Youth DiverSTEAM Symposium Aims to Attract More Students of Diverse Backgrounds to Study Science

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Second-Annual Virtual Event Showcases Hospital-Based Research Careers

TORONTO, May 25, 2022 /CNW/ - Today, for the second consecutive year, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and Let's Talk Science are hosting the Youth DiverSTEAM Symposium, a virtual networking event to promote interest and careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).

The event will connect approximately 400 high school students from across the province, particularly those from under-represented or racialized communities, with hospital researchers and trainees from hospital-based research institutes across Ontario. The virtual event will be held in Gather – a simulation game environment that features short interactive, talks, videos and virtual tours.

"As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and begin reflecting on the lessons learned, it's clear that the importance of research and innovation has never been greater," said Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the OHA. "The OHA is incredibly proud to support today's symposium and to have researchers of diverse backgrounds take part and share their passion and academic career journeys with students of similar backgrounds."

The event is being championed by the OHA's Health Research and Innovation Committee, which established an Anti-Racism Task Force in 2020 to identify, challenge and change the values, structures and behaviours in place that perpetuate differential treatment of individuals on the basis of racial or ethnic identity. While the benefits of having diversity in research and science are well known, there is still much work to do in ensuring that Ontario scientists are truly representative of the communities they serve.

In today's highly competitive global research environment, the demand for people who can fill STEAM-related jobs will only continue to rise. However, many high school students disengage from STEAM courses far too early. More than half of students graduate high school without a senior-level math and/or science credit, only 17 per cent of students complete Grade 12 physics, and five out of six students are not eligible to apply for engineering, according to Let's Talk Science.

"In a world increasingly driven by innovation, the demand for people who can fill STEAM-related jobs will only continue to increase," said Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, President and Founder of Let's Talk Science. "Programs like the Youth DiverSTEAM Symposium are vital to engaging and inspiring students, and to arming them with the knowledge needed to pursue a career in an area that they may have never envisioned."

Ontario Hospital Association
Established in 1924, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) serves as the voice of the province's public hospitals, supporting them through advocacy, knowledge translation and member engagement, labour relations, and data and analytics with the goal of helping hospitals build a better health system. The OHA is also attuned to the broader strategic questions facing the future of the province's health care system and we work to ensure Ontario's hospitals have a voice in shaping this longer-term vision. For more information about the OHA, visit or follow us on Twitter.

Let's Talk Science
Let's Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering children and youth of all ages in Canada to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let's Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let's Talk Science, visit

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association


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