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New NSERC PromoScience funding helps Venture Academy reach more youth underrepresented in sciencesJune 9, 2021

McMaster’s Venture Academy strives to help students discover engineering and science at an early age. It has been selected by NSERC to receive $309,675 over three years through the PromoScience program to expand their programming and outreach.

This will allow their unique science and engineering programs to reach even more young people in the GTHA and Indigenous communities in Southwestern Ontario.

Since its founding in 1991, McMaster’s Venture Academy has grown by leaps and bounds. From 125 elementary children to reaching over 25,000 students from grades one through 12 last year.

Of the youth who participated last year, 11,000 are from groups underrepresented in STEM, including Indigenous youth, girls and inner-city youth. This reach is accomplished through an extensive variety of programming that quickly pivoted to online/virtual delivery when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Engaging programs like these enhances our student experiences and allows the acquisition of knowledge and the true employment of the Hodinohso:ni values we aspire to, including cooperation and sharing,” said the Manager of the Six Nations Polytechnic STEAM Academy.

Not only does Venture Academy reach students directly, but they offer Digital Literacy Teacher Professional Development workshops. By working with teachers through individualized learning plans, teachers build their confidence in teaching invaluable coding and digital literacy skills to their students.

“The Digital Literacy Teacher Professional Development workshops received very positive feedback from our teachers. They were fully engaged in their learning and enthusiastically applying what they learned to support students,” said Kathleen Manderville, Director of Federal Schools, Indigenous Services Canada.

The funding that Venture Academy is receiving from NSERC PromoScience will directly help grow many of the Venture programs offered specifically to Indigenous youth through camps, schools and community centres, and to girls and inner-city youth through community partnerships. All will be delivered to students ranging in age from Kindergarten to Grade 12.