In the fall of 2010, Professor Mark MacLachlan had an idea. Unlike the thoughts of exotic materials, liquid crystals, and macrocycles that currently consume most of his time, this was an outreach initiative. The idea was simple: send upper year graduate students with a keen interest for science outreach to rural BC communities. These students would then build enthusiasm about science in students who would not generally have the opportunity to meet a real ‘scientist’ and act as a resource for educators in the area. The program, now named “Scientist in Residence”, was born out of Dr. MacLachlan’s own experience growing up in Quesnel, BC. “I had no idea what being a scientist or having a PhD meant when I was growing up,” says MacLachlan. “I volunteered for the “Scientists in Schools” program when I was an undergraduate student at UBC and wondered whether it would be possible to extend something like this to communities outside of the Lower Mainland. At the same time, this could be a good professional development experience for our graduate students.”
Now, 2 years later, the first Scientist in Residence, 5th year PhD Candidate Angela Crane, is ready to embark on a journey to Fort Nelson, BC to live as the “Scientist in Residence” for the month of May 2013. “I’m really excited to be able to bring a lot of the demos we perform here at the Chemistry Department to a new audience in a new setting. I hope that my enthusiasm for science will rub off on the students I meet in Fort Nelson. It’s really going to be a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to get started,” says Angela, who has a strong background in chemistry outreach in the UBC Chemistry Department.
With the support of the UBC Faculty of Science and funding from Encana, Angela will work with schools in Fort Nelson and the surrounding area, with the Fort Nelson Community Development Office, and with the local campus of Northern Lights College. During her stay, she will perform chemistry demonstrations, hands-on activities and experiments, as well as present career opportunities for those thinking about pursuing science in the future.