From 2010-2017, university student mentors have worked with elementary and high school students on their creative projects. Up until last year, most were students studying the sciences. This past year, we have expanded the mentoring groups to include increased numbers of fine arts students, to provide the interdisciplinary learning environment that high school students need in order to succeed in their projects. Our broader goal is to bridge the perceived gap between Science and the Arts, by encouraging and nurturing Creativity, which is a key element of both fields.
What are the benefits of being a mentor in this unique program?
Previous mentors have cited outcomes such as experience in teaching and communicating, networking and making connections, resume-building, letters of reference – here are what some of them say about this volunteering opportunity:
Rebecca Montgomery, (Visual Arts, UBC, undergraduate); Mentor 2013
“As an Arts mentor for the Creative Science High School program, I found not only was I able to utilise what I’ve been learning during my undergraduate program and apply it to helping High School students, but also gain new perspectives from the students and other mentors. I was excited to hear about the program’s goal to bridge the perceived gap between Arts and Science because I was looking for this opportunity in my own art practice as well. “Creativity is just connecting things.” (Steve Jobs). I think it is important for people to think about how creativity among artists and scientists is much more interconnected than is often thought, and that communication between the Arts and Sciences can open up a plethora of opportunities to learn more.”
Fabian Tam (Computer Science, UBC, undergraduate); Mentor 2012, 2013
“What I enjoyed most about the program was connecting with younger students to share both my knowledge and passion in science, and inspiring them to continue studying science. I started as a mentor and have since grown into the role of volunteer mentorship coordinator. Volunteering with Creative Science has allowed me to further develop my leadership abilities, improve my ability to facilitate group discussions, and become a better science communicator. As an added benefit, I was able to receive a letter of reference from Dr Kelly to support my application to medical school.”
Jeff Dong (Microbiology & Immunology, UBC, graduate student); Mentor 2012, 2013
“I’ve gained valuable experiences in communications and mentoring as well as established new networks with fellow graduate students in other faculties and departments. In addition, I am inspired by the inventive art works created by the students involved in this program – such as a Shakespearean sonnet about DNA and proteins! – and I found new appreciation for the knowledge that I am learning and researching at the lab. As a graduate student, I found Creative Science to be an excellent program for outreach and teaching experiences.”
Stephanie Saran (Pharmacology & Animal Biology, UBC, undergraduate); Mentor 2013, 2014
“This volunteer opportunity was a unique one and I can’t wait to begin again. It allowed me to use all the heaps of cool information I have learned throughout my degree to help and engage younger students to excel in their own science projects. Being able to interact with other UBC students collaboratively in this process was also very rewarding. If you are looking for a creative and interactive approach to really make a difference to how young people view science then this is just the program for you!”
Lily Aleksandrova (Neuroscience, UBC, PhD student); Mentor 2014, 2015
“Being a Creative Science mentor gave me the chance to interact with high school students and share some of my knowledge and passion about science. I was excited to be a part of their creative and learning process and was inspired by the inventive approaches the students took to complete their projects. This program reinforces my own view that exploring the interface between the Sciences and the Arts and learning to represent scientific knowledge in a creative and artistic manner is extremely important. Through this unique mentoring opportunity, I gained rewarding volunteering and teaching experience, while combining my passions for science, art and teaching, and networking with other UBC mentors. If you are interested in a fun and rewarding volunteer opportunity that allows you to inspire young students, yet fits seamlessly into your busy schedule, you will enjoy being a Creative Science mentor!”
We are exploring ways to give formal accreditation to mentors who have fulfilled our requirements, which may involve awarding credentials via universal badging systems.