McMaster University

McMaster University

Youth University figures nobody's too young to learn

The Hamilton Spectator
August 27, 2012
Lisa Grace Marr

McMaster University wants to start getting students excited about learning when they're young.

After launching a Youth University pilot project last year, organizers will start taking registrations Monday for the next round of lectures for students aged seven to 14.

“It was a big hit,” said Dr. Sandeep Raha, a biochemist, organizer and volunteer lecturer. “The thing that was amazing was how engaged the kids are and the questions they have.”

The program offers Saturday morning lectures on a variety of topics throughout the school year, each about an hour long.

And they're free, thanks to sponsors Ron and Gina Fraser, who are interested in making education accessible to everyone, Raha said. University faculty also donate their time for the lectures

This year's lectures include topics such as If Exercise was your Medicine, Would you Take it?, The War of 1812 and The Starry Sky.

Raha said the program was the idea of Dr. Katrin Scheinemann, a pediatric oncologist, who modelled it after similar programs in Europe.

“What we want is to get kids excited about learning,” he said. “They will also have an understanding about the why of some things, which is what they want.”

This year, the university has partnered with the group that organizes the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair, to create a new category for students who would like to submit a project based on the lecture series.

“We are trying to expand and refine it,” Raha said.

The school has capacity for 300 students. Parents of children younger than 12 are also asked to accompany the student.

Tisha Dayap-Berrio said her three kids, 9, 8 and 6, were thrilled with the first lecture on the human body last year.

“The next one was on global politics, so I really wondered if they would enjoy that, but it was amazing,” she said.

This year she plans to register her kids for all eight lectures.

For more information and to register, check out the website



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