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STEM student workshops celebrate Black and Indigenous excellence May 13 and 16


The district is promoting Black and Indigenous excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with two upcoming workshops for Black and Indigenous students.

On May 13, members of the Ethọ́s Lab, a non-profit innovation academy for teens, will engage Black students in Grades 8-10 in the Uplifting Black Excellence: STEM learning summit, sharing inspirational stories of scientific accomplishments by Black leaders.

Then on May 16, members of UBC’s InSTEM (Indigenous STEM) program will host Grade 8-10 Indigenous students in a workshop focused on the joy of making and designing with the interweaving of western and Indigenous worldviews.

“STEM is of course very prominent in education and society right now, and we want to provide a wealth of different experiences for all of our students and for our Indigenous and Black students to see how different worldviews are interwoven,” said JB Mahli, Director of Instruction with the district’s Racial Equity department. “We want them to see themselves in a variety of ways as professionals as they grow up and look towards graduation. It’s one area of many that we’re looking to expose them to so they can see themselves in every profession, STEM being one of them.”

The Black excellence workshop was borne out of student interest in a place to learn about STEM in an interactive setting while providing a sense of community with students from other schools. The partnership with the Ethọ́s Lab expands upon current work by the non-profit with Kwantlen Park Secondary students.

“Some of our schools that don’t have a large Black population are able to come together in community and see themselves in a successful way that uplifts excellence,” said Mahli. “On the interactive side, they’ll get to replicate and tinker with engineering inquiry problems that were done by Black professionals in the past and follow in their same footprints to see if this is something they enjoy and find similar success.”


The Indigenous excellence workshop aims to spark curiosity and joy in learning, and to break down stereotypes, biases and assumptions about Indigenous student success. Mahli said the partnership with InSTEM also has a focus on raising Indigenous student voices and providing a focus on mentorship.

“Many of the students coming from UBC are Indigenous – First Nations, Métis or Inuit – and that’s a fantastic way for our Indigenous youth to see themselves with role models and mentors,” he said.

Dates, times and locations for the workshops are as follows:

  • Monday, May 13, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Uplifting Black Excellence (Resource Education Centre, 14033 92nd Ave.)
  • Thursday, May 16, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Uplifting Indigenous Excellence (Resource Education Centre, 14033 92nd Ave.)

For more information, questions or to register, email

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