May 25, 2012                                                                                       

DSBN Students Honoured at National Science Fair

Students from the District School Board of Niagara had to find some extra room in their luggage for the plane ride home from Prince Edward Island. They needed the room to pack the gold, silver and bronze medals they earned at the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in Charlottetown. Held over the course of six days from May 12 – 18, the fair gave students an opportunity to showcase their research and findings on the national stage.

“We are very proud of the students who were selected to showcase their work at the national science fair,” said Sean Hanna, DSBN Consultant for Science and Environmental Education. “In fact, every student who participated in the national fair won a medal. It is a reflection of their outstanding research, preparation and presentations.”

The following seven students all earned medals at the CWSF:

Gold Medal – Junior Division

Shane Hickman, Pelham Centre Public School

Silver Medal – Intermediate Division

Varsha Jayasankar, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary

Bronze Medal – Junior Division

Neha Gulati, Lakeview Public School 

Bronze Medal – Senior Division

Jerry Han, Angela Gaiero, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary

Taylor Laekeman, Amy Lin, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary

Hickman’s project “Plug and Play Multi-Sensor Platform for Emergency Assist Robot” was inspired by a news article about the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States. The story focused on the use of emergency robots in the aftermath of the tragedy and Hickman wanted to create an innovation that would prove useful in the field of robotics. Along with the gold medal, Hickman received an entrance scholarship to Western University.

Jayasankar earned a silver medal for her work entitled “Plantibiotics: A ‘CACE’ Study”. Recent bans on pesticide inspired her to look at more eco-friendly alternatives. This project examines an extract created from mango ginger and its use against plant bacterial and fungal species. Jayasankar is no stranger to science fairs as she has been participating since Grade 6 and also won a silver medal at the 2011 CWSF.

Neha Gulati has always enjoyed working with numbers. In Grade 6, she placed fifth overall in Canada in the Brock Caribou Math Competition. Her project “Reflex: Get Your Facts Straight” is a study testing the Relfex Math website. Students using the site were tested for their improvement in attitude and their basic math facts over a two month period.

Sir Winston Churchill students Jerry Han and Angela Gaiero designed, built and programmed a fully functional robot that could be deployed in radiation contaminated areas. Their robot can autonomously explore a contaminated site, while supplying live data through the radio and creating a map of the area based on radiation levels. Han became interested in this type of work after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan which resulted in a nuclear meltdown.

Taylor Laekeman and Amy Lin also earned a bronze medal for their project “The Viability of Immobilized Enzyme as a Biocatalyst”. Their research has found significant environmental and industrial advantages to using immobilized enzymes in various industrial processes.