Connections Engineering Outreach, the unit within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science devoted to inspiring local and regional youth to consider futures in engineering and STEM industries, was awarded the Actua Experience Award 2022 in Teacher Training at a recent gathering of STEM outreach professionals.

Actua is a national charitable organization and leader in STEM outreach to youth which funds and delivers workshops and other engagement events throughout Canada via a network of member organizations such as the Connections Engineering Outreach team at Queen’s.

The inaugural award in Teacher Training is shared by Queen’s with an outreach team from Aurora College, and recognizes investments in pre-service and classroom educators by network members.

The Actua Experience Award celebrates the achievements of network members in Actua’s national programs. The Actua Experience Award recognizes network members’ commitment to engaging all youth in STEM and providing them with the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to succeed in the 21st century. A significant component of reaching youth is engaging K-12 teachers in Actua’s work. Each year, we highlight achievement by a network member in one of the national program areas.

For the Teacher Training program award, we are interested in programs that connect K-12 pre-service and classroom educators with innovative and inspiring professional development opportunities and emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning for participants as well as addressing how teachers can approach inclusive instruction for diverse student populations.

Specifically, the award recognized work the Connections team developed in concert with the Faculty of Education at Queen’s to supplement the teacher candidate training in STEM concepts.

In attendance from the Connections team were Outreach Coordinators Desuree DeGagne, Lindsay Jones, and Black Youth in STEM Team Lead Cressana Williams-Massey. DeGagne accepted the award on behalf of the team, and shared these words at the ceremony:

Our partnership with the Faculty of Education at Queen’s grew out of one of these ideas and has continued to blossom over the years. That relationship has been integral to reaching our teacher training goals and has also supported the work of our colleagues in the BEd program. Through this collaboration we have helped to prepare thousands of teacher candidates as they learn to integrate digital skills and engineering design into their practice. We are proud to have given them the tools to navigate new curriculum and to meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse student population. Work with local school boards has also been rewarding, and we are excited to launch a few new projects and build new relationships as we close out this school year.


Desuree speaking at the podium
Desuree DeGagne accepts award at Actua National Conference (photo via Actua).


Connections team with their award
Desuree DeGagne, Lindsay Jones, and Cressana Williams-Massey.

This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Strategic Plan:

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