OTTAWA: The tallies are counted at the inaugural Youth Science Canada Online STEM Fair and it’s clear that the current cohort of Canadian students is into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
A team of volunteers from regional science fairs across the country, YSC National Judging Team members and sponsor representatives carefully reviewed 631 projects, and awarded 269 virtual ribbons at three levels as part of the online showcase that received a greater level of participation, in its first year, than even organizers expected.
“Congratulations to all of the grade 7-12 and Cégep students who worked tirelessly on completing a STEM project this year, even in the face of unprecedented challenges,” says Reni Barlow, executive director of Youth Science Canada. “We could not be prouder of your resilience, passion and creativity. You stepped up – virtually – in large numbers, to demonstrate unequivocally that scientific enquiry and curiosity, as well as a quest for a better world, are very much on the minds of Canadian youth. That certainly bodes well for the future.”
Anyone interested in viewing the projects can visit makeprojects.com/ysc, where coloured ribbons are displayed on projects that have received special recognition: grey for top projects from each of the 103 regions in Canada, purple for those identified as outstanding by national organizers and red ones for outstanding projects in each of eight YSC challenges — agriculture, fisheries and food; curiosity and ingenuity; digital technology; disease and illness; energy; environment and climate change; health and wellness; and natural resources.
As part of the event, YSC has also made available a downloadable student guide with reflection activities and exercises for parents and teachers to use within their at-home learning curriculum.
In just one week, the guide had already been downloaded to benefit nearly 29,000 students across Canada.
“No matter the cultural background, socioeconomic status or geographic location, it’s our goal to ensure all Canadian students have access to opportunities, resources and inspiration to support their passion for STEM,” says Reni Barlow. “Our mission is to fuel the curiosity of Canadian youth which, as the Online STEM Fair illustrates, is as formidable as ever. We could not be happier with this first edition.”
The idea for a YSC online STEM project showcase originated in early 2018 but was planned for 2022 as part of a larger outreach initiative. The arrival of COVID-19 accelerated those plans, aided by the generous support of partners such as NSERC, Rogers, Cenovus Energy, Intact Financial Corporation and engineering.com. Next year, the registered charity plans to host its flagship Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, from May 15 to 21. The second edition of the YSC Online STEM Fair is expected to run from October to February, featuring projects eligible to participate in regional science fairs in March and April.
The complete list of YSC Online STEM Fair ribbon recipients is available at youthscience.ca
Established in 1962, Youth Science Canada fuels the curiosity of Canadian youth through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects.
The registered charity works to ensure that Canadian youth have the capacity and skills to generate and answer questions and identify and solve problems. YSC also engages leading public and private sector organizations in the development of a national STEM network of Canadian youth. For more information, please visit youthscience.ca