Student volunteers host Girl Guides for STEM Day at UTM

Three young girls wearing Brownie uniforms stand with UTM volunteers
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 11:49am
Blake Eligh

Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders from Mississauga and Toronto gathered in the Instructional Centre on Saturday, March 3 for a day of hands-on science activities led by U of T Mississauga students.

The girls, who ranged in age from seven to 14, were on campus for a day of STEM workshops aimed at exposing girls to science, technology, engineering and math. The student-run event featured workshops in astronomy, biology and computer science.

Mariana Villada and Sairum Khan

Third-year biology student Mariana Villada led the core team of nine volunteers to organize the day through the Community Innovation Project program with the Center for Student Engagement. The program matches student leaders with non-profit organizations, like Girl Guides of Canada, to identify and solve challenges, and give UTM students the chance to work on real-life projects.

The young participants earned three badges to pin on their sashes, but Villada says the STEM day was a great learning experience for the 34 student volunteers, too. “Our volunteers are passionate about encouraging girls to become interested in STEM fields,” she says. “But they also get something out of it, like learning new skills or making new friends.”

Sairum Khan, a third-year Commerce student who runs Community Day Events with the Centre for Student Engagement, assisted with program logistics and mustered some of the volunteers who helped out. “The student volunteers gain experience with working in a team,” he says. “They can put this on their co-curricular record, and it’s an experience they can present in a job interview.”