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Waterloo summer camp wins national award for engineering and science outreach

WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The University of Waterloo's Engineering Science Quest (ESQ) outreach program has been awarded the 2013 Actua & GE Canada Award for Leadership and Innovation in science and technology education.

The award recognizes ESQ's dedication to high impact quality programs, ongoing leadership and supportive engagement of Canada's most underserved youth.

"We are pleased to be able to recognize Engineering Science Quest's success during Actua's 20th year and we look forward to recognizing the fantastic experience Engineering Science Quest provides for both campers and staff," said Jennifer Flanagan, CEO of Actua.

Offered by Waterloo's Faculties of Science and Engineering, ESQ is one of Canada's largest science and engineering summer camps for students between grades 1 to 9.

"It's an honour to receive this award and a joy to be part of a program that encourages future generations to envision, create and fulfil career aspirations in science and engineering," said Professor Mary Wells, Associate Dean of Outreach for the Faculty of Engineering. "ESQ's approach is simple: put science and technology in the hands of students. This ignites their natural curiosity to explore the science behind their world and cultivates a commitment to lifelong learning, discovery and entrepreneurship."

ESQ attracted more than 2,000 students in 2013. Hands-on activities focus on innovation and explore topics such as physics, chemistry, biology and health science as well as civil, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.

In past camps, students have engineered their own jitterbugs, performed medical lab analyses, synthesized their favourite smells, built tornado tubes and programmed Lego robots.

Satellite programs located throughout Southwestern Ontario mean students from rural locations such as Chatham, Stratford, Orangeville and Owen Sound, as well as aboriginal communities such as Six Nations, Walpole Island and Aamjiwnaang may also attend ESQ's summer camps.

Year-round programming reaches even more students by providing exciting, hands-on science in regional Ontario classrooms. In 2013, ESQ offered 335 workshops reaching nearly 7,500 students in more than 50 schools. To date, ESQ has reached more than 100,000 students in 3,500 classrooms.

ESQ offers a bursary to assist children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to attend camp. An inclusion program has allowed more than 300 children with physical and behavioural challenges to participate in ESQ's camps too.

"ESQ draws upon Waterloo's strengths in Science and Engineering to give all students the opportunity to explore, discover and challenge themselves through hands-on activities of real-world scientific issues," said Professor Terry McMahon, dean of Science. "ESQ is a prime example of Waterloo's dedication to innovation and developing the next generation of scientists, engineers and technologists."

More information about Engineering Science Quest and details on how to participate are available online.

About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

SOURCE University of Waterloo

Image with caption: "A Grade 1 to 2 camper enjoys ESQ in July 2013. (CNW Group/University of Waterloo)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140121_C4137_PHOTO_EN_35729.jpg

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