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Photos: Kids experience 'science in action' by Burnaby STEM team

SFU's science outreach program hosted a group of keen young minds and demonstrated experiments in chemistry and physics.

"My favourite part was changing colours with dry ice and watching the reactions it created."

Insiya Khambati was one of more than 20 young minds between ages four and 18 that were amazed by what science can do while attending an event at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

The Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community of Vancouver ventured to the Burnaby campus last Sunday, Feb. 11, to participate in "Science in Action" hosted by SFU's Science Outreach Team.

The trip also took place on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science — recognized annually by the United Nations (UN) to encourage full and equal access and participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Khambati was one of 11 girls in the group that witnessed cool experiments by SFU representatives, which included making elephant toothpaste, as well as other activities that involved liquid nitrogen, copper and magnesium.

"I really enjoyed being part of today’s demonstrations," she said about the two-hour interactive session.

Participants were able to dabble and engage hands-on with SFU's team, fielding questions when they took an interest.

"We look forward to questions from children as that allows us to learn more and gain interesting insights from school groups and cultural groups," said science outreach member Cynthia Henson.

"We try to reach out to students of many backgrounds for hands-on activities, starting with inquiry-based learning, to probe them, and engage them, essentially taking large concepts and simplifying them into smaller components, helping them to learn," added presenter James Zhou.

Jumana Mascati, spokesperson for the Dawoodi Bohra group, explained education and women's empowerment is very important in their community.

She believes more can be done to decrease the gender gap in STEM fields.

"The U.S. Census Bureau reports that women hold only 27 per cent of STEM jobs," Mascati said. 

"That statistic is much higher within the Dawoodi Bohra community. By participating in this event, we are hoping to help create an early love for STEM among the young girls in our community."

One in five professionals in a cutting edge field, like STEM or artifical intelligence, is a woman, according to the UN.

The global assembly's website also states that women account for 40 per cent of computer science and informatics graduates; 28 per cent for engineering.