Feature: Genome BC

Ever heard of the Human Genome Project? Completed in 2003, the purpose of the project was to produce a whole sequence of the human genome. This project allowed researchers to further understand our body. The final result took 13 years and $2.7 billion.

A genome: the “blueprint” for an organism – why organisms are what they are. Every living thing has DNA, and genomics is the study of the structure, function, and mapping of genomes.

Genome BC is a non-profit research organization. Since 2000, Genome BC has provided research in areas such as agriculture, forest, mining, and health. They invest in projects that improve the way of living for BC residents. While BC is famous for its fishing and agriculture industry, Genome BC had invested over $77.9 million to create healthier food productivity for BC.  Genome BC also contributed to 30,000 new jobs in the field of mining, solving problems regarding corrosion, pollutants, and creating new tools and technologies.

As a high schooler, I am often found with my nose in a textbook, studying the night before a test hoping to shove as much information I can into my head. Genome BC changes our traditional way of learning. From their “Geneskool Camp” and outreach programs, BC students are able to learn beyond their textbooks – labs, activities, murder mysteries, and fun games. Last January, students from Chilliwack and Abbotsford attended an interactive workshop where they were taught all about genomics from professionals.

Genomics is one of fields of sciences that have rapidly grown over the past decade. As non-profit research organizations such as Genome BC continue to fund projects to find out more about the “coding” of our system, we are able to further our understanding of the human body, create new jobs, and overall greatly improve our quality of life.

SAP Vancouver Coding Workshop & Office Tour

Talveen Gadhri, BC Ambassador 

On July 8th, I had the honour of attending a coding workshop hosted by SAP, a multinational corporation that is proud to make leading enterprise software. Thanks to Vivek, the chair of Science Expo BC and an intern at SAP Vancouver, as well as the Science Expo team, the “Intro to Web Apps” workshop was made available for all the BC ambassadors. The “Intro to Web Apps” workshop was truly AMAZING and an AWESOME learning experience. As an avid programmer, I was able to leave the workshop with not one, but a number of new skills, as well as new knowledge.

What did we (the ambassadors) do at the workshop? To start off, the staff and volunteers were extremely helpful and kind throughout the entire workshop. The day started off with a basic and brief overview of HTML coding, including the main tags present in a HTML document, presented by a SAP volunteer. Next up, we were all introduced to databases, and learned to use SQL (completely new to me) to talk to the database. This was my favourite part because I learned something new that I could take from the workshop with me!

Using the acronym “CRUD” (Create, Update, Read, and Delete), all of the ambassadors inserted their first name, last name, age, and favourite colour into their own database, to have it stored for later (Create). Once that was done, we were instructed to add other ambassadors into our databases as well (Update). Once we had around 5 people in each of our own databases, we were able to use SQL to read our data (Read). In other words, we were able to search up the number of people who are younger than 16 or like the colour red, or have the last name out of the ones that we had in our database. We then learned how to remove people from our databases (Delete)

We were later introduced to data visualization and the star of the show, Lumira, SAP’s own data visualization software! After the tour of Lumira’s features and ability of creating astounding data visualization graphs and maps, the volunteers at SAP took the BC ambassadors team for a truly exclusive tour of SAP’s Vancouver office. We started off by entering the lobby and moved our way into the basement. We were introduced to a large number (no way I could count them all) servers situated in their own secured cabinets. One of our tour guides told us that each box/server was worth $250 000. $250 000 for one box! With all these servers, there are wires going here and there. The wires had been strategically bound up and placed along other bundles across the ceiling and walls which kept the place much more organized and neat. Our tour guides told us that there was also air-conditioning in the basement to prevent the servers from becoming overheated.

After the basement portion of our tour, we got to know a bit about the facilities available to employees at the office. For one, they had a “bike room”, where employees could safely lock up their bikes that they came to work on, or even rent a bike during the time they were on their break for a quick ride down the street. SAP Vancouver also had a mini gym in their office, where employees could take a break to break a sweat. In addition, SAP Vancouver also has a garden team! When employees aren’t behind a computer screen or drinking coffee, they might just be in the garden. They grow everything from herbs to potatoes. When it’s harvest time, all the employees have the privilege of taking home their dream tomato, carrot, radish, or some other vegetable!

We were moved into the cubicles of the office. The walls on the floor had writable and erasable walls! We were also told that the floors were given a theme, which is part of the renovation of the office. The top most floor is known as the “sky” (made up of names of trees and leaves), the second/middle floor is the “sea” or “ocean” (made up of names of sea creatures), and the bottom floor is the “land”. Therefore, the whole building was organized by names like “otter” and names of leaves which correspond to the rooms on a floor. For example, “otter” is a name that would be on a door on the second floor. That concluded our tour, which I found to be the most exciting part of the workshop. The tour allowed the ambassadors and me to see the office through the eyes of a new employee. If I worked at SAP, I would definitely love all the amenities available, as well as the friendly atmosphere of the magnificent office!
All in all, sadly, the time wrapped up our tour and workshop. But on the bright side (hey, I’m a positive person), I surely had a great time, and I’m more than a gazillion percent sure that all the other BC ambassadors had an awesome time as well. After this workshop, I can’t wait for the next workshops which I’m sure will be just as impressive and enjoyable, if not more, as SAP Vancouver’s “Intro to Web Apps” workshop!

SAP Presents: Coding Workshop for BC High School Students

Flora Feng, BC Ambassador

SAP, a multinational software company, hosted an introductory coding workshop. Eighteen high school students were invited to learn the basics of coding at SAP Canada’s Vancouver office. As a stranger to computer coding and web apps, the workshop provided me with a chance to have a first glance of web page design and database. Since I’ve never had an opportunity before to learn about web app or database, it was a valuable experience to get an introduction and to learn the basics about the area.


The workshop started with a session about web page creation. We learned the basic HTML tags through the process of creating our first web page. Following the step by step tutorial by the instructor, we were able to create headings and paragraphs, and insert links, tables and lists. In the second part of the workshop focusing on database, we learned to create, read, update and delete a database. We also had a chance to look at the company’s data visualisation software, Lumira, and learned about its functions and main customers of the product.

The last part of the workshop, the tour aroundthe office and the data center, was a highlight, giving me an idea of what the work environment is like for software developers in SAP. The afternoon in SAP was a worthy experience and I definitely gained some insights about future career options. I do hope to get more opportunities to attend more workshops like this and I recommend everyone to participate in them!

An Afternoon at Architech

On July 17, our SE Ontario ambassadors were invited to an exclusive Lunch-and-Learn session at Architech’s office in downtown Toronto. Here is what Shaharzad Wali, a Grade 12 student and Science Expo Ontario ambassador, had to say about her experience. 


On July 17th, at roughly 11:30 am, I made the one hour trip to Architech in Toronto under an overcast sky. Architech is a digital experiences studio that specializes in software ideation and development. Foteini Agrafioti, Architech’s Chief Innovation Officer and a Science Expo mentor, had invited 10 SE Ambassadors to a Lunch-and-Learn – that is, an informative afternoon listening to and talking with the team, plus free food!

Among the group were developers, engineers, scientists, and a whole slew of bright ideas. Once we’d entered the office and gratefully gathered our lunch (the classic Mexican), we pooled into a meeting room, sat ourselves on chairs around a long table, and listened to some mini presentations. Foteini went first, describing her life in Greece before moving to Canada as a student at UofT, her deep, passionate interest in computer engineering and biometrics, and the invention for which she was named Inventor of the Year 2012 by UofT, the Nymi wristband (a biometric device that identifies individuals using all but their heartbeat – as a devoted biology student, I found the fact that we all have different heartbeats fascinating). What particularly caught me was the process behind the invention of the Nymi. It was with great persistence that this invention came to be. Despite having spoken with her before, I find genuine stories of dedication never grow old, especially when those stories tell of such success.

Next came some pending projects of Architech’s: a software that pinpoints where you’re looking on a given screen by tracking your face, eye, and iris movements; a face recognition software that scans your visage, determines your gender/age/ethnicity based on certain characteristics and shows you an ad tailored to your demographic; and finally, a sneak peek at Architech’s Face of Toronto project, which will debut at Nuit Blanche Toronto in October (check it out!). Some of us were able to experience the iris tracking and face recognition software firsthand; as per their WIP status, the results were both amazing and entertaining.

We then visited the team’s lab. The room was littered with computers, wires, and gadgets. To be honest, I’d be surprised if it weren’t messy (beneath the chaos is a work of art, as the saying goes). Here, anyone who hadn’t tried out the projects above could do so (without being under the watchful gaze of the entire group). I particularly appreciated the chance to sit down with the team members to discuss their work one-on-one.

One of the important things I learned was that it’s worth battling logic if you have an idea worth spreading. It’s important to know how to be practical, but it’s just as important to know a golden chance when you see one. You’d be surprised how many successes are prefaced with faith, in both yourself and your creative mind. As Emerson once said, trust thyself.

All in all, great way to spend the afternoon. I’d gladly visit again.

Comments from our other attendees: 

“I like how there were so many employees that took out their time to just do a presentation for us. The ending was my favourite part where we had the opportunity to go into the lab and got some hands on experience. The introduction idea was also neat, I thought it was fascinating to hear about everyone’s background and where they had completed their education”

“Until now, I have never had the opportunity to experience to visit a company that specializes in technology and engineering. In fact, those are the two STEM subjects that I have the least experience and knowledge in. It was an absolute joy to learn and experiment with the products Architect had created. (That was my most favorite part!) This session has opened my mind and eyes and caused me to see the greater possibility in the world. In addition, the staff were friendly and everyone seemed to enjoy their work. This made me consider a career in the field of engineering or technology. Lastly, this experience gave me the chance to become friends with the other Science Expo Ambassadors. Overall, it was a wonderful experience!”

Meet the BC Ambassadors!

After reviewing all our ambassadors’ applications, we finally recruited 28 high school students from 21 different schools! These young but mighty individuals proved themselves through their applications and were chosen to obtain the crucial role of an ambassador. Their passion about the STEM world brought them to be a part of our team, and we would like to congratulate every one of them who applied.


Now a part of Science Expo, the ambassadors met each other for the first time at our On-Boarding meeting. They got to know each other a bit better and we could feel their excitement for the upcoming year.  

Stay tuned for more on the ambassadors!

Dr. Adetola Adesida talks with Lucas Mina on Stem Cells

Lucas Mina is a grade 11 student and Science Expo Alberta ambassador. 

Stem cells have the wondrous potential of developing into different types of cells. In many tissues and organs, stem cells can differentiate into more specialized cells, such as red blood cells or skin cells. As such, stem cells hold promise in repairing damaged tissue and represent hope for cures to a number of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries and heart diseases.

Sadly, people know little about stem cell research.  Furthermore, there has been lots of negative publicity on the use of stem cells taken from embryos. Stem cell research, however, has since progressed toward more acceptable alternatives, through the contributions of individuals like Dr. Adetola Adesida, who devote their entire working lives to developing stem cell therapy as a potential cure for a number of ailments.

Dr. Adetola Adesida, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s  Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Surgical Research, studies osteoarthritis, a joint disease affecting 1 in every 10 people in Canada. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown the articular cartilage – that is, the cartilage found on joints which assist movement. Presently, osteoarthritis lacks a cure. Dr. Adetola Adesida hopes to treat osteoarthritis through the use of stem cells and tissue engineering.

Dr. Adetola obtained an honours bachelor’s degree in biological and medicinal chemistry and a master’s degree in biological chemistry at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. He later completed his doctoral degree in pharmacy at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and subsequently received training at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research in Manchester and at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

As an ambassador for Science Expo, I was given the task of interviewing Dr. Adetola Adesida. I met him one Thursday morning in his office. Bright-eyed and enthusiastic, he gave me a tour of his laboratory, while describing his research. For the past six years, he and his team have been trying to generate cartilage.  They do this by culturing adult-derived stem cells in polymer scaffolds, to promote the formation of tissue. By studying factors that will enhance cell growth and production, they are producing meniscus.  Meniscus transplants will be key to treating osteoarthritis.

In the very near future, Dr. Adesida hopes to make transplants available to human subjects.  In the interview below, Dr. Adesida shares his story about what inspires him, the challenges he confronts, and his vision of the future of stem cell research.

Lucas Mina (LM): What has brought you to this point in your career?

Dr. Adetola Adesida (AA): I would probably say my biggest inspiration came from my brothers that went into science. I just had that passion for biology, and I knew at a very young age that I was going to be doing something along those lines. When I got into university, the passion was still very much there with biology, and I just progressed into my PhD in the UK, and then finally finding myself here in a faculty position.

LM: How do you think attending different universities helped you in terms of exposure?

AA: I would say it helped me a great deal. I think one of the nice things about university is that you have that diversity, and people approach things from different angles, and that is very encouraging. It’s more or less like an incubator for ideas. You get to meet people that have similar interests, and some people have different interests. Everybody wants to make a difference in what they’re doing, and when you see that happening in one place, it energizes you, and drives you to do something that’s going to have an impact. So, I think the universities were absolutely vital for me to be doing what I’m doing.

LM: What is the focus of your work?

AA: As you probably know, osteoarthritis is one of the biggest cause of occupational disability in the world. This is when people have pain in the joints, mostly in the knee. It can happen in any other joints, but the knee is the big one, because obviously if your knees are not working, you can’t stand, you can’t walk, you can’t do many things. We are trying to make tissues that can replace damaged joint tissues, and we can use stem cells to do that.

LM: What is your opinion on the use of embryonic stem cells?

AA: What I don’t like about embryonic [stem cells] is when it comes from fetal tissue — because we’re talking about a whole person: We don’t know what went wrong, but for some reason, the fetus didn’t survive. I think if people sourced stem cells from fetuses, it will encourage a market for fetuses, and that will promote a lot of atrocities. I think the poor will be exploited, and they will be used as production machines for that. The argument that there are some [conditions] that cannot be treated WITHOUT embryonic stem cells is very thin. There are other sources of stem cells that have a lot of potential. Recent developments regarding induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells or iPSCs), is one example. So more research is needed.

LM: What interesting processes does your team go through?

AA: As your career progresses, you find that people’s thought processes and approaches to their work are fascinating.  For example, I might have an idea about something, and I just throw it out there. Then you see people take that idea and then approach it differently to really bring it to fruition. That is one thing I love with what I do.

LM: Do you face any challenges in your work?

AA: I think the greatest challenge in academic research is funding. Funding is so vital to what we do. If you don’t have funding, then your operation pretty much shuts down. We have been very fortunate, and we’ve had some excellent funding.

LM: What is required of a research scientist that often people are unaware of?

AA: What people don’t see is that scientists work incredibly long hours. You are thinking all the time. You’re thinking about the experiments you’re going to do. Where is it going to go? What is the story? What impact is it going to make? That’s probably one thing people don’t see. Yes, scientists are smart, but they work extremely hard.

LM: Would you say your work has greatly influenced your life outside of the office?

AA: The amount of time [my work] takes has enabled me to really value time. When I spend time with my children, I know that that time is really for them – no work is allowed. Then when I’m working, I’m working. I think my work has really helped me to be much more conscious of my time.

LM: How do you integrate faith with your work in science?

AA: When I look at my faith (Christianity) and science, [is that] I find a deeper understanding of what I do. I think having faith brings clarity to what you’re doing, and also assesses the boundary line you should not cross.

LM: What do you foresee yourself doing in the next few years?

AA: I foresee a position where I will be more of a mentor to younger scientists.

LM: What is your message to the youth who plan to take up a career in scientific research?

AA: They should do something they love to do, and what they truly feel gifted in doing. They must have passion for what they want to do, and they must also have the drive. There will be times of excitement, and there will be times of challenge. More importantly, youth need to understand that there’s so much to learn in failure, and very little to learn in success. Failure is not always the end; it just means success is around the corner.

As I reflected on my time with Dr. Adetola, I was impressed by his attitude towards his work and his unwavering commitment to it. The results of research are not instant, and the scientific process takes a lot of time, with endless revisions of set-ups, repetition of procedures, re-thinking and meticulous observations. One needs to see a deeper value to the lasting contribution of the research process in order to persevere and to make discoveries.  What has stayed with me was his passion and commitment: “You must love what you’re doing as a scientist. You have to have uncommon dedication.”

The original blog post can be found here.

[ARTICLE] How are we influenced as food consumers?

Riana Torrejon, Science Expo Ambassador | H.E. Beriault Catholic School | May 11th 2015

When it comes to purchases, our choices as consumers can be influenced by several factors like packaging, labels, accessibility or affordability. Everything is designed to stand out to us. This is most often shown during grocery shopping and in fast food places where we most often access our food.

Items are often placed strategically in grocery.
Items are often placed strategically in the grocery store. It is best to be aware of these tactics as consumers.

Grocery Shopping
In grocery stores, while we are grocery shopping, there’s a strategic placement of products to force us to look around the store. Stores will place essential grocery items like milk at the back of the store to ensure we pass through their aisles. As well, when you pay at the register, there will be conveniently situated chocolate bars and last- minute grabs you can add to your cart there.

While walking through the aisles, you will be distracted by the different colors surrounding you, and you’ll be more likely to make a purchase on impulse or emotion. Attractive packaging designs, and names will stand out. Apart from visual factors, food companies will use health claims to encourage a buyer looking to make a healthier choice. For example, “High Fiber, Low Fat!” are commonly used on cereal boxes and granola bars. This gives off an illusion of health. According to “Food Politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health” by Marion Nestle, consumers are more likely to believe a product is more healthy or natural if its packaging is green! Most companies will make their product alluring to children to gain their loyalty. In return, kids will urge their parents to buy the specific brand of food such as Kellogg’s etc. For example, some cereals will use cartoons or a free toy to win over a child’s interest.

Colors of certain brands can affect our choices as well.
Colors of certain brands can affect our choices as well.

Ready to Go Fast Food!
Have you noticed that there are McDonald’s restaurants almost within five miles of every neighborhood?

According to the documentary, Feeding Frenzy, by the Media Education Foundation, “80% of the food decisions we make and 80% of the food we eat is within 5 miles of our house”.
Location is a vital part of marketing. It isn’t a coincidence that McDonald’s is a popular choice, it is always conveniently nearby, and provides speedy service. In fact, studies show that more people can identify the golden arches more than the Catholic Cross! Or for instance, Tim Horton’s is attached to gas stations. People will be able to grab a quick bite while they’re on the run.

Domino’s Promotional Tactic

Fast food is usually bought for its cheap prices. Many restaurants like McDonald’s will give out coupons that offer “Buy one get one” free deals. If you were a parent trying to feed your children but looking to save money, you would most likely look to fast food to get your quick fix. You won’t mind a cheaper quality that was hurriedly made, if you’re not spending as much in quantity. In fact, offers like lunch combos put us in the position to buy even more, although we don’t need it.

Our choices as consumers are affected by marketing tactics and strategic placement when we shop. Along with that, availability and price influence what we go for in fast food establishments. People who make fast food and junk food such as potato chips, candy, and soft drinks know that their merchandise is not an essential part of a healthy diet. We don’t necessarily need these products in our shopping carts. With this in mind, they have to rely on clever sayings, cool commercials, and convenience in order to encourage people to add these unhealthy concoctions to their diets. Keep these things in mind the next time you are shopping!

Want to be featured on Science Expo’s blog like Riana? Apply to be 2015 – 2016 ambassador here !


Epic is in Science Expo for a Reason

It’s been 28 days, 12 hours, and 51 minutes, and 32 seconds since I started my journey with Science Expo. Just kidding, I have no idea how many seconds it’s been. Still, this month with Science Expo has been one of a lifetime.
I was first introduced into the internship by my friend (and sort of boss now) Tina, who encouraged me to try out the internship. At first, I was a bit sceptical. I’ll admit, I was a little scared about the interviews too. I had no idea if I had the qualifications to be working with Science Expo and I really didn’t know what to expect. I walked into my interview, clutching a notebook (my mom said that I should take it, but I had no idea why). I saw Susie and Hillary, and instantly, I felt relaxed. For some reason, this interview felt comfortable. After talking to Susie and Hillary, I felt like I was talking to them as friends. They let me feel at ease and confident to say what I wanted.
It’s been like that for this entire month. I’ve laughed, joked, supported, been supported by the entire team during our meetings. Sure, we had work to do, but being a part of Science Expo really made you feel like you had a monumental contribution to the entire project. That you were a part of the team. The family.
Science Expo has a quality of intimacy and camaraderie that I’ve never seen in any other organization. We worked towards the same goals, helped each other, debated, and discussed our projects with each other. I feel now that I’m not afraid to talk to them like any of my other close friends, and I haven’t even met most of the team.
At the same time, Science Expo has helped me develop in a way that school could never do. I learned what it means to be a part of a team, working not because you want good marks, but because you have the same vision. I felt myself adjusting to the initiative that you need to take in order to do your part. In school, we’ve had teachers constantly remind us what to do, plan out the curriculum, PLUS our parents at home reminding us. Taking a step away from that is liberating, but at the same time reminds you that in the real world, you’re the only one who will be responsible for your responsibilities.
Science Expo has given me a whole new family and given me a new perspective of life and responsibilities that I wouldn’t normally be able to experience in high school, or even university. It’s been a great month, and I have to thank my fellow team members and the crazy Tina Tang who dragged me out on this ride. I’m looking forwards to what next month will hold, and although I feel like it can’t get any wilder than it is now, I know it will.

Science Expo is reaching out to BC!

What is Science Expo?
Science Expo promotes students to have more involvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities. Founded in Guelph by 5 CWSF (Canada Wide Science Fair) alumni in 2010, over the past several years, Science Expo has been extremely active in Ontario, hosting annual conferences each and initiating programs such as peer mentorship programs as well as the national ambassador program. In 2013, two SE ambassadors from British Columbia hosted a very successful Science Expo Fall Info Night at the renowned Telus World of Science. From their experiences, they realized the need to bring an organization like Science Expo to the West Coast and at a larger scale than the BC Fall Info Night to get more youth interested in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in BC. Thus, they founded Science Expo BC, another headquarter of the nationally-recognized non-profit organization. With a lot ahead for this young organization, Science Expo BC is recruiting!
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to start Science Expo in BC? Be sure to apply!

What are the general qualifications?

• Showing of commitment
• Transparent about their progress; communicates often with the team
• Demonstrates leadership skills, especially among peer group
• Interest towards STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and/or business
• Strong interpersonal, organizational and project management skills
• Keeps a database of progress and any kinds of work done
• Ability to motivate, inspire others and lead by example
• Demonstrated initiative; ability to recognize problems quickly and apply effective solutions
• Excellent communication skills: professional email/phone correspondence, public
speaking and presentation proficiency

Am I eligible?

We are accepting applications from grade 9 high school students to third-year university students.

What are the available positions I could apply for?

Here is the description of the available positions for Science Expo BC:

Marketing Director(s)

• Responsible for all social media advertisements (Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, etc) and communication through social media
• Creates and implements marketing plan for Science Expo
• Provides resources to ambassadors

• Experienced with implementation of marketing strategy
• Interest, skill and experience with graphics and design (ie. Photoshop, Illustrator)

Outreach Director(s)
• Communicates with members about updates and information
• Secure sustainable sponsorships for the SE
• Answers any general inquiries
• Builds long term sponsorships with STEM related organizations and institutions

• Exceptional communication skills and patience
• Organizational skills

Conference Director
• Responsible for financial resources and keeps the availability of these resources transparent
• Be the primary person responsible for the overview and logistics of the flagship conference
• Responsible for organizing data of attendees and event schedules
• Collects data/feedback from Science Expo events

• Able to organize data (using Excel, Microsoft Project, etc)
• Extensive communications skills

SEYEG (Science Expo Youth Empowerment Group) Values
· Professionalism
· Represent SEYEG at networking opportunities
· Clear communication in a timely manner (24 hrs)
· Fun working environment
· Close knit community between SEYEG and our stakeholders
· Fulfilling potential of SEYEG and our delegates
· Exploring youth opportunities in STEM
· People interactions and connections

When is the application deadline?

Application Deadline is March 31st, 2014, and make sure to send in your resumes to
ScienceexpoBC@gmail.com. Submit your application here.

How could I get more information about this organization?

You can go on Science Expo facebook page
you can also get more information through the Science Expo website/blog

Who can I talk to if I get stuck/have any more questions?
For general inquiries, email ScienceexpoBC@gmail.com.

Amanda Quan – a Science Expo Success Story

It’s always amazing to see Science Expo alumni going on to do cool things. Here’s Amanda’s story:

DRSA - Amanda Quan

My experience as a DRSA student took place the summer after I finished Grade 11 IB at St.Francis Xavier SS in Mississauga, Ontario. Although I had participated in French summer programs in previous years, this year would be my first time attending a summer science immersion program. Through the Deep River Science Academy (DRSA) I was able to conduct research in the Hydrogen Isotopes Technology lab at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) as a co-op research student. I found co op to be truly rewarding as it was experimental learning, rather than sitting in a classroom and learning from a textbook. I had the opportunity to work alongside scientists, engineers and other co op students on a real project that contributed to the research of Canada’s foremost nuclear research facility.

I attended DRSA in the hopes to decide which science I wanted to pursue in post secondary education, but during my stay at AECL I realized that there were so many more facets to the world of science than my regular high school teachers were letting on. My mentor and supervisor were very patient and knowledgeable, and without their help it is difficult to imagine how some of our tests and experiments would have turned out! I enjoyed many tours of other labs on site at AECL, and reveled in the opportunity to use high-performance (and unbelievably expensive!) equipment. My DRSA peers and mentors from across Canada were some of the most accepting, accomplished, and driven people that I’ve ever met and they all truly inspire me to do more than I can ever wish to do.

My time spent in the town of Deep River, Ontario is unforgettable. My summer was filled with new experiences, whether it was attending my first campfire and s’mores making session, buying my first bug jacket (the black flies are the ones to watch out for!), or conducting my first Ion Exchange Capacity Test in the lab; the DRSA ensured that every day was enriching, zesty and daring! I believe attending the Deep River Science Academy would be a life changing experience for any student looking to pursue a career in STEM or is simply interested in the amazing world of science.

And because of all this I would like to thank Science Expo for informing me about the Deep River Science Academy at their 2013 Conference; you never know how that singular moment when you open your mind to a new opportunity can truly impact your life.

Amanda Quan