BC Students Win International Awards in Taiwan

Tue, 2013-02-12 17:39 -- Reni Barlow

Kevala Van Volkenburg (right in photo), Grade 10 from North Peace Secondary in Fort St. John and Keltie Murdoch (left in photo), Grade 12 from Mount Baker Secondary in Cranbrook have returned home winners from the Taiwan International Science Fair, held January 29th to February 5th in Taipei, Taiwan.

Murdoch won 4th place in her category for her environmental engineering project, Geo Air, a system that circulates air through underground pipes into a house’s heating system greatly improving its efficiency at not only heating but also as a cooling system during the summer months.

Van Volkenburg also won 4th place for her project, Finding a Better Brain Booster, a study which demonstrated that short periods of aerobic exercise improved student’s academic performance in reading and mathematics in contrast to other strategies which were much less effective.

The students were accompanied by Sandi Lavery (centre in photo), Faculty at the University of Victoria’s Teacher Education Program in Cranbrook, BC and Past Chair of the East Kootenay Regional Science Fair. The students were selected to participate based on their science fair project work, their effective communication skills and their ambassadorial qualities. Ms. Lavery was chosen as the educator because of her broad teaching experience and her years of enthusiastic support of the science fair program and her appreciation of its educational benefits for students.

During their time in Taiwan, Keltie and Kevala had a home-stay with a local family which provided both a wonderful ambassadorial opportunity as well as a unique and incredible cultural experience. The International component of the competition included entries from 21 countries including Germany, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

Keltie and Kevala agree, “The week was absolutely awesome, it was a tremendous experience! Having the chance to interact with students from 21 countries was amazing, everybody was wonderful!” British Columbian students have attended the Taiwan International Science Fair since its inception in 1991, a legacy of the Pan Pacific component of the 1991 Canada-Wide Science fair hosted by the Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia.

‘Through scientific research and innovation, Science Fair participants are able to gain important life and job skills which help reveal where new career opportunities exist,’ said Patti Leigh O.B.C, Executive Director of the Science Fair Foundation of BC. ‘Science fairs allow students to stretch their imaginations and intellect, and they also provide a chance for young scientists to network with their peers and with potential mentors.’

British Columbia regional science fairs are supported by the Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia, a non-profit organization whose vision is to sustain and enhance the science culture of the youth of British Columbia.