Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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2006 NSERC Awards for Science Promotion

Career Trek

Career Trek has spent more than a decade helping young people pursue fulfilling careers through an innovative education program that goes well beyond simply making various subjects attractive to students.

The program targets students aged 10 and 11 who have the ability to complete postsecondary education, but face potential barriers such as poverty, disability or other issues. Potential participants are nominated by schools and community organizations. In order to maintain their eligibility they must fulfill strict requirements, including showing respect for other participants and making a contractual commitment to finishing the program. Families must also commit to supporting the students. Since 1996, the program has taught more than 2,750 young people and their families about fields that range from drama and recreation to biology and aerospace engineering. More importantly, it has exposed them to a variety of career options and helped them understand the value of staying in school.

Working in conjunction with the University of Manitoba, The University of Winnipeg, and Red River College of Applied Arts, Science and Technology, Career Trek's program consists of a series of five Saturday “terms” spent exploring careers available through various departments at each campus. Courses take a hands-on approach designed to develop the attitudes, knowledge and life skills needed to succeed in the workforce. Graduates are invited to remain involved in the program through a career-focused small-group project (Grade 9), and later on as volunteer staff (Grade 10) or paid staff (postsecondary).

Yvon Fortin

During nearly 30 years of teaching, Yvon Fortin has inspired thousands of students to learn more about science. He began his career as a physics professor at the Collège François-Xavier-Garneau in Québec in 1978, and quickly displayed a gift for bringing science to life outside the pages of a textbook. Over the years, his ability to explain science in original ways has made him a highly recognized popularizer of science.

His infectious enthusiasm has touched people of all ages and from all walks of life using methods that include demonstrations, contests, workshops, interactive exhibits and more. Among his achievements is the development of the Centre de démonstration en sciences physiques at the Collège François-Xavier-Garneau. Opened in 1998, the project converted an old gymnasium into a unique, flexible space that includes a workshop and a multi-media amphitheatre. It has been the site of numerous lectures and other events for the benefit of students and the general public.

With his trademark creative mix of elaborate models that illustrate physical principles, hands-on demonstrations and other techniques, Mr. Fortin has helped demystify science while stimulating curiosity and a spirit of discovery. His talents have benefited public and private organizations in Canada and abroad, including museums, educational organizations and major corporations. He has also served on government advisory committees and appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts.