The Science Fair Foundation BC has announced the winners of the 2021 Youth Innovation Showcase.
Keanu Chan from Cranbrook won Innovator of the Year in the 12-15 age category. For YIS this year, his project, Novel universal Design Internal Spine Concept (NuDISC) intends to create an alternative to traditional spinal disc replacement surgery.
Chan said he plans to use the $5,000 prize money to pursue Health Canada approval for his device, and eventually human testing. “So that’s what I’m going to use the money for – straight to science,” he said.
“This is what I love – I don’t just do science because it’s a mandatory subject at school. I do science outside of school because I love it, I don’t see how you wouldn’t,” said Chan.
Keanu is 14 years old from Cranbrook. This is his second time participating at YIS (Junior winner in 2020). In addition to science, he has a passion for the performing arts. He was the 2020 Science Slam Canada SWCC winner. In 2021, he was awarded a gold medal for his Shakespearian Solo and a platinum medal for his Concert Solo at the 2021 Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival. He is the drummer for his school band and the local city orchestra. He plays for the Whitecaps Soccer Academy. The rest of the time he enjoys skateboarding, surfing, kiteboarding, snowboarding and SCUBA diving. For YIS this year, his project, Novel universal Design Internal Spine Concept (NuDISC) intended to create an alternative that would substitute discs in the spine.
Taya Lee from Victoria, BC won Innovator of the Year in the 16-19 age category. Her project looked at recycling oil from contaminated water by using Azolla filiculoides to create a biodiesel blend.
“I would love to use this money to do further research and testing of this plant in a salt water setting,” said Lee.
Taya Lee is a Grade 11 Student at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria. In addition to her passion for biotechnology and health sciences, she enjoys being involved in community service projects ranging from working on the development of integrated youth health and social services to providing accessible education and opportunities through her online tutoring organization. When she has free time, she loves spending time outdoors, taking on different passion projects, and keeping up to date with the latest books on Goodreads. Her project was about recycling oil from contaminated water by using Azolla filiculoides to create a biodiesel blend.
Winners were announced at a June 10th virtual awards show and each walked away with a $5,000 prize. Finalist runners up will each receive $500. The showcase is in its third year and this is the second year it has taken place virtually. The showcase has grown every year with 71 students submitting projects in 2021.
The Youth Innovation Showcase exists to help youth refine their innovative ideas and showcase their solutions to industry, academia and investors. Youth between the ages of 12-24 from all areas of BC and the Yukon are invited to take part in monthly virtual mentorship workshops, founder talks and site tours. The Showcase brings together experts from different innovative industries. Over the course of the year, youth can refine their ideas, products and pitches and submit them as a part of the 2021 Youth Innovation Showcase for a chance to win one of three $5,000 awards.