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A look at this year's Canada-Wide Science Fair

Each year, high-school students from every province and territory are selected to attend the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), Canada’s only national science fair. The event celebrates curious and innovative teens who transform their questions and ideas into projects that tackle some of society’s most significant challenges. $1,000,000 in scholarships and prizes are awarded to those whose projects are deemed worthy of recognition. The 2017 fair, held at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, included 400 projects developed by 500 students, drawn from more than 25,000 regional fair participants. Entries spanned seven challenges (discovery, energy, environment, health, information, innovation and resources) at three age levels. Learn more about the winners and their standout entries.

2 high-school students in front of their science fair experiment
3 winners of the science fair with medals

The Winners

This year’s Best Project and Senior Platinum Award went to Colette Benko, an eleventh grader from Calgary, Alberta. Her project, Novel Paediatric Cancer Therapy: Targeting Epigenetics to Induce Differentiation, uncovered a new use for an existing drug to treat the deadly childhood cancer, neuroblastoma.

At the intermediate level, also from Calgary, tenth grader Crystal Radinski won for EEG Coherence as a Marker for Alzheimer’s Dementia. Her work focused on comparing the brainwaves of healthy people to those of Alzheimer patients to make earlier, more accurate, and less costly diagnoses of the disease.

And finally, the Junior Platinum Award went to Danish Mahmood from London, Ontario. The grade eight student created W.I.N.I.T.S (Wireless Interconnected Non-Invasive Triage System), a low-cost fingertip device able to measure four different vital signs and communicate them over secure Wi-Fi to first responders and hospital staff

Climate Change Standouts

Climate change is an underlying theme for many of the projects.. Jack White from Long Reach, New Brunswick studied the spring thaw on the St. John River near his home, finding potential signs of climate change and determining how it has impacted his neighbourhood.

Albert Nitu from Ottawa examined eco-friendly electricity production, experimenting with a way to transform the exterior walls of homes into smart electricity generating devices to improve sustainability.

Charles Wang and Spencer Zezulka from Surrey, British Columbia, used photosynthetic algae rather than commercial glucose to power the bacterial production of ethanol and other fuels. This process, which captures carbon dioxide, could help clean Earth’s atmosphere and produce fuel for stations on Mars. The pair won a bronze medal as well as the Youth Can Innovate award.

Aerial view of the science fair exhibit floor with rows of student experiments and posters

In 2018, the Intact Foundation hopes to see even more climate change-focused projects as part of its mission to help Canadians to protect themselves against environmental degradation. As a result, the Intact Foundation has invested $100,000 in CWSF, issuing a climate change resilience challenge that kicks off next fall. CWSF 2018 will take place at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

1. Youth Science Canada – CWSF 2017 Award Winners Announce:

2. Youth Science Canada – Jack White:

3. Youth Science Canada – Albert Nitu:

4. Youth Science Canada – Charles Wang and Spencer Zezulka: