I want young people to feel the excitement of STEM and build a longing in them to continue learning.

Valerie Archibald is the director of youth outreach for the Faculty of Arts & Science. She has a BSc in forestry and environmental management and a masters in youth and family studies. She enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.

What is your area of study?
BScF, MDiv (Youth & Family)

What excites you about science?
The innovation, discovery and excitement associated with learning.

What sparked your interest in science?
Science just made sense to me! I was able to take a concept, learn it and apply it and receive a tangible outcome. I could see the work I was doing every step of the process. I have always been one to ask questions and wonder why and science allowed me to pursue those questions and find answers.

Tell us about the first time you felt really excited about what you were learning in science.
I have always gravitated towards science starting from a very young age, whether doing an autopsy on my goldfish to figure out why it died, combing the tide pools for sea creatures, or learning why the leaves change colours. Science has been an ongoing learning journey for me and I am not sure I can pinpoint the exact moment I was excited about it - it is just a part of who I am. I am an experiential learner and science fit my learning style so nicely!

What do you hope to accomplish through your scientific research and/or work?
I hope to share my passion for learning and exploring onto the young people who participate in the Destination Exploration program. I want to show that science (& STEM) is about learning, trying new things and trying again if it didn't work the first time. I want to provide a safe space for exploration, innovation and discovery. I want young people to feel the excitement of STEM and build a longing in them to continue learning.

What words of inspiration would you like to share with the next generation of women & girls in science?
Science (& STEM) provides endless opportunities. Your voice, as a female, is strong, important, valued and is greatly needed at the table. Continue to work hard to show the world that girls can do anything they desire.