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Illuminate x Durham ~ A Never Forgetting Experience!

Hi everyone! My name is Sanyah and I am a Grade 10 student at Agincourt Collegiate Institute. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Durham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about female leaders in the world of STEM and business.

To start off, Ilona Daugherty, our first keynote speaker talked a lot about how young people should start questioning authority more because “Young people have unique abilities that they only possess when they’re young”. These unique abilities include creativity, experimenters, risk-takers. This one quote of hers really stood out to me because as a young person myself, it gives me more confidence in understanding my value and worth, especially in front of grown-up people. She says, “Embrace your role, making adults uncomfortable sometimes is your role”. Additionally, Ilona had also mentioned how you should volunteer more for just the learning experience. That when you volunteer, you can notice the impact you’re making because that is so important. In adulthood you're stuck learning, therefore you should try to make the most of it while you can during your youth she says, “Stop looking at experiences in your life as learning experiences, look at them as opportunities to contribute”. Furthermore, she also mentions how the common stereotype of young people being lazy can play a big part in our performance. If a stereotype is so often heard, we might start believing it ourselves, and once we believe it we might start acting upon it. Thus, it is important to know to realize that these stereotypes are nothing but false rumors. To finish off, Ilona's speech was empowering and beneficial to me in so many ways, she taught me to know my worth as a young person and realize that we have more purpose in the world, she was inspiring to me and I'm sure lot's of others.

Aside from listening to all the talented speakers, my favourite part about today's conference would have to be the case study presentations. It was so cool to see everyone's own interperatation of the case study and all the different ideas. You could just tell all the groups speant so much time working on them and were so excited to present. I genuinely liked every group in my colour's case study and the plan they had put together. I was so amazed at hearing everyone's different take in this case study competition. Even though not everyone can win, we all deserve a job well done for putting together this new concept just within a week. In conclusion this entire conference was so inspiring and powerful to me, an experience I will never forget and hope to use what I have learned today in my future career goals and personal development.


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