UBC Let's Talk Science strives to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics literacy through the outreach efforts of members of the research community at the University of British Columbia. Our volunteers work with youth from elementary and secondary schools to ignite science excitement and share their knowledge with eager young minds.
Ruth Sharpe: Executive Coordinator
Where I’m from: Bristol, UK
I’m researching: I am a PhD candidate in the department of Zoology, researching population dynamics of social spiders.
Responsibilities: I am responsible for overseeing the program's finances, including budgeting, fundraising and processing expense claims. I also support our team of coordinators in all administrative aspects of the program and manage our website
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: Being able to let kids know just how amazing science is!
Gillian Fuss: Volunteer and Internal Relations Coordinator
Where I’m from: Victoria, BC
I’m researching: I am a MsC candidate in the department of Forestry. My research looks at changes in water quality associated with land use and how to protect water supplies for smaller communities.
Responsibilities: I assist the executive coordinators in managing all of UBC Let’s Talk Science’s programs, especially with volunteer management and program coordinator support, and all the fun that goes along with that!
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: I love how we actually reach out and talk to people, making connections between people, the planet, and how to study it. It helps the person be more successful, but also improves our society by fostering trust in science and a responsibility to the great outdoors!!
Claire Bomkamp: Teacher Partnership Program Coordinator
Where I'm from: Seattle, WA
I'm researching: How neurons use adhesion proteins to form correct synapses and how problems with this system contribute to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: I like how the Partnership program has volunteers visit the same group of students throughout the year because it allows the volunteer to build a connection with the group and more effectively engage the students in talking about science!
Evelyn Sun: Community Events Coordinator
Where I’m from: Sao Paulo, Brazil
I’m researching: I'm a PhD student in the department of microbiology and immunology studying a specific type of bacterial motility associated with the opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Responsibilities: My responsibilities are to set up and coordinate Let's Talk Science events in the community. I work to ensure that awesome and fun activities take place in our community to deliver the love of science to students everywhere.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: Inspiring young people to love science and think like scientists! When I was young, I was inspired by an education outreach program just like Let's Talk Science and that's what led to my career today so I love being a part of something that can inspire a person to pursue a career in science.
Andrew Santos: Community Events Assistant Coordinator
Where I’m from: Toronto, ON
I’m researching: I’m a PhD student in Microbiology and Immunology. I study the mechanisms that pathogenic E coli use to hijack host cell pathways, ultimately causing disease.
Responsibilities: I’m responsible for setting up activities with various community groups throughout Vancouver. This community outreach puts us in touch with people of all ages, where we deliver activities ranging from Science booths and demonstrations to the Let's Talk Science Challenge: an annual hands-on science competition for elementary students.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: Showing people of all ages that science isn’t intimidating or scary, rather that it’s exciting, fun, and fascinating.
Sherie Duncan: Rural Trip Outreach Coordinator
I'm from: Burnaby, BC
I'm researching: The use of microfluidic platforms for monoclonal antibody discovery. I'm a postdoc at the Centre for High-Throughput Biology.
Responsibilities: In partnership with Genome BC, I organize UBC LTS trips to classrooms and communities in areas of British Columbia outside of the Lower Mainland.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: Sharing my passion for science and bringing fun, hands-on activities to students all over BC and Yukon.
Deborah Good: Mentorship Coordinator
Where I’m from: Golden, Colorado
I’m researching: I'm a master's student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I'm improving a method for calibrating radio telescopes, specifically for use on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), an experiment that will help us learn about dark energy.
Responsibilities: I coordinate the mentorship program, meaning I recruit and pair graduate and undergraduate student mentors with elementary or secondary school students to help students develop, implement and present science fair projects.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: I love presenting science in a fun, non-threatening context and watching people realize they can enjoy and understand science. Also, I became interested in science largely through outreach programs, so I love the opportunity to give back.
Eva Yap: SMaRT Coordinator
Where I'm from: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I'm researching: I'm a Master’s student at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre. I research large-scale methods to explore the genetic code of tumours and apply this in a clinical setting to personalize treatments for cancer patients.
Responsibilities: I coordinate the SMaRT program. I liaise between the UBC Community Learning Initiative and Let's Talk Science to help equip UBC graduate and undergraduate students to deliver engaging and hands-on activities in Vancouver elementary schools.
My favourite part about Let's Talk Science: Obviously, I’m biased towards the SMaRT program! It is an awesome program that relies on the collaborative efforts of many enthusiastic individuals who love science such as graduate and undergraduate students as well as elementary school teachers. More importantly, the SMaRT program reaches out to schools in East Vancouver with the goal of improving accessibility and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Cora Skaien: MEED (Modules in Ecology and Evolution) Coordinator
Where I’m from Stirling, Alberta
I’m researching: My PhD focuses on investigating how spatial heterogeneity in natural selection can cause phenotypic divergence between plant populations in an island archipelago, and how gene flow between populations can impact phenotype. Specifically, I use a plant-herbivore system to look at the impacts of grazing on plant populations.
Responsibilities: I am responsible for the Modules in Ecology and Evolution Development program (MEED), where we create 1-3 hour interactive modules for K-12 students to explain biological concepts. I am also involved in the SMaRT and Mentorship programs in conjunction with BIOL 201.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: Bringing people together to share their love of science, and spreading that love to children and young adults, to hopefully inspire a love for science in them.
Chantal Mustoe: Assistant Genome BC Coordintor
Where I’m from Denver, Colorado
I’m researching: I am a PhD student in the Chemistry department. My research focuses on understanding peptide interactions in Alzheimer’s disease and characterising particular types of chemical bonds which may help prevent the toxic behaviour of these peptides.
Responsibilities: In partnership with Genome BC, I organise community events and local Geneskool workshops.
My favourite part about Let’s Talk Science: I love sharing my passion for science by creating interesting and fun activities which are just as much fun to teach as they are to experience for the first time!
Rashedul Islam: Social Media Coordinator
Where I'm from: Dhaka, Bangladesh
I'm researching: My PhD research focuses on understanding the role of a transcription factor, RUNX1, in regulation of histone modification and gene expression in concert with NOTCH1 gene in T-cell acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia.
Responsibilities: I coordinate the Let's Talk Science social media accounts, informing our followers of upcoming events and opportunities, as well as broadcasting the great work being done by LTS volunteers.
My favourite part about Let's Talk Science: The most fascinating part is reaching to young generation of scientists to share the excitement of science with hands-on activities.