By Rosemary Gong
While taking STEM-based classes at school is a crucial step to furthering your path in the field, the intertwinement of grades, quizzes, and exams can pose a serious distraction from realizing the full range of amazing STEM opportunities you can experience – outside of school. And with a pandemic raging on the forefront, this has likely amplified a decrease in inspiration and motivation to seek these opportunities. But lucky for you, our new series, “A High School Handbook: How to Get Involved in STEM as a Student,” is here to do the job for you. Our handbook will provide a series of 2-part articles, the first containing general opportunities in a certain field, and the second being a summary of interviews with university students in that field to show you what they did in high school.
Our first edition is on opportunities for those interested in pursuing health/medicine, so if that’s something that interests you, then keep on reading! Each opportunity has a link to its webpage, so be sure to check them out for more details.
Online events, such as conferences, workshops, and info sessions are a great way for you to meet professionals, build connections, and learn about new research. Here are a few that we thought were quite promising and inspiring:
Meet with healthcare professionals with a variety of specialties during virtual shadowing sessions to get insight into their careers and education.
Where: Program Website
A series of lectures on health and other related topics, given by internationally recognized researchers, faculty members and alumni from Western University.
When: September 16 – October 21, every Thursday from 7-8:30pm EST
Watch a series of videos to gain knowledge on the field, participate in hands-on activities and hear from award-winning scientists and health science experts.
Where: Program Website
Sign up as a group to Skype a scientist in a field of your interest, or join their virtual, pre-scheduled events on topics such as biotechnology careers and DNA.
When: Skype a scientist as a group anytime; pre-scheduled events are event-dependent.
Attend monthly virtual events, such as workshops and talks given by doctors in various fields. All posted events have passed, but stay tuned for updates.
Where: Program Website
The following are two events that have passed for 2021, but we highly recommend you keep in mind for next year:
OMS has 4 conferences in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa, each with a different med-related theme. Depending on the event, you could hear from several speakers from various backgrounds, participate in workshops, and gain access to Q&A sessions.
Hear from several Canadian doctors and med-experts and ask your questions to a panel of med students and residents.
Internships and Research Positions
These are an incredible way to gain first-hand experience in the field and start making meaningful connections (given the pandemic, most are likely virtual). Many of these positions are not publicly posted, and you will have to go out of your way to find people (eg: professors) that are conducting research you are interested in, and contact them personally to see if they have a position available for you. You can find these contacts on university websites, or just by browsing the web. But nevertheless, here are a few positions that are publicly posted:
Participate in cutting-edge research at universities across Canada, including UBC, UofA and McGill University. All 2021 programs have passed, but keep tabs on it for next year!
A summer webinar/internship for students to work closely with renowned surgeons, PAs, NPs and administrative staff at Lenox Hill Hospital’s Neurosurgery Department.
Work in a team with a University of Toronto student and Dr. Brad Bass, director of URECS, to partake in virtual laboratories and simulation modelling, and gain leadership opportunities.
When: Year-round; alternate Wednesday and Friday afternoons, 5:00-6:30pm EST.
If you are interested, email Dr. Bass at firstname.lastname@example.org
- IgNITE Medical Case Competition: Work in a team with a mentor to develop a research proposal to an assigned med-related topic (the next contest will be for 2021/2022).
- STEM Fellowship Contests: Our website contains a wide variety of contests for students of all STEM interests to enter. Some contests have already passed, but keep an eye out for when they open up next year!
- BioTEC Pitch Competition: Compete in teams coached by industry experts to pitch a student-run venture related to medicine and healthcare (note: at least one teammate must be attending a Canadian post-secondary institution at any level of study).
Staying in the loop via Instagram
It turns out that Instagram is useful for things other than viewing memes and checking up on the Kardashians; the app is a goldmine when it comes to medical (and other STEM) related accounts, with countless high-quality resources, information, and advice – all free for you to access. Here are a just a few:
Tip: browse their followers/following to find more similar accounts
@pumpprofessionals (and their daughter accounts)
We hope you found the first of our (hopefully many) handbook editions helpful! Watch out for a Part 2, where we’ll be interviewing various med/health science students to give you an idea of what kind of opportunities they were a part of in high school.
Although at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the opportunities you partake in should be something that interest you and further your path to your own career goals. Don’t let other people pressure you into signing up for opportunities just for the sake of it, or just to boost your resume! Chances are, if you’re not passionate about it, you won’t get much out of it anyway.
What field of opportunities in STEM do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments!
We already have an amazing article on general STEM opportunities and ideas on our STEMPowerment blog, so if would like to read that, click here: https://stemfellowship.org/how-can-i-pursue-stem-opportunities-from-home/
Anjum, Freeha. “How Can I Pursue STEM Opportunities From Home During COVID-19?” STEM Fellowship, 14 Nov. 2020, stemfellowship.org/how-can-i-pursue-stem-opportunities-from-home/.
BRAINterns. 2020, https://www.brainterns.com/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2021.
“Competitions.” STEM Fellowship, 2020, stemfellowship.org/competitions/.
GenerationMed. 2021, https://www.genmedblog.com/. Accessed 24 Apr. 2021.
IgNITE Medical Case Competition. IgNITE, 2020, https://www.ignitecompetition.org/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2021.
“Mini Medical School.” Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, www.schulich.uwo.ca/about/community_programs/mini_meds.html.
“Mini Med School Vancouver.” BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, www.bcchr.ca/events/mini-med-school/mini-med-school-vancouver.
Operation Med School. 2020, https://operationmedschool.com/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2021.
“Pitch Competitions.” BioTECH, https://www.uwbiotec.ca/pitch.
Pre-Health Shadowing. 2020, https://www.prehealthshadowing.com/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.
“Research Programs.” STEM Fellowship, 2020, stemfellowship.org/research-programs/.
“URECS (University Research Experience with Complex Systems).” Council of Educators of Toronto, councilofeducators.ca/search-programs/program.html?id=256.
Skype A Scientist. 2020, https://www.skypeascientist.com/. Accessed 24 Apr. 2021.