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STEM Stories

Learn more about the people behind Glenforest STEM


Kathy Huang

Founding STEM Team Member

What a journey. I really can’t believe it has been 3 years since I was first a part of Glenforest STEM. From the inception of the idea to bring in healthcare speakers, our team had 9 days to organize, coordinate and effectuate the event. I never could have fathomed from that one event that the club would go on to organize the largest student run conference in Canada and continue to soar. Wow, it’s so strange to say those words, “largest student run conference in Canada.” It really doesn’t register in my brain. There are so many – too many – feelings and experiences and highs and lows from the planning process that are difficult to capture and flatten into words. While people saw that the final product was a one day conference, what isn’t as transparent are the days and days of packing NutriGrain bars into bags for participants or the hours of Facebook Messenger chats coordinating who needs to be where when, or the months of uncertainty when funding wasn’t secured or the scrambling when we found out last minute that the original date in May was not going to work and we needed to adapt. These nuances that aren’t at first obvious, illuminated for me just how important personality, character and resiliency are. In the face of obstacles, I genuinely believe that it is who you are that dictates the outcome of a challenge. The students and staff working on the project were among the toughest, most energetic and committed people I’ve met. Whoever says that young people are lazy have never stepped foot into Glenforest Secondary School. I am so so proud and amazed by the student talent that I’ve witnessed on the STEM team. These students are artists, athletes and activists. They are, and will continue to be, innovators, disruptors and change makers. They are leaders in STEM, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Kathy Huang
Ananya Nair

Ananya Nair

Founding STEM Team Member

“Never pass away an opportunity”, that statement has never rung truer than in the case of Glenforest STEM. I was approached with this opportunity amidst the chaos of applying for universities, finishing IAs and EEs, and I was not sure if I had it in me to dedicate time to its development. But, looking back now, saying YES, led to one of my proudest of accomplishments. However, somehow, to this date, I am not able to tell when exactly the idea of Glenforest STEM evolved from being a two day in-school healthcare speakers panel to the largest student run conference in Canada. The transition was so organic and seamless that I never realized what we as a team had accomplished until everything was over - no emailing, no fundraising, no late night meetings, no 50 different facebook group chats. Now those may sound like the most daunting tasks, but my favourite memories of STEM lie in these and many of the other such tasks. It is these moments that really showed me the value of people. The passion, drive, and resilience they brought only strengthened our mission and made everything that much closer to possible and achievable. And maybe it’s the nature of students at Glenforest or the power of the inspiring teachers, Glenforest STEM continues to have the greatest group of youth leading it! I am beyond excited to see where Glenforest STEM goes next and how it continues to change the landscape of STEM education in Canada! Once you catch the STEM fever, there is no cure!

Nikka Reyes

Former Co-President

It's hard to find words to describe the STEM club of Glenforest. Its growth throughout the years has been phenomenal, starting from a school-wide Health Talks that was planned in less than two weeks to now the biggest conference run by students. It's crazy to think about how small the club was a few years ago when it started and how many people are in it now. I hope that students who participate in the club or the conference grow through the experience just like I did. The first Health Talks was meant to help students learn about the future of their careers and the different paths they may take. It certainly helped me in deciding what I want to do and what choices I can make. Though, it helped me make future decisions it also helped me grow as a person. Starting off as a shy eleventh grader who could barely speak to a group of five other people, STEM gave me the opportunity to explore and find confidence within myself as the years passed by. I hope that other students are impacted by STEM in the way that it impacted me. I cannot wait to see the continuing growth of the club and the students who are a part of it.

Nikka Reyes
Esther Boateng

Esther Boateng

Former STEM Executive

When I say "STEM" you say "UP". "STEM".. "UP". "STEM".."UP".
My STEM Xperience is something that I won't ever forget. I remember in 2014 sitting in chemistry, wondering whether my dream of becoming a doctor was actually what I wanted, or because my knowledge of careers was basic and limited. A couple weeks later, Ms.Wang-Martin gave everyone a reality check which made me realize becoming a doctor, or going into medicine was not my only option, leading me to realize that my knowledge in STEM careers was very limited. Ms.Wang-Martin went ahead and brought in a few professionals within the STEM field, to speak during chemistry class. Through those few classes I was exposed to a whole lot of new careers that I had never imagined of. With the commitment of eight glenforest students, along with Ms.Wang-Martin as the head, we decided that the experience of speaking with STEM professionals should not be limited to those in my grade 11 chemistry class, but to every student in Glenforest. We did not expect the challenge that we were about to face, from: setting up the chairs, to staying up late, to finishing scripts, and reaching out to companies to sponsor us (which was difficult at first). With the support of Ms.Wang-Martin and the other execs, we managed to pull off the first ever student run STEM workshop at glenforest. After we realized the success of the first STEM workshop, with help from more Glenforest students and teachers, we became one stem family and pulled off the first ever STEM student run conference, with over one thousand delegates. From a class of thirty, to a workshop of one hundred and fifty, to now over one thousand! It was a privilege to be a part of the first execs of the STEM team. I do not doubt the upcoming success of STEM. Like we say, Don't forget to #STEMITUP.

Melissa Ifurung

Former STEM Executive

Glenforest STEM club was just an idea up in the air when I first heard of it. However, it wasn't long until I was sitting in a room with small group of girls in a meeting introducing the Glenforest STEM Club's first Health Talks at our school. Finding donors was a big chunk of our responsibilities, and was a pain to do. It was a great experience ushering the students into their seats and making sure our first health talks was a success. I also had a less than great experience taking my first fall in heels in front of the whole audience during the health talks. Later in the year, I had the opportunity to help plan our first conference, XPERIENCE STEM 2016. To keeping up our social media, to helping create goodie bags for every single patron, planning this conference was nothing short of hectic. Even though both the school year and the conference were both filled with running around, it was amazing to see a year's worth of work in motion. I'm lucky to be able to say that I enjoyed working with people I can confidently call my friends. Being apart of my school's STEM club wasn't only a pleasure, but it was an honour to be apart of the startup of a club that's changing lives.

Made with by the STEM Team

Developed by Jacob Kelly