Science 101: Bringing Science to Vancouver’s Inner City

Help expand access to science education in Vancouver’s inner city and downtown Eastside.

Too often, the less fortunate in Vancouver’s inner city and Downtown Eastside are forgotten or marginalized. The opportunities afforded to many are not always universally available to all members of our society, and access to education is no exception.

Science 101 is a barrier-free, non-credit course offered through UBC Science. The course provides students of all ages with an introduction to a wide variety of scientific fields, including physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry and the earth and ocean sciences. Classes are taught by professors and graduate students volunteering their time and resources.

The program targets students who have historically had difficulty accessing a university education but who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary education in science. Science 101 is provided to these students at no charge, and no foundation in science is required.

Each year, approximately 25 students participate in Science 101, which runs from May through August. This 12-week session consists of two classes per week at UBC’s Point Grey campus, and one tutorial per week at the UBC Learning Exchange in downtown Vancouver.

Field trips are an increasingly important component to the program, providing greater exposure to the community, particularly those community activities not typically accessible by these students. Partnerships have been forged with Grouse Mountain, the Vancouver Aquarium, CNIMAX Theatre, Vancouver Trolley Company and the McMillan Space Centre.

Science 101 students come from all age groups and all backgrounds. Some students have recovered from addiction or other difficulties and are trying to gain the skills to move forward in their lives. Others are immigrants from around the world, including China, Vietnam or Latin America seeking to improve their skill set.