Marie-Claude Raymond, a chemist at the Montreal refinery, is a pro when it comes to explaining chemistry to children. She regularly gives presentations to the children in her youngest daughter’s day care centre, as well as scientific demonstrations for her two daughters and children from the neighbourhood.
Through a partnership with the Suncor Energy Foundation and Youth Fusion, employees have the opportunity to volunteer for the Youth Fusion mentoring program. Marie-Claude was excited to engage in her community through this opportunity and she happily volunteers her time at two primary schools in East Montreal. For Marie-Claude, it has always been paramount that children get exposed to science at an early age, while also having fun with it.
"From an early age, I have taken the time to encourage my own daughters to develop a curiosity for sciences,” says Marie-Claude. “Young children are very curious and they have many questions on all subjects. For example, they will ask me why the rain turns into snow. As a mentor, we have to ensure we answer all of their questions and fuel the taste for science with a variety of educational activities."
Through Youth Fusion’s schools mentoring program, Marie-Claude teaches six groups of students on a monthly basis over a period of six months. This means that her experiments need to not only catch and hold the attention of young children – which is no easy task – but also be educational and successful. To ensure her experiments are suitable, she reviews each new one at home with her children.
"There are no better judges than my daughters. If an experiment doesn’t work with them, I know it won’t do much better with the children in class," she says. "The children are very bright and I am amazed how their level of scientific knowledge increases at each session. It was a very rewarding experience for me – and it will not be the last!"