SCWIST Youth Scholarship helps Vancouver student reach STEM goals

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we are giving more youth scholarships this year than we ever have previously. Wendy was recently awarded our Youth Skills Development Award, a $500 prize to cover professional development expenses. Read about her experience below!

Hello! My name is Wendy and I am a grade 12 student from the Greater Vancouver Region of British Columbia. I’ve recently come back from an amazing week at the virtual 2021 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

My project is called The PollenGPS III: A Novel Airborne Pollen Monitoring System. More than one-in-six Canadians are impacted by pollen allergies every year; however, with only general reports targeting zones as large as cities updated only every 24-hours, pollen analysis is currently inadequate, and not timely or accurate enough for users to navigate outdoors safely. Although this deficiency is usually overlooked, a clear, well-compiled report can become an essential contributor towards the well-being of allergy-sufferers, allowing them to resume their activities outside year-round. The objective of my innovation was to design a system that is able to provide real-time personal pollen concentration estimates at any location and at any time. This system works to record real-time dynamic coordinates of measured pollen concentrations. Similar to the format of traffic reports, the goal is to provide users with enough information to become aware of hazardous locations, plan accordingly, and limit their pollen contact. The devices are not only inexpensive to manufacture and operate, but provide dependable and accurate reports. The PollenGPS system is a boon for pollen concentration monitoring in our community, workplace, and even as an aid for environmental scientific research.

This is my second time attending the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This year, l won a silver medal in the senior category along with the opportunity to design the 2021 Canada-Wide Science Fair lapel pin! At the fair, I met so many awesome people virtually! To me, one of the biggest rewards was the opportunity to connect with these amazing chaperones, peers, scientists, and the general public! Although this is my last year engaging in youth science fairs as a participant, I still hope to continue to be involved, perhaps as a volunteer, in these spectacular events in the coming years!

Entering the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Science this September, I hope to continue in my research endeavours. I wish to pursue a career as a physician-scientist in the future. My advice for students who are also interested in attending a science fair would be to explore a topic that really intrigues them; however, most importantly, my advice to students would be to not be afraid of taking up challenges!

Have an amazing idea of how you can promote STEM through art? Or want to take a science course outside of school? Apply for one of our Youth Scholarships today!