Memorial Engineering Outreach designs and delivers STEM programs to N.L. youth
In a world where there is an increasing demand to make science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs accessible to youth, the Memorial Engineering Outreach (MEO) office is delivering in a big way.
MEO was established in 2013 with support from the Faculty to design and deliver STEM programs to N.L. youth.
“MEO strives to make interactive STEM experiences more accessible to youth who may not otherwise be engaged,” said Kathryn Hong, coordinator for outreach activities. “Our goal is to inspire youth to discover the impact they can make with futures in STEM.”
Introducing STEM programs to children is becoming increasingly important in a world that is becoming more technological, but for MEO it’s also about striving to make N.L. more sustainable.
“Not only do we want young people in our province to be engaged and inspired by their potential in STEM, we hope when they are ready to embark on their careers, they will choose to stay in their home province,” said Ms. Hong. “We believe this will ultimately create a more innovative and sustainable Newfoundland and Labrador.”
In 2013, MEO delivered three on-campus programs during the summer months for youth ages nine to 18: Girl Quest, which explores STEM subjects in a fun and interesting format for nine to 12-year-olds; Robotics and Junior Engineers, which uses LEGO’s Mindstorm EV3 system and other engineering activities for ages nine to 12; and ArcticENGINEER, an enrichment program designed for high school students.
Now in its sixth year, MEO currently offers on- and off-campus programming year-round. In addition to Girl Quest and Robotics and Junior Engineers, other summer programs include Teen Circuit and Explore Engineering. Year-round programs include public engagement events, school workshops, faculty tours, weekend clubs, an annual open house and other special events.
“Due to tremendous interest in our summer camps, we now offer multiple sessions of three of our on-campus programs, and will introduce an exciting new program this summer called Nano Engineers for six- to eight-year-olds,” said Ms. Hong.
“In 2016, MEO became a member of Actua,” said Ms. Hong. “One of the many wonderful benefits of this membership is that we will be able to engage with more than 100 youth in Labrador each summer as part of the Labrador Outreach Program.”
In January 2018, MEO received funding from Actua as part of the federal government’s CanCode funding. Actua is Canada’s leading STEM youth outreach network representing 35 university and college-based members. Actua focuses on the engagement of underrepresented youth through specialized programs for Indigenous youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth and youth living in Northern and remote communities.
MEO also received funding from NSERC’s PromoScience program, industry partner HMDC for Girl Quest (2012-present) and RDC for Arctic Engineer (2013-2017).
“It’s an exciting time for MEO, said Ms. Hong. “Our increased funding allows us to engage more youth in our province. We are grateful for opportunities to partner with larger organizations and look forward to the positive impact that we are making in our community.”