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A Brief Overview of the Illuminate x Durham Conference

Hi everyone! My name is Ahmed Rizwan and I am a Grade 10 student at Pickering High School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Durham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned from the Diving into the "Future of Women in Leadership & STEM" conference.


The conference began with an informative keynote by Ilona Dougherty, and she provided me the opportunity to realize that youth and younger individuals have unparalleled capabilities, and they excel in certain aspects due to their developing brains. She explained that although the brain completes its development process at the age of 25, some parts of the brain fulfill their development requirements at younger ages, and by the age of 25, those areas have declining in function. As a result, people between the ages of 15-25 have a better ability to be creative than individuals that are older. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the members of the youth demographic to develop intergenerational relationships and participate in group discussions, in professional and personal environments, since their feedback can substantially improve the outcome of a decision. In addition, it will also allow them to improve their communicational skills at a young age and receive advanced opportunities in the future. I also discovered that the extracurriculars that I am involved in, do not necessarily have to revolve around the career path that I am interested in pursuing, however, they have to offer opportunities or knowledge that allows me to improve as a person, and develop leadership, communication and team-working skills.


To conclude, I will utilize this information in the future and be more engaged in all the activities that I participate in, I will voice my opinions during any professional or personal discussions and I will ensure that I discover a method to contribute in all the activities that I engage in!