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Friday, 09 February 2018 05:57

University's Destination Exploration receives major award

Written by  Demi Knight
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 Program Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua, Valerie Archibald, director, youth outreach, Cassandra Allenby, Codemakers coordinator, and Dr. Laura Keffer-Wilkes, program coordinator graciously accept the Mentorship award at this year's Actua Award Ceremony in Ottawa. Program Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua, Valerie Archibald, director, youth outreach, Cassandra Allenby, Codemakers coordinator, and Dr. Laura Keffer-Wilkes, program coordinator graciously accept the Mentorship award at this year's Actua Award Ceremony in Ottawa. Photos courtesy U of L, Destination Exploration

The University of Lethbridge’s Destination Exploration youth science program saw some recent acknowledgements at this year’s Actua awards banquet in Ottawa. Actua is a national charity organization which works with youth.


Recognized for its outstanding mentorship, the Destination Exploration program received the award thanks to its work that connects youth with both graduates and professionals in the workforce to give more diverse opportunities and learning paths to the younger generations.
“We’re preparing the next generation of the workforce and making sure that they’re critical thinkers and problem solvers and high-functioning members of society,” says Valerie Archibald, director of youth outreach for the U of L’s faculty of arts and science.
“We do a large amount of work with mentoring and connecting mentors into our programming, so to be acknowledged for that work is just phenomenal.”
The Destination Exploration Youth Science Program which originated in 2002, has been working over the years to reach out to young students not only in Lethbridge, but the surrounding southwest Alberta areas to provide interactive workshops, summer camps, after school science clubs and a number of other outreach programs that promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to the younger demographics.
With efforts in tact to reach not only Lethbridge but young students across all of southern Alberta the Destination Exploration program works to offer a slew of different programs, workshops and general outreach programming throughout the year to give all interested the opportunity to become involved.
Starting with only a few hundred, the program has grown immensely over its sixteen years existence, now working to serve a total of over 4,500 youths within southern Alberta throughout the year — all of which are paired with role models in the STEM fields that can ultimately help shine a light on what their futures can hold within these exciting career paths.
“We want to be able to provide a whole spectrum of people and jobs and opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields and have kids see that those are real jobs, careers and life choices that are available to them,” says Archibald of the program.
“Providing role models of what young people can do and be in the future is paramount to the programming that we do. This award solidifies that the work we’re doing is on the right track.”
The Actua organization works hard to prepare youths to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and stimulating experiences within the science, technology, engineering and math sectors.
By partnering with 35 university and colleges across the entire country, Actua has grown to help over 250,000 youths each year become more prosperous about their future in the workforce. Since the University of Lethbridge is closely involved with Actua to help bring these STEM experiences to life, members of the Destination Exploration couldn’t be more excited about receiving the mentorship award at this year’s ceremony and keep pushing further to reach more young students in the years to come.
“Moving forward, we’re really excited to be reaching the young people of Lethbridge and southern Alberta, providing them with STEM opportunities and encouraging them to keep going with their studies,” says Archibald.

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