This event allowed high school students the opportunity to dive deep into the STEM fields that will drive our world forward. For many participants, STEMComp was their first high school science competition, a special and unforgettable experience. We hoped to inspire students to be curious and further explore the field of STEM out of their own interest.
This year, we challenged students across Ontario to explore their passion for STEM through creative problem-solving. Due to COVID-19, we ran a remote competition. Students needed to think of a problem, think of a way they could use STEM to solve the problem, create a project that put their solution in action, and make a 5-minute (maximum) video that presents their project.
All of the organizers of this event attended the same high school and were executive members of the SJAM SS Science Club. It was decided that hosting this event would be one of our responsibilities as leaders of a STEM youth group. Each organizer had unique skills that would be used to make this event a success. Due to the pandemic, engaging and bringing together all of the organizers was a bit of a challenge. To overcome this challenge, we held weekly stand-up meetings to discuss any issues or concerns we had. There, we also discussed the next steps and delegated the work.
We feel that this project’s biggest success was the achievement of our three goals that we outlined at the beginning of the event: to encourage students in high school to get involved in their local STEM community; to raise awareness within the region’s STEM initiatives and programs; and to promote equality within the STEM community. Through the completion of this event, we were able to engage students from Ontario and encourage them to familiarize themselves with current relevant issues in STEM and local STEM opportunities.
STEMComp 2020’s target audience was all high school students in Ontario. This event allowed students interested in STEM to gain experience in various related fields through the means of a competition. We were able to impact and inspire students from all backgrounds to explore and pursue careers in the expanding field of STEM. This event provided an opportunity for curious students to experience all of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in further depth than in a regular high school curriculum.
If I were to start my project today, I would put more emphasis on marketing. Due to the sudden switch to a remote competition, most of the marketing for the original event could no longer be used. With the change of plans and environment, we had limited time to do a wide variety of tasks. While it was difficult to attract a large number of participants in a small amount of time, our marketing team did a fantastic job of attracting a fair number of participants in the end. Through this event, I learned the importance of having a good communication system where the roles of members could be clearly defined. With better communication, not only would the sudden transition from in-person to remote work be much smoother and more efficient, but it would also make marketing the event much easier.
Katherin Qin, Passion to Purpose Participant