Introducing the SciXchange

2 Posted by - April 14, 2017 - Learning, science outreach

This semester the Science Outreach and Engagement office was rebranded with a new name – the SciXchange. I had the opportunity to attend the grand re-opening event to mark the new identity. There were speeches, brochures, prizes and a ribbon cutting.



SciXchange is a new national centre for science outreach and communication at Ryerson University. We promote science literacy across the nation and engage all Canadians – kids, students, teachers, scientists, researchers, members of the media and the general public – with approachable and informed connected science.

Provost and Vice President, Academic Chris Evans speaks at the SciXchange launch event

Along with students and staff, SciXchange Director Emily Agard gets ready to cut the ribbon – one end of which is held by Dean of the Faculty of Science Imogen Coe


There are many events and activities throughout the year which are sponsored and run by the SciXchange staff and student volunteers. One of these activities is the offering of  weekly lab science lab experiences for visiting high school classes. In late March I joined one of these labs as one of the student volunteers. It was a chemistry lab for a grade 12 class from a Scarborough high school.

The lab details and instructions handed out to each student


They had to do calculations, learn to use lab equipment, test water samples and answer the question “Who killed Eggy?” based on water samples found in his lungs after he was drowned. Eggy is our mascot at Ryerson. After collecting all the data each student would have to prepare a lab report to be handed in to the science teacher at their high school.

What a great opportunity for senior high school students to learn what it is like to be in a university class and to use lab equipment that might not be available in their high school. And what a great opportunity for our Ryerson science students to share what they have learned, get experience as teaching assistants and practice their skills using the equipment that they have been exposed to in their program courses. I enjoyed spending the morning with them even though I couldn’t help the students much with detailed questions. I did however do an exceptional job of handing out safety glasses and folding and packing up lab coats and other equipment at the end of the morning.

Here are some pictures from the morning spent in the lab:

Packing lab coats and supplies to transfer to the lab for set up in preparation for the arrival of our high school class

The lab all set up and ready to go

Nathan who works part time in the SciXchange giving the visiting students instructions to complete their lab work

Completing the necessary calculations

A SciXchange student volunteer helping the high school students with questions about use of the equipment

Reading instructions for the next steps

Nathan demonstrating the final piece of equipment needed to complete the lab activity and collect the need data for the final lab report