Fuelling the Economy of the Future symposium set for Oct. 24

Public event changed to Kelowna venue, with free registration

The scale is now smaller, but the issues that organizers of an upcoming public symposium hope to address are huge.

Organizers of the engineering, science and technology symposium Fuelling the Economy of the Futurehave relocated the event from Penticton to Kelowna’s Hollywood Road Education Services Centre and shortened the symposium to one day of activities on October 24.

A skills shortage in science and engineering is looming, driven by a declining number of high school graduates entering post-secondary programs in sciences or in engineering, and a significant number of senior engineers approaching retirement. To take on the challenge, Okanagan education and industry partners are holding the symposium to heighten awareness of science and engineering education, and to build stronger connections within the K-PhD education system and industry.

“Although registration was insufficient to run the event as originally envisioned, interest remains strong,” says Dick Fletcher, chair of the symposium organizing committee. “Our modified meeting will continue the discussion of the original theme -- to create a passion in students to study engineering, science and technology; to empower teachers, professors and mentors to inspire these enthusiastic minds; and to connect educators, students, and industry.”

More than 50 people -- educators, administrators, and people involved in science and technology industries -- have already signed up to attend the symposium, which is free and offers registration online. It takes place at the Hollywood Road Education Services Centre, 1040 Hollywood Road in Kelowna, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Activities include an opening address pre-recorded for the occasion by Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate and UBC professor of physics, speaking about improving how science is taught to students.

A morning panel discussion will include presentations by Isabelle Blaine, Vice President of Research Grants and Scholarships at the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Catherine Roome, Chief Executive Officer of the B.C. Safety Authority, Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Academic, Spiro Yannacopoulos, Professor and Director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, and Jon Rever, School District 23’s Director of Technology and Education Services.

Focus groups in the afternoon will explore a variety of topics, including how to engage all students and educators – from Kindergarten through PhD – with an enthusiasm for engineering, science, and technology.

Partners in organizing the symposium are UBC Okanagan's School of Engineering, Okanagan College, Central Okanagan School District 23, the Okanagan Science and Technology Council, the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre, and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.

Complete details about the Fuelling the Economy of the Future symposium and registration information can be found online at http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/engineering/fef.

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