A popular outlet for youth interested in science and technology has partnered with Selkirk College to help continue building a stronger future for the region.
Growing Learning Opportunities With Science (GLOWS) has been offering youth programming in the West Kootenay-Boundary region since 2007 under the auspices of Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST). The program will now be integrated into Selkirk College’s Community Education & Workplace Training (CEWT) department where hands-on science and technology initiatives will continue to flourish.
One of the annual events GLOWS helps foster is the West Kootenay/Boundary Regional Science Fair that brings together young minds from around the area like three-time winner Dylan Peil who is a Grade 9 L.V. Rogers student. This past year, Peil designed and prototyped an active solar concentrator using a satellite dish covered with mirrors.
“We are very excited to become more involved with GLOWS,” says Selkirk College Vice President of Education & Students Neil Coburn. “The work GLOWS does with young people around our region meshes extremely well with the college’s mission to inspire lifelong learning and transform lives through education. We have enjoyed past collaborations with KAST to support this science and technology initiative, and now plan to build a sustainable future for it.”
Faced with significant challenges—primarily changes in priorities for programs and services—and wanting to keep the program going, the KAST board of directors made the decision earlier this year to transition GLOWS to Selkirk College. After a feasibility study, Selkirk College signed on to help administer and grow the program.
“With Selkirk College, the region’s education provider at the helm, GLOWS will build a future generation of scientists, engineers, educators and innovators who are personally invested in the Kootenays and who are most likely to share their talents and resources in the Kootenay-Boundary area, contributing to the region’s economic success and viability,” says Erin Handy, Executive Director of KAST.
Plugging Kids Into Science
GLOWS provides community-based science workshops, camps, events and initiatives, as well as outreach to youth aged five to 19. Programming is provided in many West Kootenay-Boundary communities and includes robotics, coding, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, physics and biology, among other subjects. GLOWS partners with schools, professional associations and other organizations to spur initiatives that allow children of all ages to participate in hands-on science exploration.
“Moving to Selkirk College allows us to create real connections between our programming for K-12 and post-secondary education,” says GLOWS Program Coordinator Beth Corven, who moved from KAST to Selkirk to facilitate the transition. “We will see a continuation of the major events that GLOWS has hosted each year including the West Kootenay & Boundary Regional Science Fair, Quantum Leaps, Robotics Training and RobotGames, the APEGBC Popsicle Building Contest, and the Kootenay Contraption Contest. Our Summer of Science camps will be offered during July and August throughout the region and will offer a mix incredible experiments, fun indoor and outdoor activities, and face time with post-secondary science students.”
The GLOWS activities for the summer are designed and facilitated by Selkirk College students and supported by the college’s facilities, resources and staffing.
Under Selkirk College’s administration, GLOWS will be working on new initiatives to expand summer camps and school-based programs with the four partner school districts (SD 8, SD 10, SD 20 and SD 51).
“This partnership will continue with the great work being done by GLOWS using the resources we have at Selkirk College,” says Coburn. “It’s fantastic to have our students and staff involved more intimately in programming that builds excitement for science and technology. The young people who get involved in GLOWS initiatives then have the opportunity to seamlessly transition into all the different post-secondary pathways we offer at Selkirk College.”
Explore GLOWS programming and sign up for upcoming summer camps.