Last month, two students from the Fernie Academy attended the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Montreal. Emma Morgan, 14, and Sienna Longo, 13, attended the national science fair from May 14 to 21, staying at McGill University.
“It was such a great experience to see the university and to see Montreal,” said Morgan in regards to the competition.
Approximately 480 youth participated in the event, which featured speakers such as astronaut Chris Hatfield. According to Morgan, one of the best parts about the entire experience was meeting other students from across the country and learning about their projects.
“I made so many new friends and that was so cool. I just wanted to learn about their projects the whole time. A lot of them, they have gone years before, but all of the other people that I was talking to had been two or three times already,” she said.
Both Longo and Morgan had their favourite entries from the competition. For Longo, it was a Grade 12 student who focused on breast cancer detection.
“His project was a way to screen breast cancer through saliva,” she said.
Morgan’s favourite project was from a student who was working on a patented prescription drug.
“Her name was Julia, and she had a patented drug for getting out the plaque in your arteries and cure heart attacks. That was cool and she was only in Grade 10,” she said.
Longo and Morgan agreed that the calibre of some of the entries was very impressive, as many students were able to work on their projects in esteemed science labs and under guidance of mentors.
“You go there and you see the kids who are winning, they have certain things in their projects that put them over the top. It’s kind of hard when you’re in small towns like this to get mentors,” said Longo.
Both of the students’ projects focused on athletic therapy; Longo’s was a study of repetitive stress injuries on adolescent athletes while Morgan created a mechanical model of a knee to measure stress on the patella tendon, as well as the medial and lateral ligaments. The theme of the regional science fair, which was the qualifier for the national event, was sports science.
“I have always been very passionate about sports,” said Morgan. “It was interesting to learn about with skiing. I have never had knee injuries but I was interested just from dance, figure skating, volleyball and skiing.”
According to Morgan, both she and Longo created their projects as school assignments, as participating in the science fair is mandatory for Fernie Academy students in Grades 3 to 12. The two travelled to Montreal along with Rory Smith from Cranbrook, representing the East Kootenay region. Both Longo and Morgan agreed it was an incredible experience and something they would be interested in participating in again.
“Before I was just doing it for the mark in science class, but now I actually want to put emphasis into it to go to the Canada-wide Science Fair again,” said Morgan.
The 2017 Canada-wide Science Fair will be hosted in Regina, Sask.