A Learning community dedicated to educating all students for personal excellence

News Release: FMPSD ​Students Secure Silver and Bronze at the Canada Wide Science Fair

News Release: FMPSD ​Students Secure Silver and Bronze at the Canada Wide Science Fair

(Fort McMurray, AB, May 26, 2021) It’s a Silver and a Bronze this year for our students! Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) congratulates Sai Shankar and Aarushi Vasal, who secured the honours respectively at the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) last week. The Ottawa event was broadcast virtually from May 17-21, 2021. Sai also won a Youth Can Innovate Grand Award.

A 12th grader at École McTavish High School, Sai won in the Senior category for his project, Alert! A Photosensitive Epilepsy Caution System. He was ecstatic to receive the news.

“Participating in the Canada Wide Science Fair representing Wood Buffalo was an exciting opportunity for me. It was amazing to see projects from some of Canada's brightest students. I am incredibly honoured. It is really affirming to see others relate to the issues my project addresses and how my solution is something that is realistically effective. I hope to see how this idea can be evolved and made into an everyday product. This would not have been possible without the constant support from my family, École McTavish High School and the Wood Buffalo Regional Science Fair (WBRSF). Thank you to CWSF for providing this immersive opportunity despite this pandemic!”

Aarushi, who is in grade 9 at Westwood Community High School echoed similar sentiments. She won in the Intermediate category for her project, Yeast in Bioremediation

"Winning a Bronze at the CWSF is a great recognition for my hard work. I am glad that I was able to make my parents, my school, Westwood, and our Wood Buffalo region proud. I was thrilled to see so many great projects from students all across Canada and it has further enhanced my interest in STEM.”

“For the future goals of my project, I am hoping to test the process of bioremediation (which is the use of living organisms, like microbes and bacteria, to remove contaminants, pollutants, and toxins from soil, water, and other environments) with the use of yeast in soil environments. I am also working on doing more research on the possibilities of genetically modifying the yeast strain, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which I used for this experiment, to see if it can have higher bisorbent rates. I would like to thank my parents for their continuous support as well as Ms. Dawe, Westwood Community High School Biology teacher, for providing me with guidance as well as many of the required materials and equipment for my project. I also want to say a special thanks to the Wood Buffalo Youth Science Foundation for providing me with this amazing opportunity as well as Youth Science Canada for making this event possible through this global pandemic,” added Aarushi.

Jeremy Hiscock, President, Wood Buffalo Youth Science Foundation, which oversees the WBRSF is also our Composite High School science teacher; he congratulated both winners. 

“Sai created a real world solution to those who suffer from epilepsy. This “Alert! System” would sound an alarm when intense light could result in seizures. Aarushi’s project applied the use of yeast to reduce toxic effects of heavy metals from soil and water. As her first time at Nationals, she demonstrated extraordinary confidence in her research presentation. From the entire WBRSF team, I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to both Sai and Aarushi for representing Team Wood Buffalo. Scientific research continues to drive the progress of humanity and these two FMPSD students inspire raising the ceiling for budding scientists in Fort McMurray.”

Cynthia Shelley, Principal, Westwood Community High School congratulated Aarushi.

“We are excited for Aarushi's amazing accomplishment. Westwood has proudly been a long standing supporter of science fair involvement at the regional and national levels and values the skills developed through inquiry learning for our students. Science fair participation continues to help bridge a student's personal interests with real world application for the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Aarushi has an incredible work ethic, is intrinsically motivated and continues to set the bar higher each year; we know she will make waves in the medical field. Congratulations Aarushi, you continue to make us proud.”

Scott Barr, Principal, McTavish High School noted:

"We are proud of Sai and his hard work on his project. Even with the many issues COVID has created in the world of learning, he pushed through and still worked on something that he was passionate about and was an area of interest for him. Sai is such a well-rounded learner and it is great to see his science achievements acknowledged at the National level. He continues a history of our students from École McTavish, and FMPSD, doing very well at the National Science Fair. Congratulations to him and Aarushi on representing not only our Division well, but our whole region."

Jennifer Turner, FMPSD Superintendent was delighted with the news.

“Our FMPSD students shine brightly. We are so impressed with Sai and Aarushi’s achievements, and impressive projects that seek to make the human condition, and our world better. Now that’s noble! Congratulations both.

Congratulations Aarushi and Sai!

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager          

Fort McMurray Public School Division