“Back to basics to pay it forward” - Carlie Boisvert – Recipient of the 2017 Alex Trebek Innovation and Challenge Fund

Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Community engagement allows you to make a real difference in the lives of people, to make the world a better place,” says Carlie Boisvert, a third-year student studying biomedical sciences at the Faculty of Science. After realizing the extent to which postsecondary education can change a student’s perspective on the world and open up a myriad of possibilities, Carlie had the bright idea of creating Projet-T.

Headshot of Carlie Boisvert during her interview with CBC Radio

Not everyone has access to a support system or an environment that promotes academic achievement. Remembering the tough times she had experienced while in high school, Carlie realized during her first year of university the vital role that perseverance plays in academic success. As a result, she founded Projet-T in her hometown of Val d’Or, Quebec, to pair college students from the Val d’Or area with students from the local secondary school, Le Carrefour. The aim of the project is to provide the teens with a tutoring service from mid-May to mid-June in preparation for Quebec’s Ministry of Education exams, which are mandatory for those who wish to go on to postsecondary education. 

During the first iteration of the project, in 2017, seven tutors helped students study in seven different subject areas. Each tutor was assigned to a teacher, who shared their teaching resources and helped set up an action plan. Le Carrefour’s principal, Éric Lunam, was on board as soon as he met Carlie in 2016, and the first edition of the project was a genuine success. “Many of our students took part in the revision sessions during the final month. In addition, the teachers and the tutors worked together to tailor their help to meet the specific needs of each student,” said the principal. “We want to promote education and academic achievement in the region in order to increase success rates and reduce drop-out rates,” stated Carlie.

Carlie Boisvert with a group of happy students taking part in Project-T

Carlie loves to volunteer. As a teen, she regularly volunteered for over 100 hours per year, working with organizations as diverse as Relay for Life, Leucan, local organizations that support the elderly and the Val d’Or food bank. Becoming a doctor was her dream as a child, and so she enjoys helping out in hospitals whenever she can. During her first year at the University of Ottawa, she was elected as the undergraduate student representative to the Board of Governors, where she served a two-year term. She loves speaking to people and getting them together. Her favourite pastime is getting involved in the community. “When you pay it forward, you grow as an individual and gain self-confidence, and you realize all the potential you have to make a difference in society,” she said. Always up for a new challenge, during the summer of 2017 Carlie will be working on a cancer research project that is part of a partnership between the University of Ottawa and Jiao Tong University of Shanghai.

The Alex Trebek Innovation and Challenge Fund aims to help implement promising initiatives. The University of Ottawa awarded a $4000 scholarship to Carlie Boisvert to conduct Projet-T. She will share the proceeds of the scholarship with the Projet-T tutors to promote postsecondary education

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