STEAM Horizon Awards: Catching up with Nicholas Flowers
The Ingenium-NSERC STEAM Horizon Award recognizes innovative Canadian youth who promote positive changes throughout their community using science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).
Every year, applicants are encouraged to approach their passion for technology and science from any angle, whether from an art and design perspective, research project, public outreach, or development of a new idea or product.
Through a series of short profiles, the Ingenium Channel is catching up with some of the 2020 winners. They shared what they’ve been up to since their big wins, in the hopes of inspiring a new set of remarkable Canadian soon-to-be graduates to apply. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Ingenium-NSERC STEAM Horizon Awards is January 15, 2021.
Ingenium Channel (IC): Give us an update! What have you been working on since you won? Any school or personal projects (or future projects) in the works?
Nicholas Flowers (NF): Since I received one of the 2020 STEAM Horizon Awards, I’ve continued to promote Inuit culture and science-based initiatives in my home community of Hopedale, Nunatsiavut. Shortly after attending the awards ceremony, I graduated from high school and enjoyed a relaxing summer camping with my family. At the end of July, I helped to present about the importance of spending time in nature, in partnership with the Students on Ice Foundation and Parks Canada. This virtual event introduced me to the amazing opportunities of working in the Torngat Mountains National Park.
This past September, I also presented with the Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society about the latest Community Collections Archaeological Research Project. Since then, I have been studying Environmental Science at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University through remote education at home in Hopedale. In November, I presented with my family during the virtual Students on Ice Alumni Expedition about the importance of connecting cultural stewardship with ocean health and sustainability.
IC: Why did you decide to apply? What do you think set you apart in your application?
NF: I decided to apply for the STEAM Horizon Award because of the support I received from Janet Wiseman, the Director of Human Resources and Director of Schools for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. I was also supported by my high school math and science teacher, Jennifer Winters, and Nicole Blanchard, the Program Specialist for Indigenous Education at my school. The application process allowed me to reflect upon the opportunities and events that I took part in throughout high school. I became inspired to help others achieve their goals, and to promote the various fields of STEAM through an Indigenous perspective. I wanted to become a role model for youth in my community by starting a primary/elementary science club, along with a weekly gathering for my peers to spend time with each other and learn how to make traditional crafts. My involvement in both community and school-based events — along with spending time with elders in the community — gave me confidence to promote wellbeing and a sense of connection.
Nicholas Flowers near the Nunatsiavut Government Assembly building in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut.
I believe that ambassadorship can come in many forms, especially through spending time with elders and giving respect to others.
IC: Any advice for those considering applying, but may be feeling a little intimidated by the process?
NF: It’s important that applicants recognize any contributions or positive impacts that they have made within their school and community. It is also very important to have a support group to provide guidance in reflecting on previous achievements. Whether it is a teacher, family member, or friend, it is important to reach out for help in writing the essay responses that are required for the application. Having this opportunity to reflect and dream of future aspirations within the STEAM field with another person can be encouraging. The STEAM Horizon Award sponsors are also very supportive when completing the application process.
IC: As a past winner, would you consider yourself a STEAM ambassador? What makes someone a great STEAM leader?
NF: Upon receiving the STEAM Horizon Award, I felt a great sense of honour and inspiration to continue being an ambassador towards youth in my home community and province. I realized and understood the importance of further supporting the many fields of STEAM through media, presentations, and community events. I became encouraged to learn and revitalize important aspects of traditional Inuit culture such as speaking the Inuktitut language, sewing crafts and clothing, and advocating Indigenous knowledge into the education programs within the province. I believe that ambassadorship can come in many forms, especially through spending time with elders and giving respect to others. Promoting the many STEAM fields in a positive and inclusive manner to youth not only builds teamwork and a sense of community, but it also opens many opportunities for future leaders in STEAM. I hope to continue to inspire and help others in sharing the importance of connecting Indigenous lifestyle and traditional knowledge with STEAM.