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Illuminate X Durham Conference!

Hi everyone! My name is Sahara Silvera 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 about.


By joining this conference I was introduced to the world of STEM and leadership that I had yet to discover. I had a great experience throughout the whole conference and feel ready to try out my new leadership skills. I learned many things regarding different kinds of education and acknowledge all the opportunities I have outside of school that will lead me to my desired career path.


When listening to the keynotes speakers I enjoyed hearing how they achieved their goals. I felt that I could relate to some of the speakers such as Ilona Dougherty when she mentioned how youth get many opportunities but hardly get to make an major impact of get their voices heard. During Dr. Cecile Fradins presensation I learned a lot about how physics and biology can be linked together which I really enjoyed as I would love to pursue a career the biology field. However during Mackenzie Clarks presentation, I could relate 100%, I realized that imposter syndrome may have a small impact in my life and how I never truly feel like I deserve the opportunities that i have been given. After listening to Mackenzie I had learned ways to eliminate imposter syndrome from my life and become more confident in myself and my knowledge.


With all my new found knowledge it will benefit me greatly in the future. While I’m still in my youth I’ll reflect on Ilona’s words and try my hardest to make my voice heard, for myself but also for all the youth who don’t get heard. It’s extremely important that youth feel like their ideas our accepted in society because then we can feel confident enough to share our ideas as we get older and make the future that much better! As university is approaching and my grades must be great, I’ll take what Mackenzie said and persevere to achieve all of my goals but also to enjoy my passions and my life too!


To end it off, this has been an experience that I will never forget I truly enjoyed it and would love to do something like this again. What I’ve gained from this conference will forever help me in my life, but also gave me a new sense of what leadership is all about and how it can relate to STEM. I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with many others, as it was a great opportunity and learning experience that everyone should get to enjoy. I had such a great time expanding my knowledge from such an amazing group of people and hope to do it all again soon!