Getting Started as a CurioCity Volunteer

Volunteering opportunities

Choose the volunteering opportunity or opportunities that suit you best

Most activities are flexible enough that they can be adapted to even the busiest schedule. You can also volunteer in multiple ways. All that we ask is that you focus on one thing at a time.

Write an article

CurioCity features short articles written by volunteers that highlight the relevance of STEM to teens aged 13 to 17. The goal is to explain the science behind the headlines, urban myths, new technology, latest gadgets, and age-old teenage preoccupations. Once published, articles are freely available online. In particular, they are used by educators in classrooms across the country to engage students with the curriculum.

Our volunteer authors include both post-secondary students and professionals who want to share their passion for science with teens. Some are STEM specialists while others study or work in fields that require STEM knowledge and skills. Our team of staff editors provides individualized support for you to develop your skills as a science communicator.

Writing for CurioCity is a great way to develop a science communication portfolio while enhancing your professional online identity. Your articles will be linked to an author page that features a list of all content your have produced. This can include articles as well as videos, career profiles and research profiles.

Details on writing articles for CurioCity, from choosing a topic to publication, are provided in the CurioCity Writing Guide for Volunteer Authors.

Submit a career profile

Career profiles help teens understand how STEM skills and knowledge are important for a wide range of different careers. Whatever your career, if you use STEM skills and knowledge on the job, please consider contributing a CurioCity career profile.

An online questionnaire is available here: http://explorecuriocity.org/CareerProfile.aspx.

Submit a research profile

Research profiles helps teens better understand the work behind scientific discoveries. If you’re engaged in scientific research as a student, faculty member, or professional, please consider contributing a CurioCity research profile.

An online questionnaire is available here: http://explorecuriocity.org/ResearchProfile.aspx.

Interview a STEM professional or researcher

Traditionally, career and research profiles have been submitted using online forms. However, many people would prefer to be interviewed and have the interviewer prepare their written profile. That’s where you come in! With the help of these guidelines and an interview template, you should be able to successfully conduct an interview and prepare a profile.

In some cases, a Let’s Talk Science staff member or Outreach coordinator may ask you to interview a specific person. However, we also hope that volunteers can help us find new and interesting people to profile on CurioCity.

For more information, please review the guidelines:
Guidelines for CurioCity Volunteers Preparing Interview-Based Career and Research Profiles

Review content

Educators and students see CurioCity as a reliable and accurate source of information. In order to help ensure content remains current and accurate, we rely on a team of volunteers to review already-published articles and videos. These volunteers identify issues and propose solutions and improvements.

As a content reviewer, you can volunteer on a casual basis and work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. You can choose content to review based on your area of expertise or your interests.

Content review is a great volunteering opportunity for anyone with a background in STEM who wants to develop their skills as a fact checker and peer reviewer.

Details on reviewing content for CurioCity are provided in the following guides:
Article Review Guide
Video Review Guide

Translation and voice recordings

Over the next few months, the CurioCity program will be introducing two new volunteer opportunities:

1. Translating resources, especially articles (from English to French and from French to English)

2. Recording audio (spoken word) versions of resources, especially articles

To begin with, we’re looking for a few people who have experience (formal or informal) with either translation or voice recording to help us run some trials and develop guidelines for other volunteers.

Answer student questions and other opportunities

CurioCity regularly needs volunteer experts to answer student questions. Opportunities include answering questions submitted during online events like DNA Day and answering questions from students preparing for the Let’s Talk Science Challenge.

For more information on any of these volunteering opportunities, please contact Steven Watt at swatt@letstalkscience.ca.

Students in the lab

Register as a Let’s Talk Science volunteer

All CurioCity volunteers should be registered on the Let’s Talk Science Volunteer Portal.

If you have already registered on CurioCity, you can use the same username and password to log into the Volunteer Portal. The first time you do so, you will be asked for some additional information to complete your profile. Likewise, if you are already registered on the Volunteer Portal, you can use the same username and password to log into CurioCity.

If you haven’t already registered on either site, please go to http://volunteer.letstalkscience.ca and click on “Register for an account here” next to “New Volunteer or Educator?”

If you are also interested in volunteering with a Let's Talk Science Outreach site, select "I am a student or faculty at a university or college and I want to join an existing Let's Talk Science Outreach site…” under "What best describes you?" Then select "Yes" under "Would you also like to volunteer online on ExploreCurioCity.org...?".

Otherwise, select "I am a student or professional and I am ONLY interested in online volunteering through ExploreCurioCity.org" under "What best describes you".

Submit an online biography

One of the goals of CurioCity is for teens to see our volunteers as role models.

Your biography provides a story that secondary students can imagine themselves following. When choosing resources to use in the classroom, educators have told us they they prefer using ones with an associated biography. Please write your biography in the first person. You can talk about where you’re from, your studies, and what interests you about STEM. Try to keep it around 100 words. Here's an example:

Originally from Cumberland, ON, I did an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, specializing in Biodiversity and Conservation, at University of Ottawa. Wanting to see more of Canada, I started a Master’s degree at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL, researching insects as lawn pests. I “rolled over” my research directly into a PhD in Ecological Entomology and defended my thesis in 2012, one week before having a baby! I love science outreach so much that I started working full time for Let’s Talk Science from my home office in Edmonton, AB. I enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee and visiting my family in Ottawa, St. John’s and Florida!

You can also browse some of our other volunteers’ biographies if you’re looking for inspiration. You'll find them at the bottom of most articles published on CurioCity.

Submit your biography along with a picture by email to swatt@letstalkscience.ca.