UofG Student Leaders Teaching the Next Generation

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Sam Weeks and Rachel Tait with masks on outside.
Two Creative Encounters student leaders, Samuel Weeks and Rachel Tait.

Creative Encounters with Science is an outreach organization that promotes interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among youth living in Guelph and the surrounding area. Based out of the University of Guelph’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), Creative Encounters is a network member of Actua - Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization. Within the programs, University of Guelph student leaders provide dynamic and hands-on learning experiences in STEM through summer camps, school programming, events, partnerships and more.

We sat down with a few of this years Creative Encounters student leaders to discuss their experience with the programs and how Creative Encounters helped shaped their time in university. Rachel, Kat, Elena and Sam are all students within CEPS and are passionate about getting younger students excited about STEM.

Rachel Tait smiling in a University of Guelph sweater Name: Rachel Tait
Program: Biomedical Engineering
Year: Going into second year

How did being a student in Creative Encounters when you were younger open the world of STEM to you?

It was probably, other than school of course, my first opportunity to do STEM related activities outside of school in a more relaxed, exciting setting, which I think was a really great way to get me excited and inspired about STEM.


Kat Idzik smiling in a pink Actua shirtName: Kat Idzik
Program: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Going into fifth year

How did you get involved with Creative Encounters?

I participated a lot in WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) events, and I heard about Creative Encounters through one of my friends as they were one of the presidents for WiSE. I also learned about the program through my co-op page when I was looking for a placement.

Being a woman in STEM, how do you think Creative Encounters helps young girls to get exposure to this field?

Creative Encounters is huge for promoting young girls in STEM. Not only do we include this in the summer camps but also in workshops done in their classroom. There are a lot of girls in our camps currently and it’s so great to see. I help to run the robotics camps and that is somewhere that you don’t see a lot of women compared to some of the other areas of science.

Samuel Weeks smiling in a light blue Creative Encounters shirtName: Samuel Weeks
Program: Just finished a four-year degree in Biomedical Toxicology
Year: Graduated; starting Master of Teaching at the University of Toronto in September

What has Creative Encounters taught you?

I learned how to bring complex concepts down to a level that a child would understand. For example, the “Camp in a Box” I developed had activities that involved topics like chromatography, the separation of liquids. I had to figure out a way to explain that concept to someone in grade school. I think that’s a skill that’s helpful and important moving forward because we can explain science to people who don’t necessarily have a background in it. Having people who know how to explain science in a way that’s more digestible and friendly is a skill that I’ve used in Creative Encounters and outside of it. I feel that science communication is important.


Elena Gogic smiling in a red Creative Encounters shirt.Name: Elena Gogic
Program: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Going into first year

Did Creative Encounters help you decide you wanted to come to Guelph? What stood out at Guelph compared to other schools?

I was familiar with the buildings and the programs itself. As a student in the camps, I was able to see the different labs and what engineers were doing in the building was always interesting for me. Particularly for Guelph, it was a community-based approach to learning, rather than you must be the best and better than everyone else. It was less competitive and that’s what I prefer.


Visit the Creative Encounters website for more information: https://creativeencounters.info/

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