Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, visits Belmont High School in Langford to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM. (Lindsey Horsting/News Gazette staff)

Minister of Science visits Belmont high school

Kirsty Duncan encouraged kids to pursue careers in STEM

Kirsty Duncan , Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, spoke with Belmont Secondary students about the importance of science, and women entering the field.

Roughly 100 students in the science program gathered in the library for Duncan’s speech followed by a question and answer period. Belmont principal Jim Lamond addressed the crowd and two students shared their passion for science and welcomed Duncan to the stage.

Grade 12 student Tyler Hardy and Grade 10 student Navya Pottumutu praised Belmont for giving them opportunities in science that sparked their interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers after high school.

Hardy will be studying mechanical engineering at University of Victoria in the fall, and hopes to complete his masters in aerospace engineering. He wants to work in wildfire aviation to create new systems and aircrafts that save lives and protect the environment.

Pottumutu took an interest in space travel and flying after learning about physics in school. She entered air cadets when she was 12 and recently received a scholarship to glider pilot school.

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Duncan shared her journey through school and how she ended up in the science field.

She’s always loved the arts and wanted to be an artist and a dance teacher, but was intrigued by science.

As a scientist, she was an associate professor of health studies at the University of Toronto and was the former research director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto.

She told students about her work on climate change, and leading an expedition to Norway in an effort to try to develop antibodies against the Spanish flu that killed millions of people in the early 20th century.

Duncan has been in Parliament for nine years and loves to serve the community and encourage youth to get involved in science.

“There’s nothing more important than our children and our youth,” she said.

She hopes everybody would consider a career in STEM.

On behalf of the school, the Belmont Bytes Robotics team gave Duncan a token of appreciation.

They wove in the STEM theme, using a robot they made for the FIRST Robotics Competition, to drive down the rows of chairs and hand Duncan a Belmont coffee mug and sweatshirt.

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