All Stories

A Family of Future Science Leaders: Science World’s Program for Teens

Future Science Leaders (FSL) is Science World’s after-school program for teens. As we celebrate the resilience and brilliance of our facilitators and students, we also want to highlight that our work is made possible by our generous partners, including: Boeing; RBC Foundation; Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group; STEMCELL Technologies; and NumerixS Quant.

Fawzan Hussain was only a few months away from graduating high school when the pandemic hit. Both his mother and sister work in the healthcare sector. They had some tough conversations about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages and keeping older patients safe.  

“I really wanted to help,” Fawzan says. “So, I got to work.”  

Using skills he’d started cultivating during his 3 years in Future Science LeadersFawzan began designing and printing face shields, ear savers, and door openers. Then, with the science communication skills he also learned in Science World's unique after-school program for teenshe put the word out on social media. 

Within 3 months, he’d provided over 1,500 PPE devices to more than 30 organizations in his community.  

“At first, it seemed like there’d be no end to COVID-19,” he says. “Each day felt so long, and the future seemed unknown. But helping people gave me a lot of hope, and a sense that the pandemic will come to peaceful end.” 

All in the Family 

When Fawzan was a young boy, he dreamt of joining Future Science Leaders. He’d tag along with his father from Surrey to Vancouver to pick up his sister, Hebah, who attended the program from 2014-2016.  

“She was always really excited,” he recalls of their car ride home. “She spoke about FSL with such energy and passion.” 

For Hebah, that passion continued after she completed the program. When Science World expanded the program to Abbotsford and Surrey, she joined the staff as Program Coordinator.  

FSL’s mandate is so important for students,” she explains. “How it encourages collaborative learning. How it teaches you to think outside the box, to go outside your comfort zone, to make mistakes. Making mistakes is how you learn!”  

Hebah and Fawzan both credit their parents with igniting their wonder for science at a young age. Their mother, an accountant, and father, a software engineer, brought them to Science World as kids at least once a month, often more.  

“Our dad is a very curious person,” Hebah says. “A life-long learner. His mantra is, ‘Just keep learning.’”  

Leaders of a New Future 

As Fawzan completes his first year of Engineering at the University of Victoria, he’s grateful for the skills he learned at FSL, particularly in how to find resources and writing a scientific paper.  

He envisions a career in software engineering. He wants to develop a program that uses bioinformatics, data science and machine learning to create better applications and engineering techniques for the health sector.  

He thinks it’s a particularly auspicious time for students to enter FSL: “So many people have found new passions during the pandemic. Maybe you’ll find yours in FSL.” 

When Hebah is not supporting her FSL students, she’s preparing for a graduate degree in public health and working as a researcher at BC Children’s Hospital. In the Pediatric Emergency Department, she focuses on how children might transmit COVID-19 to vulnerable communities.  

As an FSL Program Coordinator, she believes it has even more to offer students now, in this new learning environment. “On top of all the advanced skills and techniques you learn, you’ll find a refuge of like-minded people where you can explore the scientific challenges and triumphs of the day.” 

She encourages students to check out the application form and says, “You don’t need straight A’s for FSL. All you need is a passion for science.” 

Apply for Future Science Leaders. 

Registration for our 2021-2022 program--our 11th year!--is open now. Join a community of young science enthusiasts and get advanced skills and techniques you’ll use in university and beyond.