De Beers Group
Aug. 2, 2023
Group of Indigenous girls from the Northwest Territories soak in science at STEM camp
A group of Indigenous youth from the Northwest Territories recently took part in the 2023 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp at the University of Calgary. Over four days, the eight girls, ranging in age from 11 to 15, built robots, learned about stars at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory and mastered the mathematics behind origami.
The camp — hosted in partnership with the De Beers Group — was designed to foster interest in STEM education and careers among women, an area traditionally dominated by men. With cutting-edge research and innovation right at their fingertips, the girls spent the week soaking in all the university has to offer, with a focus on the Faculty of Science and the Schulich School of Engineering. The camp ran from July 24 to 28 and attracted participants from several communities across the N.W.T.
"Attending the STEM Camp has been so much fun. I learned lots about robotics, and actually getting to build a robot was a highlight. Plus, the visit to the observatory was really cool; I got to learn about space,” said camper Payton Larocque-Lafferty.
Payton’s mother, Patricia Lafferty, who also participated in the camp as a caregiver, said it was “truly exciting to watch my daughter engage at the STEM summer camp. I loved seeing her learn, explore and uncover new possibilities.”
De Beers Group
"The world needs science skills to tackle the biggest challenges of our time. That means we need to make high-quality science education accessible to everyone," says Faculty of Science Dean Kristin Baetz. "What’s great about this camp and partnership is that we’re creating more pathways for girls and Indigenous groups into science fields. From outer space to robotics, they got a glimpse of the many options open to them."
The De Beers Group’s Gahcho Kué diamond mine is located 280 km northeast of Yellowknife and the STEM Camp at UCalgary is part of its Building Forever initiative. All costs associated with participating in the camp were covered by De Beers and the university, including transportation, accommodation, meals and activities.
“De Beers’ goal is to expose 10,000 girls and women to STEM by 2030, and this is just one of the ways we’re working to achieve that goal,” says Pamela Ellemers, principal mineral resource manager for De Beers Canada. “It was truly inspiring to see each of the girls light up as they took part in the workshops.”