by Chris Putnam
New funding will help the Nutrien Kamskénow program bring hands-on science and math activities to more community school classrooms in Saskatoon.
On May 2, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced that Nutrien Kamskénow—a science outreach program based in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Arts and Science—has been awarded $126,000 over three years through NSERC’s PromoScience program.
Last year, the 13-week program was delivered to 1,085 Grade 4–11 students across 47 classrooms in Saskatoon. With the NSERC funding, organizers hope to expand the program’s reach to 65 classrooms.
Demand for Nutrien Kamskénow is currently about double what the program can accommodate, said Lana Elias, director of science outreach in the College of Arts and Science.
“Thanks to the new support from NSERC PromoScience, we will be able to expand the program and engage even more youth. We are so grateful to have three years of funding from NSERC PromoScience. This allows us to do some forward planning and explore new ideas for better meeting the demand,” Elias said.
Through Nutrien Kamskénow, a team of student scientists from the University of Saskatchewan delivers weekly participatory science and math activities to local classes with a high proportion of Indigenous students. Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools are both partners.
“The program has many impacts and is truly a win-win-win for youth participants, teachers, as well as our university students and staff,” said Elias.
A primary goal of the program is to increase the proportion of Indigenous students who choose to pursue science-related fields.
“After participating the program, more than 63 per cent of community school students responded that they are likely to choose a career that involved math or science. This program truly inspires students to consider a future in the sciences,” said Elias.
Launched in 2009, Nutrien Kamskénow will celebrate its 10-year anniversary at an event on May 24.