New Funding for Science Outreach Program

l-r, Rod Bruinooge, MP (Winnipeg South); Allison McDonald, Peguis Central School; Thomas Berry, Mathematics; Edwin McCorrister, Peguis School Board; James Blatz, Civil Engineering

Posted 15 May 2009

A unique science outreach program based at the University of Manitoba has received new funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Led by mathematics professor Thomas Berry, the Peguis Science, Engineering and Technology Symposium is an annual event designed to motivate young First Nation students from across Manitoba to study science, engineering, mathematics and technology-related programs in a post-secondary setting.

The event is one of 52 projects across the country that will share $1.9 million in new funding awarded through NSERC's PromoScience program. The grants were announced in Winnipeg on May 15th by Rod Bruinooge, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. The announcement took place during a luncheon event hosted by organizers of the Canada Wide Science Fair.

"By supporting those who cultivate young people's passion for science and engineering, these grants will help ensure a bright future for Canada," Bruinooge said.

Speaking on behalf of NSERC at the event was Dr. James Blatz, associate head of civil engineering and member of NSERC Council. He highlighted the Peguis Science, Engineering and Technology Symposium as a perfect example of the imaginative science outreach that the PromoScience program was designed to support.

Now in its fourth year, the Peguis Science, Engineering and Technology Symposium is aimed at Aboriginal students in grades 9-12, and is held at the Fort Garry campus each February. Berry works closely with the Edwin McCorrister of Peguis School Board and Allison MacDonald of Peguis Central School to coordinate the three-day event, which allows more than 250 students each year to see a variety of presentations and to participate in hands-on activities in the University's classrooms and lab facilities.

 "The new PromoScience grant is great news," Berry said. "This project is truly a team effort, and simply could not happen without the dedication of the Peguis School Board and the many presenters and others who volunteer their time. There are, however, significant costs associated with hosting an annual event of this size, and this funding will go a long way in helping us continue to present an event that gets better every year."