Christine Wilson: The Science of Teaching & the Art of Service
(contributed by Prutha Patel)
In expression of gratitude to Christine Wilson and her notable long-term dedication to advancing student interest and development in the sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), through her 30+ years of involvement in the Rideau St. Lawrence Science Fair, we are pleased to announce her as recipient of the esteemed 2021 Youth Science Canada Distinguished Service Award. Her recipiency comes as no surprise to those who know her; she is an unwavering force in her enthusiasm, passion, and energy.
Christine served previously as a secondary school science teacher, where she began her journey with our Regional Fair, in promoting and supporting curious bright-minded young scientists in their projects. As a standing committee member, she was also pivotal in year-long meetings pertaining to outreach, preparation, organisation, and the fruitful execution of our regional science fair. On the days leading up to the fair, she provided active assistance to incoming participants in setting up their project boards at the 1000 Islands Mall and Aquatarium. Her cheerful demeanour was thereby the first association that many participants made with the face of our organisation. On the day of science fairs, she was bubbly and friendly in conversation to participants brimming with nerves and excitement, while handing out science fair memorabilia in the form of posters, pens, (crowd-favourite) stress balls, and neat take-home activities.
For those who advanced to science fair nationals, she was a consistent point of contact for inquiries about poster printing and logistics. At consequent preparatory meetings, she was an active audience member for finalists, providing key insight into project presentation tips, poster feedback, and was often seen taking a (kind and honest) red-pen to scientific summaries. Christine was diligent in her administrative duties, ensuring that all registration and accommodations were fulfilled in a timely manner. Her consistent intrinsic belief in the students she encountered was captivating, and thus she instilled further confidence in both finalists and their support systems, be this teachers, scientific advisors, or parents, for the exciting and unique opportunities awaiting at Canada-Wide. In addition, her accompanying home-baked goods were a delightful and thoughtful addition to these meetings, and warmly appreciated by all. On three separate occasions, she served as the adult delegate for these finalists, accompanying and spearheading them at the national science fairs. It is to be said that this delegation is one requiring notable effort and vigour, and that Christine superseded all hiccups, with her excellence. She often built meaningful relationships as a mentor with returning students, and to this day keeps in touch with many of her mentees.
Her tenure with the board was one of significance. Christine was instrumental to the committee, and acted in many roles; her adaptability and unwavering composure made her suitable beyond words for fulfilling roles including but not limited to: promoting science fair to local schools in assemblies as a school liaison officer, commencing and maintaining social media presence, maintaining close and frequent communications with interested students, and providing formal presentations both within the schools for participant acquisition and at community events for funding acquisition.
What is most commendable, however, is her upbeat optimistic attitude and direct open approach to the relationships she built and fostered along the way: be it with students, parents, community members, school representatives, or committee members. Christine has undoubtedly balanced the art of service. Her support of the committee and committee members was evident and her quiet leadership provided continuous encouragement to others. Therefore it comes as no surprise that she is the well-deserved recipient of the 2021 Youth Science Canada Distinguished Service Award. The committee is grateful and appreciative of her dedication to science, students, and service throughout the previous decades.