Amgen Sabrina Feb-14 (11)

Science Program for Youth

Toplumumuzda bilime ilgi duyan ve orta öğrenimde okuyan öğrencilerimiz için ilginizi çekebileceğini düşündüğümüz bir program hakkında sizlere bilgi aktarmak istedik. Bu amaçla program yöneticisi Andrea Olivia Seepersaud ile bir söyleşi gerçekleştirdik.

We know that EduNational offers a program for secondary school students who have interest in science and especially life sciences.  Can you please tell us some more about the target population for the program? Who can apply for the program? What is the deadline for the application?

Steer Your Career: Exploring Careers on the Science Horizon (SYC) is a program that involves along with their parents, students who are currently in Grades 8-10, and have an interest in STEM subjects. STEM relates to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, all of which play key roles in biotechnology and life sciences. In order to be considered for enrollment, students have to have an interest in learning about new and emerging labour market trends, and careers in the 21st century. The deadline for students to apply is July24th. By that time we should have received completed and signed Application Forms along with a cheque for $300. Our grant will contribute the other two thirds of the program costs.

What will be covered in the program? How much time should a student spend for the program? How long will it take for students to complete the program?

SYC comprises two modules which run concurrently. Module One, called Career Analytics is web-based and provides each student access to a personalized program of psychometric assessments, measurements and tests, the results of which are integrated into an extensive database of postsecondary schools and programs; information on careers and occupations, including the NOC and O’Net classification systems of Canada and USA. In this module each student also gets access to a live job bank to consult on job specifications and get a sense of what employers are looking for in hires; on-line magazines such as Fortune; close to 500 videos, a personal portfolio to e-file academic and volunteer certificates and transcripts and keep an active career planning journal.

It is important to note that this component, Module One is intended to be self-directed, once the student and parent learns and understands how to use the tools and resources.  Edunational will provide an orientation and familiarization seminar on this. Students should complete their assessments within the first two months of becoming familiarized. Afterward they start exploring the website, using   personal data from their tests. We expect students and parents to use Career Analytics often, and especially to research more areas after each seminar. They get to keep this program for at least two years, which is why we want to recruit students who have at least two years ahead of them in school.

Module Two comprises a seminar series at Amgen HQ in Mississauga. There are about seven or eight seminars during the school year, where parents and students attend from 6:00 -8:00 pm. Here experts or specialists present seminars on a wide cross section of areas in the industry, and students and parents get to ask career-related questions.  To make it convenient for working parents, we send out notification of the event well-ahead of time and provide a light dinner for attendees.  We also take students on a couple of day trips. Our last trip was in March of this year when we took students to the Ontario Science Centre to see a special exhibit from the USA on The Brain.

For how long are you offering this program?  Are you happy what you have achieved so far? What were the major challenges for the students?

We have been running SYC in collaboration with Amgen for three years. It has been to date, highly successful as a joint effort with the world’s largest biotech company to educate students and parents about cutting-edge jobs; heighten awareness of growth fields in the 21st century and promote self-awareness as one of the keys to making education decisions and choosing a suitable career.

One of the challenges that students face is getting to the seminar venue on the specific date. Often there will be a clash of either the parents’ schedules or their own commitments to other activities. But we tell participants that it does not matter very much if you miss a seminar. There will always be another one, and the missed one will repeat eventually.

And, what are the major benefits for the students?

Without a doubt, one of the major benefits for students is the insight into themselves that our psychometric tests provide and the integration of these results into an extensive database of resources and information, from which they make education decisions. Career Analytics helps students avoid wasting time and money with false starts by choosing a post-secondary program that is well-suited to them and will lead to a lucrative career, based on labour market data from Statistics Canada.

Imagine:  walking into a huge clothing store where you get to see and try on hundreds of possible outfits. And then you get measured in house by an expert bespoke tailor who helps you pick the fabric and style that will not only flatter your body-type,  but will be comfortable, durable and stylish. You pay the tailor to make this outfit for you with your measurements and your choice of fabric.  Then you wear this garment for many years to come, with confidence that it is excellent quality and fits you perfectly.

Another clear benefit is having the opportunity to hear first-hand from industry experts and specialists about their personal journey to success in their current career.  We have found that parents especially are keen to ask questions of the presenter, probing to find out “how” “what” “when” ‘where” and “why” they made career decisions. Students are often keen on learning about stress levels in their jobs, and choice of subjects when they were in school.

Do you have any message to Turkish Canadians and especially for the young generation? How do you analyze the future of the Canadian labor market?

I would like to see young people choose programs that they are interested in, have the ability to complete and which will advance their careers in Canada. I would like them to build realistic dreams of integrating into a workforce that is strategically progressive, technologically advanced, global in business outlook and international in composition. Our students of today will be the movers and shakers of tomorrow.  That is an absolute certainty.

Personally I would like to see Turkish Canadians become more active in social programing –that is become  involved in collaborative initiatives that address barriers faced by vulnerable members of society, such as seniors, and the social integration of newcomer youth. Inter-generational programs that share, teach and promote the rich culture, heritage, intense history and events that reflect all things Turkish can and should be developed to a greater degree by established groups or organizations.

Thank you for your time and your opinions.

You are very welcome. It was my pleasure.

“Andrea Olivia Seepersaud is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in the not-for profit sector in Canada. As the Executive Director of Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services for 15 years, Andrea and the agency she led, received meritorious awards and recognition for outstanding achievements. Among these: a Citation for Citizenship from the Government of Canada, an Award of Excellence from the Government of Ontario, the Spirit Award from the United Way of Peel Region.

Andrea has, over the years, served in various capacities on not-for-profit boards, community task forces, consultations, and committees. She has championed the battle for reciprocity and fair treatment of foreign workers in Ontario. Her advocacy role for the passing of Bill 124 The Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act by the Ontario Provincial Parliament as law is noteworthy.

She has served on the 2010 Fundraising Gala Committee of the Credit Valley Hospital Foundation, and as the first non-Chinese Co-Chair of the Healthy Living Expo 2012 organized by the Mississauga Board of Chinese Professionals and Businesses (CPB).

Andrea is highly committed to heightening awareness of key issues facing vulnerable communities such as seniors and victims of domestic violence. She has developed programs for marginalized individuals such as at-risk youth, and specialized services for immigrants to settle and integrate into the workforce. Through her efforts and many achievements, Andrea has demonstrated a progressive approach to building social supports and increasing service effectiveness in the Greater Toronto Area.”