Pro­gram helps stu­dents get into fields of sci­ence, math, en­gi­neer­ing

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES - BY PETER COR­BETT Peter Cor­bett is a jour­nal­ism stu­dent at Hol­land Col­lege on a work term at the Cape Bre­ton Post.

SYD­NEY – A pro­gram orig­i­nat­ing from Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity is now help­ing African Nova Sco­tian stu­dents in Syd­ney build an in­ter­est in sci­ence and math, says Syd­ney co-or­di­na­tor Bradley Shep­pard.

The Imhotep legacy Academy is a com­mu­nity-based, af­ter school pro­gram. It’s goal is to pro­mote the ed­u­ca­tional and so­cial de­vel­op­ment of ju­nior high age African Nova Sco­tians.

Right now about 15-20 African Cana­dian youth use the ser­vice weekly at Whit­ney Pier Memo­rial school.

Youth in­volved in the pro­gram get an op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in hands-on learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties as well as get­ting help with their home­work, said Bradley Shep­pard, Syd­ney co-or­di­na­tor for the pro­gram.

“And it’s in a fun en­vi­ron­ment.”

As part of the pro­gram the chil­dren also get to travel to other parts of the prov­ince to meet with other youth, said Shep­pard. He said some ex­am­ple are a trip to the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax and a trip to Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity to meet with mem­bers of the physics depart­ment.

The main fo­cus of the pro­gram is on help­ing young African Nova Sco­tians de­velop an in­ter­est in sci­ence, math and en­gi­neer­ing, said Shep­pard.

“It’s ben­e­fi­cial to them in the short term and in the long term it in­creases the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of African Nova Sco­tians in the com­mu­nity.”

The pro­gram was launched in Syd­ney in Oct. of 2008 and has been ac­tive on the main­land in dif­fer­ent forms since 1999.

Shep­pard said it’s great for him to be a part of help­ing young peo­ple take an in­ter­est in sci­ence and math.

“The stronger the youth are in the com­mu­nity the stronger the com­mu­nity is.”

So far the feed­back from the com­mu­nity and the youth them­selves has been pos­i­tive, said Shep­pard. He said he can see the pro­gram work­ing as the youth be­come ex­cited about sci­ence, math and en­gi­neer­ing.

“Hope­fully it will lead to chil­dren choos­ing those oc­cu­pa­tions.”

The Imhotep Legacy Academy is a joint ef­fort by Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity, the Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity Black Stu­dent Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil, The African Cana­dian Ser­vices Divi­sion and the Of­fice of African Nova Sco­tian Af­fairs.

Ac­cord­ing to the Imhotep Legacy Academy web­site, the name Imhotep was taken from the an­cient Egyp­tian ar­chi­tect, physi­cian and priest who was born a com­moner and went on to pi­o­neer the build­ing of the pyra­mids as well as mak­ing some of the first ad­vances in medicine.

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