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Promotion of science the goal of new UTSC high school awards


by Eleni Kanavas

Encouraging young people to consider a career in science is the motive behind a new set of awards established by the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Chemistry professor André Simpson of the department of physical and environmental sciences recently founded the Outstanding High School Student Science Awards Program, which recognizes outstanding high school students in the sciences. The prizes will be presented to four local high school students on Thursday, October 29 at 12 noon in a ceremony at Rex’s Den, (formerly Bluffs restaurant), in the Student Centre.The program is supported in part by the Ontario government, the University of Toronto at Scarborough and private industry, and is in its inaugural year.

“Science is an exciting and stimulating career and we want young people to be aware of the opportunities that are available to them,” said Simpson, director of the Environmental NMR Centre on campus. “These awards recognize outstanding high school students who demonstrate a passion for science and an interest in research.”

The four winners will be announced at the ceremony. Also on hand for the presentations will be: Professor Franco Vaccarino, vice-president and principal of UTSC,  Professor Donald Cormack, chair of the department of physical and environmental sciences, and scientist Dr. Rajeev Kumar, representing Bruker BioSpin, a science equipment manufacturing company.

“This opportunity also provides students with an award early in their careers that will make them more competitive at a national level, as well as giving them a chance to be immersed in a university research environment,” Simpson said. “It also strengthens the ties between U of T Scarborough, local high schools and the private sector.” He hopes to expand the awards base in future years to include and recognize students from across Ontario.

Each recipient is to receive an engraved plaque and $250. The students will also spend the day at U of T Scarborough, where they will pair up with graduate students, tour the campus, do a lab experiment, and attend a first-year physics lecture led by Dr. Salam Tawfiq.

The science awards were established this past spring with the aim of exposing the best high school students to a research and development environment and conveying excitement and enthusiasm for research to students at an early age. The awards are financially supported by the University of Toronto, the Ontario government, and Bruker BioSpin Ltd.

© University of Toronto Scarborough