Crystal & Colette

With their projects focused on paediatric cancer treatment and detection of Alzheimer’s Disease, two Calgary students took home awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, PA on May 17-18, 2018. Colette Benko and Crystal Radinski were selected by Youth Science Canada through a distinguished panel of 23 university faculty, researchers, educators and Team Canada-ISEF alumni through a competitive national selection process.

Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The students are invited to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes.

Colette Benko, from St. Mary’s High School, impressed the judges with her project: A Novel Paediatric Cancer Therapy Targeting Epigenetics and Neuroblastoma Differentiation. Benko won a Special Award (First) from the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association, a not-for-profit, global business development association. The young scientist also won a Grand Award (Fourth) in the Biomedical and Health Sciences category.

“I met so many amazing people from around the world and saw so much amazing research– representing Canada was truly unforgettable,” said Benko.

“If there is one thing I noticed that stuck with me, it was how all of the participants looked for things out of the box. We have to think unconventionally when you approach science. If you ask any kids at the beginning of their projects, they would tell you that they wouldn’t have thought the result was possible.”

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Crystal Radinski, from Rundle College, took home a Grand Award (fourth) in the Biomedical and Health Sciences category for her project: EEG Coherence as a Marker for Alzheimer's Dementia.

"There were so many projects that really pushed the boundaries," said Radinski. "I was so happy and surprised to the get the Biomedical and Health Sciences award - only about 15% of people at the Fair get awards, so it is a big deal for me. The whole week I felt like I was a watching a movie with me in it. It was surreal. Such a great experience!"

Annually, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs;
the winners of these events go on to participate in regional fairs from which the best win
the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF.

“Students competing at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are the best of the best. Colette and Crystal’s projects are perfect examples of the drive and commitment of young scientists in Calgary,” said Chuck Buckley, President of the Calgary Youth Science Fair Society.

Every April, the Calgary Youth Science Fair hosts nearly 1,000 grade 5-12 students from Calgary and area at the Olympic Oval, University of Calgary to engage with their peers and share the results of their 700+ science fair projects. Over 500 volunteer judges from the science community, academia, and the general public join us to recognize and celebrate all students for their efforts and accomplishments.

With an annual budget of $200,000, the CYSFS relies solely on the support of their generous corporate sponsors and donors to continue hosting this amazing science fair every year.

Photo caption: Crystal Radinski (left) & Colette Benko (right)