Southern Alberta Technology Council Hosts Canada-Wide Science Fair 2013

2013 Finalist: Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness

When the Southern Alberta Technology Council (SATC) received a last-minute request to host the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) 2013, the passionate can-do organization took on the challenge.

CWSF exists primarily to help students from grades 7 to 12 to benchmark their scientific and technological achievements against those of their peers and to create a positive scientific and social experience for all the young people involved. It also serves to expose other students in the area to the best young science and technology minds in the country.

CWSF is considered the championship round of the national science fair program, where finalists selected from regional science fairs across the country compete for national honours. It’s been running for 52 consecutive years.

Normally, organizations bid for the honour to host the high-profile national event and have four years to fundraise and organize it. The withdrawal of the host city left SATC with only 14 months to prepare and fundraise. The team rallied support for hosting the event from three levels of government, the University of Lethbridge and the community to stage  a remarkably successful event.

“We recruited more than 200 volunteers and approximately 330 judges for event,” says co-chair Mr. Mark Bellamy. The committee also raised almost $300,000 in funds and in-kind sponsorships and coordinated activities, transportation, banquets and school tours.

While it was hard work, the results were rewarding. Four hundred science fair projects from across  Canada were on display for public viewing. Top students were presented with nearly $1 million in cash, prizes and scholarships.

Beyond showcasing their projects, finalists visited research facilities at the University of Lethbridge. Approximately 2,400 students from schools in Southern Alberta also had an opportunity to visit the Exhibit Hall at the University of Lethbridge and interact with the national finalists.

In accepting the challenge of bringing this important national event to Lethbridge, the Southern Alberta Technology Council put Alberta’s science education and research in a national spotlight.

“Thanks to CWSF, hundreds of people across Canada now know about work being done right here at home in disciplines ranging from agriculture to neuroscience to aquaculture,” Mr. Bellamy says.

SATC has organized the Lethbridge Regional Science Fair & Science Olympics for the past eight years. Winners have gone on to compete and win awards at CWSF.

“Exposure to CWSF will help teachers support students in working toward taking their projects to the national level. We expect to see a significant increase in participation at the local level over the next several years,” Mr. Bellamy says. “And by creating an exceptional overall experience for the participants, we believe that many will recognize that future opportunities may await them in Alberta, and they may strongly consider choosing Lethbridge as a destination for post-secondary science education and possible careers in science and technology in the province.”