April 15, 2021

UCalgary celebrates research and discovery at 2021 Calgary Youth Science Fair

Virtual event aims to inspire the next generation of curious minds
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Competition was strong as hundreds of elementary and high school students vied for top spot at the 2021 Calgary Youth Science Fair.

Featuring projects ranging from aerodynamics and artificial intelligence, to braille e-readers and more, the fair allowed students a chance to explore their curiosity and find answers to big questions.  

The aim of the fair is to promote ongoing interest in science and inspire youth to discover opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), says University of Calgary alumna Katrina Watson BHSc’07, BEd’09, MEd’19, president of the Calgary Youth Science Fair Society.

We need to continue to encourage students to pursue an education and career in the sciences,” she says. “Getting kids involved at a young age keeps students engaged and allows them to see how scientific discovery plays a crucial role in creating new knowledge, developing new technology, enhancing education, and improving the quality of lives in our community.”   

The annual citywide event, which is normally held at the Olympic Oval, has moved to an online format for 2021. It attracts hundreds of projects and almost 1,000 students in Grades 5 to 12 each year. This year, medal round judging took place March 20 to 26, with virtual award round judging from April 6 to 15.

UCalgary sponsors multiple major awards at the fair, with Chancellor Deborah Yedlin awarding the Chancellor’s Bursary for the best overall project.

As part of the Calgary Youth Science Fair’s virtual fair, two UCalgary researchers — Dr. Matthew Ayre, PhD, and Dr. Christie Sampson, PhD — will share personal stories about their research and experiences in the field of science. Ayre, a historical climatologist with UCalgary’s Arctic Institute of North America, will share his stories of discovery in the far north, while Sampson, a postdoctoral researcher in the Biological Sciences department, will share her passion for working with animals.

Ayre shares his incredible story of discovery and research in the far north

Sampson shares her passion for research and animals with aspiring scientists. 

UCalgary inspires young scientific minds  

The Calgary Youth Science Fair allows bright, hardworking students to think creatively about impacting communities around the world as they compete for awards and the chance to participate in the Canada-wide science fair.

UCalgary’s partnership with the Calgary Youth Science Fair encourages science education in Calgary schools and inspires young people to pursue science and innovation as a career path, says Dr. Bernhard Mayer, PhD, interim dean of the Faculty of Science and an internationally known isotope geochemist.

“Science is about creativity and problem solving,” he says. “Whatever their career path, to succeed in our ever-changing world, we need young people, like the ones who participate in science fairs, to use their passion for science to work toward solutions to society’s economic, social and environmental challenges. Our young people are the future of important scientific discovery.”

UCalgary sponsors 21 Calgary Youth Science Fair awards, including the Chancellor’s Bursary, Innovate Calgary’s Young Innovator’s Award, and the Biochemistry and Experimental Biology Award.

The 363 projects submitted this year by the budding scientists are available to view online.

If you want to watch the ceremony, it will be posted at noon on April 17 on the Calgary Youth Science Fair’s YouTube channel.