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148: Art Meets Science for Better Tomorrows with Camilo Saenz and Kristin Lewis

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Let's do a quick association test. What pairs best with the following?

Salt and... pepper!

Peanut butter and... jam!

Macaroni and... cheese!

Art and... science!

It's that last perfect pairing that today's episode is all about. I'm speaking with two excitingly talented creatives who work in a STEM organization (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) called Visions of Science here in Toronto. Visions of Science is transforming lives and advancing equity through STEM; providing access, increasing representation and fostering meaningful inclusion. They reach 1000+ youth in 30 communities each year through in-school programming, after-school tutoring, camps and partnerships with major organizations like Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and IBM.

In this episode you'll meet Camilo Saenz and Kristin Lewis who are using their talents for graphic design, videography and photography to communicate and accelerate this important organization doing important work.

I met Camilo in the Master of Digital Media Program at Toronto Metropolitan University a number of years ago. It's been great to catch up and see the incredible work he's been undertaking as a Senior Content Manager for Visions of Science. It's also been fantastic meeting Kristin and being introduced to her powerful photography that captures movement and stories so strikingly.

I'm all about experimentation so I thought it might be interesting to frame our conversation about creative thinking and output through the lens of STEM, as well as highlight important facts and figures about STEM in the Toronto community throughout this episode.

Let's listen in...

Here are some facts and statistics about barriers to STEM in elementary and middle school:

When it comes to access to learning STEM "Middle-class 6th graders have gained 6,000 more learning hours than low-income peers, as estimated by ExpandED Schools (ExpandED Schools)."

In terms of lack of identity and belonging in stem,"Students who struggle with their sense of belonging in school score lower in mathematics and science (O'Grady et al, 2021)."

Starting with Science... For the identity rebrand of the organization’s visuals, what was your process of discovery, planning, research and crafting a plan? What role did curiosity play?

Here's the organization's 'manifesto' WE ARE STEM:

Now onto Technology... What are the tools / tech you’re using in your creative practice for the organization?

Here are some facts and statistics about academic and behavioural streaming in high school:

"Data released in 2013 by the TDSB showed that Black students were three times more likely than their White counterparts to be suspended from school (Rankin et al, 2013)."

"Black students were twice as likely to be in applied, and three times more likely to be in essentials [courses] (James & Turner, 2017.)"

Now onto Engineering... How do you create for the organization? What is your creative process?

Here are some facts and statistics about restrictive financial barriers to STEM and employment obstacles in post-secondary and after graduation:

"60% of high-income youth have attended university or taken a course by age 21, compared to 30% of low-income peers (Statistics Canada, 2011)."

"16% of Black workers with Canadian bachelor's degrees work in jobs requiring a high school diploma or less, the highest overqualification rate among Canadian-educated racialized groups (Statistics Canada, 2023)."

Finally, onto Math... How do you measure the impact of your creative work?

Notable Visions of Science Videos:

About Our Guests:

Camilo Saenz is a graphic designer and a master of digital media from TMU. Most of his career has been as an advertising creative and art director. He arrived in Toronto almost two years ago, and with the hectic yet wonderful experience came his current role as a Sr digital content manager in an inspiring not-for-profit organization. Camilo is into video games, series, books, design, cycling, and pastries!

Kristin Lewis is a photographer & multimedia artist hailing from Toronto, ON. For over 12 years, she has been forging her way through different industries with her unique and energetic approach to content capture. She now brings her experience and passion for media production to her role as the Digital Content & Communications Associate with Visions of Science, working to authentically showcase the heartbeat of the organization.

Music: Beatboxin' Whistlin' and Clickin' - John Bartmann licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal License.

Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle

Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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