The Path to Careers in Science
by Simon Lorimer, Secondary Science and Physics Teacher
In the Middle and High School, our Science program takes students through a wide range of fundamental ideas and skills to provide them with a general view of the subject. This is designed to provide all students with a solid foundation across a broad spectrum of topics in the realm of Science. Towards the end of Grade 10, however, we ask students to make a choice of one or two science subjects to study. This can be a difficult decision for many students. Simultaneously, it is an exciting time as it is when they begin to study a branch of science in greater depth and begin to see themselves as budding scientists.
To provide our students with some context for this decision and to give them an idea of where science can take them, our department invites professionals who use science in their work to talk about their experiences and path that led them to where they are in their working lives. This year, we were fortunate to have presentations from a researcher looking at potential treatments for HIV; a planetary geologist working on a mission to collect material from an asteroid; an engineer working to install and improve wind turbines for power generation, and a researcher looking at how genetic information about microbes can be used to help understand how they survive in a range of conditions.
Perhaps one of the most surprising revelations from several presenters was that the place they are currently in on their journeys is not the place they were expecting to be. For example, one researcher completed a degree as an aeronautical engineer before discovering a passion for genetics. It is this perspective we want to instill in our students, in the hopes that they will see science as a road to opportunities they might not be aware of while still in high school. Through the work and stories of such professionals, we hope to inspire our students to think beyond the classroom about how they can use science as a base upon which to build their own paths.
Our school is fortunate to have experts from outside the school provide real-world experience to our students, particularly because of the impact on how our students see themselves. We welcome more speakers to our Science program in the hopes of continuing this impact. If you would like to speak to our students about your career, please contact me. You'll be making a positive difference.