By Candy Wassermann

Inspiring a curious mindset in youth has never been more critical than in today’s fast-paced world. Going where kids are to provide access to learning opportunities out in the community has become an essential part of sparking and building upon that inspiration – helping to reach more youths by taking geography out of the equation.

Virtual Ventures (VV), a not-for-profit organization run through Carleton University’s Faculty of Engineering and Design, has been pushing to connect youth (junior kindergarten – grade 12) to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) since its inception in 1994. In 2022, VV reached over 10,000 youths, the largest annual reach since its establishment. This is, in part, thanks to the recent expansion to Ottawa’s West end, giving Kanata-based youth convenient access to many amazing programs.

Virtual Ventures Expands West to Kanata

CU@Kanata is located in Canada’s largest technology park and has become a hub for innovation and collaboration. VV began hosting programs in Carleton’s new space in the fall of 2022 and looks forward to continuing to develop initiatives in the space.

“It is important to be embedded within the community, to better foster partnerships, innovation, and experiential learning opportunities,” says Calvin Tong, Director of CU@Kanata. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Virtual Ventures to offer outreach programs at CU@Kanata to foster youth interest in STEM, ultimately developing the next generation of technology leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.”

In October, Tackle Technology facilitated the introduction of high school students to the Ottawa tech landscape. In November, two PD Day Camps were held where grade 1 – 6 students participated in instructor-led workshops to get hands-on experience in STEM. In December, VV participated in Computer Science Education Week by hosting the Hour of Code event for high school students to take a peek behind the computer science curtain. Most recently, in January VV celebrated STEM at STEM Discovery Day by challenging students to do an engineering challenge.

“Offering our programs at multiple locations concurrently, has been a new expansion in 2022. Hosting our exciting programs in Kanata makes our programs more accessible to more families in Ottawa.” says Kyra Bloomfield, Program Director at Virtual Ventures.

To date, more than 750 students across all of these program have benefited from VV’s expansion to Kanata. This winter, students are participating in workshops and activities such as Technovation, the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls.

What’s Next?

Thursday, February 23, 2023 in , ,
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