Maple Ridge students benefit from SFU program

Idea is to give kids an idea about future studies at school on the hill

A new program offered by SFU’s Faculty of Science offers local high school students the opportunity to earn high school credits while attending free seminars at the prestigious Burnaby university.

The free University Science Transition Experience Program was developed by Associate Dean for the Faculty of Science George Agnes, in partnership with Lower Mainland school districts, including School District No. 42. Agnes said the aim of USTEP is to provide high school students with the opportunity to challenge themselves academically beyond what is offered at the high school level, while introducing them to university life at the same time.

“We want to expose high school students to a series of snapshots on how they can develop their own post-secondary education plan, and stimulate their imaginations by relating innovations in science and technology to everyday events in students’ daily activities,” Agnes said.

The theme for this school year is energy and its many forms. Students will select a topic based on the subject material discussed at the sessions and use that topic to propose and conduct a month-long project, guided and evaluated by their high school teachers.

“I don’t tell the student what they have to study,” said Agnes. “Students have to first develop a project, and then work with their high school teacher on the project.”

By allowing students to follow their own passions, Agnes hopes to stimulate their creativity.

Students and their parents from across the Lower Mainland, including Maple Ridge, took part in the first monthly seminar last week, which featured a presentation from a researcher working with data from the Large Hadron Collider.

Agnes said he hopes to see university credit offered to students taking part in the program in the future.

“Currently there is no advance standing offered, but that’s not out of the question for the future,” he said.