and technology. The program is designed for students to further develop the talent, drive, and discipline needed to excel in scientific research and innovation. We modelled the program after excellence programs seen for high performance sports (initial idea).
Each week, high school students meet people working in science and do activities to explore a topic and/or build skills. Some students are returning for a second year and they will be doing independent research (you may have heard about our SciFund project – see sidebar video). We are trying to give them the skills we wished we had before entering graduate school.
Meeting real scientists opens possibilities for these students. As you can see in the video below, Valeriya now realizes that there may be more to biology careers than medical school.
As the weeks went by and I was exposed to different scientific fields and spoke to different researchers, I realized that the future holds much more than simply medical school. I realized that I want to do something involved with public speaking and that I also want to do research in my future. My perceptions were all turned upside down and I realized that I don’t know what I want to do exactly (but not in a bad way). Who knows what I’ll be, but all I know is that I want to be doing something that goes beyond the standard and something that I love.
The other great thing with this program is that the students are finding a community of like-minded
geeks people. They are becoming friends with each other but also learning to talk to us older geeks.