Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre EnviroSTEM

On May 8th, 2018, one of our ambassadors, Shefaza Esmail, launched the Wood Buffalo EnviroSTEM program. She worked with volunteers at the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre to present two workshops: vermicomposting and water filtration. A total of 8 Indigenous students were in attendance with their 3 chaperones.

BrainSTEM Ambassador Shefaza and volunteer Sabrina, two graduate students at the University of Waterloo, presented two one-hour workshops at the University of Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre to a group of local Indigenous high school students. The workshops were part of the one-week Discovery program that is hosted annually by the Indigenous Student Centre for high school Indigenous students from all across Canada.


Shefaza presented a workshop on waste to resource with a specific focus on using natural methods such as worms for transforming waste. For the associated activity, the students were provided materials and instructions to make their very own worm jars complete with red wrigglers and a bit of food waste to get them started.

Sabrina presented a workshop on wastewater treatment, which is her area of research. For the associated activity the students were challenged to create their very own water filters using varying levels of funding, resources, and instructions.

The students were engaged through the interactive presentations and the learning was assessed through frequently asked questions during the presentations and during the debrief at the end of the workshop. The students and facilitators all gave positive feedback regarding the workshops saying they were happy to have learned about these topics and that they would cherish their worm jars!

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