David Suzuki’s daughter to be key speaker for Girls’ STEM conference

Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki and former visiting scientist with Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada, will be the keynote speaker at the second Girls’ STEM Leadership Conference at St. Margaret’s School.

The STEM event, short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, will run Thursday and Friday and welcome 400 girls in Grades 7 to 12, largely from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

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School spokeswoman Kelley O’Grady said it’s exciting to have Cullis-Suzuki taking part.

St. Margaret’s hosted its first STEM Leadership Conference in 2017, and is classified as a STEM school.

“We’re just trying to promote that STEM theme, and this year’s theme is sustaining our future, so it’s all about the environment.”

O’Grady said that ties in with Cullis-Suzuki’s area of expertise: oceans and fish.

Cullis-Suzuki’s involvement will be one of the highlights of the two-day, event, O’Grady said.

Students will have a wide range of choices to explore, she said — from gardening to beekeeping, urban farming, climate change, renewable-energy sources and a vegan diet.

Green MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen will speak on the topic “change and government.”

The idea is to host the conference every two years, O’Grady said.

She said the fact that the conference is happening so close to Earth Day is a nice coincidence. “It wasn’t totally done on purpose — it’s just the days that worked out.”

Local schools taking part include Esquimalt, Lambrick Park, Reynolds and Stelly’s secondaries, St. Michaels University School (middle and senior) and Ecole Victor-Brodeur.

One of the visiting school groups will be from St. George’s of Montreal, brought to Victoria by Sharon Klein, who is relocating to St. Margaret’s this summer to become the new head of school. Klein will take over from interim head of school Simon Bruce-Lockhart.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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