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Hundreds Enjoy Surrey Libraries EXPO

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Surrey, BC – Hundreds of families joined Surrey Libraries at the inaugural Surrey Libraries EXPO on Saturday January 25th at the Guildford Town Centre to celebrate Family Literacy Day. The EXPO showcased some of the wonderful and varied programs and services offered at Surrey Libraries.

Participants got an opportunity to try their hand at stop motion animation, Dot and Dash Robotics, and have their photo turned into a vintage photo by using green screen technology. There was a mini escape room, and even a pop-up library where people could register for free library cards and borrow books, DVDs, and books on CD.

“This year’s theme for Family Literacy week is ‘Take 20!’ and encourages families to take 20 minutes and make learning together part of every day,” said Mayor Doug McCallum who was there to help kick off the EXPO. “We know literacy is an essential skill that directly impacts people’s quality of life and their ability to earn a good living. That’s why it’s so important to promote literacy and this is where Surrey Libraries plays an essential role in our community.”

Family Literacy Day is a national initiative involving annual literacy-related events and activities held at the end of January to raise awareness of the importance of literacy.

“We’re delighted that so many people came out to explore Surrey Libraries and our diverse programming,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian. “The 21st century library offers so much more than books, and Surrey Libraries works to connect people, spark their curiosity and inspire learning.”

Surrey Libraries EXPO is one of many programs and events hosted by Surrey Libraries in support of literacy. More information on Surrey Libraries’ programs and events can be found at: https://surreylibraries.ca/events.

Children enjoying a puppet storytime at the EXPO.

Learning how snail mail worked before electronics.

A family having fun with the green screen technology.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

Education

New Hands-On Power Girls Program Empowers Racialized Girls To Embrace STEM

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The joint program from DIVERSE CITY and SFU will build connection and space for migrant girls aged 9–12 in the STEM sector.

Surrey, BC, October 19, 2020 – In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, jobs within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) make up a large sector of the job market. These jobs, although incredibly important and in demand, are also overwhelmingly gendered.

While the majority of university graduates are female, according to Statistics Canada, only 39 per cent hold a degree in STEM. Even within this limited group, only three out of 10 women actually work in the STEM sector post-graduation. This number drops even lower when it comes to racialized women.

The lack of women in STEM, also termed “the leaky STEM pipeline,” has been traced back to childhood. Studies have shown that girls, for various, sometimes unseen reasons, are more likely to turn away from STEM than their male classmates. Research conducted by the Girl Guides of Canada shows that girls stop pursuing STEM, for various reasons such as lack of representation and deeply ingrained social norms, as early as Grade 8.

Through the collaboration of DIVERSEcity and the Science ALIVE program at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Applied Science, with funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Power Girls program has been created to provide a dedicated space to create a new approach to STEM programming.

Aimed at migrant girls aged 9–12 years old, this program hopes that through hands-on and specific guidance, these girls will be able to pursue a path to STEM while breaking down social norms and stereotype barriers that may hinder their path.

“We are very excited to collaborate with DIVERSEcity on this meaningful project to empower girls in science and engineering,” says Jinny Sim, Manager, Outreach and Diversity at SFU. “There is still a lack of women in STEM, especially from the BIPOC groups.

We can’t wait to meet the girls and show how fun science and engineering can be and how they are used in our everyday lives for social good.” Classes will begin on October 31 and, although they will be online for now, students can expect experiential learning kits delivered to their homes.

Sim further explains, “This year, the girls will go through a project-based engineering curriculum to explore the various field of engineering, learn about the great achievements from female engineers and build their own project that demonstrates their learning. The girls will leave the program with confidence, a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue studying STEM!”

“We know that a lot of these young girls just need the space and proper supports in place and they will thrive. It isn’t easy to follow a path when the stereotypical and idealized mathematician or scientist doesn’t look like you,” explains Jessica Forster Broomfield, Manager, Children’s Programs at DIVERSEcity. “We want this program to act as a motivator for racialized girls to make their space and to change the STEM sector for generations to come.”

“Hopefully by addressing the issue head-on, we will be helping create a new type of future where anyone who is passionate enough can pursue the career of their choice without having to second-guess if they fit a certain mold or not,” added Forster Broomfield.

Free to students, the Power Girls program is funded through the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in partnership with the captain of the Canadian national soccer team, Christine Sinclair.

About DIVERSE CITY Community Resources Society

At DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, we empower newcomers and other diverse communities to build the life they want in Canada. Our free, multilingual programs and services in language, settlement, employment and counselling provide them with a foundation of information, skills and connections to achieve their goals.

Our social enterprises — Interpretation and Translation Services, Skills Training Centre and Language Testing Centre — support this work, too. As a registered charity in Surrey and the Lower Mainland with a 40+ year history, we champion diversity and inclusion for all, and our message is clear — everyone belongs here.

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Education

Surrey Libraries Announces Winners of 2020 Young Adult Writing Contest

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Surrey, BC — Surrey Libraries is pleased to announce and congratulate the winners of the 2020 Surrey Libraries Young Adult Writing Contest. The winners were acknowledged at a Virtual Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 14.

The Young Adult Writing Contest is an annual writing competition for youth aged 12-18. Since launching the contest in 1987, Surrey Libraries has received over 6,500 entries from aspiring young writers across Surrey. The contest is free to enter and young writers submit entries to one of the four contest categories: short stories, poems, comics, and a random category for other types of writing such as essays, screenplays, or song lyrics.

Rena Su, a multi-year entrant and winner in the contest, credits the contest with giving her not only more confidence in her writing, but also an opening to other opportunities, saying at the Gala:

“With the seemingly small confidence booster that Surrey Libraries gave me, I was able to gain enough momentum to begin sharing my work. In between flurries of rejections and learning and improvement, I was able to land some of my first literary magazine publications and I also connected with people online and gained an editor position at a youth lit magazine.”

“Every year our judges are truly impressed by the level of creativity and diversity in the entries,” explains Kelly Lau, Youth Services Librarian and contest coordinator. “It’s always a pleasant challenge to select the winning entries.”

This popular program is organized by the dynamic youth library staff at Surrey Libraries and is made possible through the generous support of champion sponsors Khalsa Credit Union and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

An anthology of the winners’ work will be available online, to check out from Surrey Libraries branches, or purchased for $8.00 at the end of November.

YOUNG ADULT WRITING CONTEST WINNERS 2020:

Junior Short Story

1st Place – “The Worker,” Gurleena Sukhija
2nd Place – “Number 98,” Sofia Lemay
3rd Place – “Clueless,” Tiffany Montefrio
Honourable Mention – “Watercolors,” Victoria Wang
Honourable Mention – “The Girl Who Visits Dreams,” Emma Hong

Senior Short Story

1st Place – “Saudade,” Akash Ranu
2nd Place – “An Attempt at Building a Coffin for Ma,” Yue Chen
3rd Place – “Separate Ways,” Carmen Campbell
Honourable Mention – “The Everything Tree,” Annie Huang
Honourable Mention – “Citylights,” Rena Su

Junior Poetry

1st Place – “Grow Up,” Gurleena Sukhjia
2nd Place – “Assimilation,” Alyana Amadeo
3rd Place – “Hirosaki Castle,” Richard Su
Honourable Mention – “Rabbit Hole,” Khushi Cheema
Honourable Mention – “SKIN,” Leigh Kathryn Baculi

Senior Poetry

1st Place – “Plum Tea,” Maggie Lu
2nd Place – “Ode to the Window,” Ava Popowitz
3rd Place – “Overthinker,” Yana Fershstein
Honourable Mention – “Quick Fixes,” Audrey Kemp
Honourable Mention – “Astronomical Alliteration,” Muskan Poddar

Random

1st Place –“Ethical Consumerism in a Capitalist State” (Essay), Muskan Guglani
2nd Place –“recounting that summer in which I woke, ate, slept, and repeated the motions mentioned above” (Creative Non-Fiction), Yue Chen
3rd Place –“Aletheia” (Essay), Dean Oh
Honourable Mention – “Crown in the Grave” (Song Lyrics), Gurshaan Chadha

Comics

1st Place – “Stairs of Life, Elevator to Heaven,” Yue Chen
2nd Place – “A Different Kind of Mind,” Stin Dang
3rd Place – “Quiescent,” Andrew Jung
Honourable Mention – “Stick Guy,” Seth Corbett

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Education

New Viking DNA Research Yields Unexpected Information About Who They Were

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In the popular imagination, Vikings were fearsome blonde-haired warriors from Scandinavia who used longboats to carry out raids across Europe in a brief but bloody reign of terror. But the reality is more complex, says SFU Archaeology Prof. Mark Collard.

Collard is a member of an international team of researchers that has just published the results of the world’s largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons, in this week’s edition of Nature.

Led by Prof. Eske Willerslev of the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen, the research team extracted and analysed\ DNA from the remains of 442 men, women and children.

The remains were recovered from archaeological sites in Scandinavia, the U.K., Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia, and mostly date to the Viking Age (ca. 750-1050 AD).

The team’s analyses yielded a number of findings. One of the most noteworthy is that contrary to what has often been assumed, Viking identity was not limited to people of Scandinavian ancestry—the team discovered that two skeletons from a Viking burial site in the Orkney Islands were of Scottish ancestry.

They also found evidence that there was significant gene flow into Scandinavia from the British Isles, Southern Europe, and Asia before and during the Viking Age, which further undermines the image of the Vikings as ‘pure’ Scandinavians. Another discovery that runs counter to the standard image of the Vikings is that many had brown hair, not blonde hair.

The analyses’ results also shed light on the Vikings’ activities. For example, consistent with patterns documented by historians and archaeologists, the team found that Vikings who travelled to England generally had Danish ancestry, while the majority of Vikings who travelled to Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland had Norwegian ancestry. In contrast, Vikings who headed east were mostly from Sweden.

Interestingly, says Collard, data revealed a number of close kin among the 442 individuals. Four members of a Viking raiding party interred in a boat burial in Estonia were found to be brothers, while two individuals buried 300 to 400 kilometers apart in Sweden were found to be cousins. Perhaps even more strikingly, the team identified a pair of second-degree male relatives (i.e. half-brothers, nephew-uncle, or grandson-grandfather) from two sites, one in Denmark and one in England.

“We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books – but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn’t that kind of world. This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was,” says Willerslev. “No one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age.”

Of all the team’s discoveries, Collard is most intrigued by the identification of close kin. “While the ‘big picture’ discoveries are great, I was blown away by the fact that the analyses revealed the presence of four brothers in the Estonian boat burial, and a possible nephew and uncle on either side of the North Sea.” “These findings have important implications for social life in the Viking world, but we would’ve remained ignorant of them without ancient DNA. They really underscore the power of the approach for understanding history.”

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Enver Creek Secondary student awarded largest Canadian STEM scholarship

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For this year, number of scholarships doubles to 100

Tejash Poddar has been selected to receive a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study Engineering at Simon Fraser University.

A graduate of Enver Creek Secondary in Surrey, Tejash will be entering the Engineering Science this Fall. He was selected by Ms A. van Dyk for his outstanding academic excellence and leadership achievements.

Given the unparalleled current disruption, there is a much greater need for students to get financial support in order to pursue their university education. This year, The Schulich Foundation has decided to award an additional 50 scholarships, for a total of 100.

“Schulich Leader Scholarships are the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada and the world. With 100 outstanding students selected in Canada this year, it is all but guaranteed that this group will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer. These future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale.

With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators,” says Mr. Schulich.

(When asked):
How did it feel to receive the notice of offer for the scholarship? How will this scholarship help you reach your goals?

(Tejash) :
“It was surreal first hearing the words over the phone – I could barely finish my sentences as I spoke. Looking back at it, everything really is a blur, but I am glad I was able to share the experience with my family around me.”

“I believe that sharing innovation is the key to driving innovation, and I plan to collaborate and grow with the people around me. I am incredibly grateful to be part of the Schulich Leader network, and I look forward to meeting new people and building relations in order to further pursue opportunities in the STEM field.”

About Schulich Leader Scholarships Canada

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.

Through The Schulich Foundation, these prestigious entrance scholarships are awarded to 100 high school graduates this year, enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada.

Every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee per academic year based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.

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Education

Surrey Libraries Support Learners Obtain Google IT Support Certificate

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Graduates from the first cohort of the Google IT Support Certificate program along with the Honourable Harry Bains, MLA, Jinny Simms, MLA, and Councillor Mandeep Nagra, just after receiving their certificates on January 24.

Surrey, BC – BC’s tech industry is booming and there aren’t enough people with the skills required to fill the jobs that are available. This is what Google Canada realized and to help remedy the situation, last year they teamed up with Surrey Libraries and three other libraries across Canada to provide scholarships to hundreds of individuals to get trained in the Google IT Support Certificate Program (GISC Program).

Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate is aimed to prepare participants to become ready for an entry-level job in IT support in about eight months, with no experience required. This certificate is part of Grow with Google, an initiative focused on helping everyone across Canada access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers and business.

In addition to identifying students eligible to receive the Google scholarships, Surrey Libraries provided the students with online instruction and in-person learning facilitation by a dedicated Google IT Support Certificate Site Lead Librarian. Scholarships and funding for the Site Lead Librarian were supported through a generous Google.org grant.

The first cohort of 50 learners started the program in April 2019 and so far, 37 students from that group have finished the GISC Program and some have already landed jobs in the tech industry. Learners were provided wraparound supports including learning circles, opportunity to tour a local tech company, as well as presentations and workshops from the City of Surrey’s IT Department, WorkBC, and TLC Solutions.

“This program was very well run and helpful in getting my foot in the door to IT. I received amazing support from Surrey Libraries, and I enjoyed a lot of aspects of how this course was set up and how it was executed.” Said graduating student, Monica Mah “Having other learners to turn to weekly was very helpful in providing motivation, knowledge, and amusement. I feel more confident to be able to look for a job in the IT field.”

“We’re so pleased Surrey Libraries was chosen by Google to help support this program,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian at Surrey Libraries. “Surrey is the fastest growing city in British Columbia, with a diverse and talented population. The program also aligns well with one of the library’s objectives to support digital skills development in preparation for a stronger workforce.”

A second set of learners are about to embark on their learning journey in March. People interested in the GISC Program are invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, January 29 at Surrey Libraries – City Centre Branch, Room 402 at 6:30 pm. Call 604-598-7426 to register.

About Surrey Libraries

Surrey Libraries is a valued community institution and one of the most-used community services in Surrey. The library welcomes around 2.7 million visits to our nine branches each year, and over two million visits to our online resources. Surrey Libraries runs hundreds of programs and services for children, youth, and adults to support their diverse learning needs. Serving the community since 1983, Surrey Libraries strives to connect people, spark curiosity, and inspire learning. Find out more about Surrey Libraries and our diverse programming at surreylibraries.ca.

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