Fifteen Grade 5 and 6 students got hands-on experience as budding scientists in the recently launched Head Start Biomedical Youth Program.
The program ran for one week with the young scientists receiving their graduation diplomas on Friday, July 13 at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.
The program targeted Winnipeg inner city schools, with a specific focus on Aboriginal schools Niji Mahkwa, Marion and Fort Rouge.
Dr. Francis Amara, associate professor and senior scientist, department of biochemistry and medical genetics, Faculty of Medicine, said this initiative is designed to give students of under-represented minorities and low socio-economic backgrounds an introduction to science and research.
The goal of the program is to encourage them to learn more about science and to eventually pursue careers in the health profession.
Jasmine Boulette, who proudly said she’s entering grade six at Niji Mahkwa School had a great time.
“I really liked the tour and the science experiment,” she said.
When asked what she would like to accomplish as a scientist, she answered, “I want to learn how long mosquitoes live and I want to cure cancer.”
Boulette’s excitement was demonstrated by all 15 participants as they toured the lab facilities at both St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre and the Faculty of Medicine and later participated in hands-on experiments with grad students.
Next year the program will continue, and Dr. Amara would like to see more inner city students have the opportunity to participate.
“I am hoping that this program will create a sustainable interest in science, and have an impact on the career choices for these children,” said Dr. Amara.
The Head Start Biomedical Youth Program and the Science Buddies Program are proudly sponsored by the Faculty of Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Sanofi-Aventis Biotech, MINDSET Manitoba, and the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education.