Meet Keeley Augusta Aird
Keeley Augusta Aird earned her high school diploma at St. Brother André Catholic High School, and is a Graduate of the Ontario Science Centre Science School Semester 73. She will pursue her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry this fall. She is the Co-Founder of STEM Kids Rock, & Seasonal Student Host at the Ontario Science Centre. She is also the Guinness World Records Title Holder for the Largest Water Rocket. ,In her spare time, she likes to play soccer, listen to audio books, watch documentaries, support her community through STEM Kids Rock, Special Olympics Ontario and 360kids, and learn about science.
When did your love of STEM begin?
In elementary school I struggled. Teachers and fellow students always put me down because I learned differently. In grade 6, I was tested and found out I had two learning disabilities, Dyslexia and ADHD. This helped me realize that I wasn't dumb, but just different. My love of STEM came from all the things I did outside of the classroom. My parents worked from home, so they would drop my brother and I off with our babysitter at the Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Zoo literally every week. This early exposure really helped me, and when I got to high school, especially grade 11, I realized that I loved Chemistry. This love just grew exponentially, especially when I did a grade 12 semester of math and science at the Ontario Science Centre.
What is the best part about working in the field of STEM?
I love being a STEM advocate and it is something I do a number of times a week through my not for profit organization STEM Kids Rock. The STEM Kids Rock Free Mobile Science Centre empowers kids of all ages and abilities to teach their peers about STEM. Since its inception, STEM Kids Rock has engaged and inspired over 150,000 youth at free community events, libraries, museums, camps, workshops, conferences, Scouts, Guides, STEAM nights, festivals and fun fairs. We bring STEM to kids who might not have the chance to visit the Ontario Science Centre, the ROM or the Toronto Zoo on a weekly basis like I did. Or their parents may not be able to afford to put them in STEM camps. I am very passionate in making sure that kids have early and consistent exposure to STEM, and the opportunity to fall in love with science, outside of the classroom.
What advice would you give young women interested in a career in STEM?
Don't let bad experiences, grades, and learning disabilities discourage you. If you love STEM and want to pursue it in college or university, work hard, try your best, find a number of mentors to support you, and you will get there!