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Saskatchewan high school students recognized for innovation abilities in science

Jocelyn Pon, Grade 12 student at Centennial Collegiate in Saskatoon, was on the recipients for her project – Bioplastics: Production of Biofilms from Agricultural Products. Sarah Purdy / University of Saskatchewan

Six high school students from Saskatchewan were recognized with $100 cash and other prizes for their innovative abilities.

An initiative of Youth Science Canada, the Ted Awards program celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrates the commercial potential for the student’s science projects.

Each of the students received an award over the course of the past eight weeks at their local STEM fair.

“We’re extremely proud of these students, who come from all corners of our country and are united by a goal of making the world a better place for all,” said Reni Barlow, executive director of Youth Science Canada.

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“We are able to engage more and more aspiring young innovators as they lead the path to a better tomorrow through STEM.”

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Jocelyn Pon, a Grade 12 student at Centennial Collegiate in Saskatoon, was one of the recipients for her project, Bioplastics: Production of Biofilms from Agricultural Products.

“I made protein-based bioplastics from agricultural products using milk, canola and pea protein. I made biodegradable plastic films using milk, canola and pea,” Pon said.

“I also did a bio-degradation test, also a water absorption test and then a UV absorption test.”

Pon presented her project at the Saskatoon Regional Science Centre and Sanofi Biogenius Canada competitions, all done virtually due to the pandemic.

“It’s essentially making biodegradable plastic cells that could potentially biodegrade into the environment and cause less plastic accumulation in the environment and help reduce the plastic accumulation,” Pon said.

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To be recognized at this level is something Pon is excited about.

“I was really honored to receive this award. I think it’s important to use science to help find problems in the world and help try to fix it to the best of our abilities because we can help find solutions to problems that we have,” Pon said.

The Ted Rogers Innovation Award began in 2018 and is an ongoing national partnership between Youth Science Canada and Rogers which has provided more than $150,000 spread across fairs and national projects encouraging STEM among youths of all backgrounds.

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The winners are also eligible to receive enrolment tuition in the week-long Youth Science Canada/York University STEM boot camp.

The boot camp is held each year in August through the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) program.

“Ted Rogers Community Grants, which enable organizations like Youth Science Canada to provide initiatives like their annual science fairs, are empowering the next generation of leaders and change makers across the country,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, chief communications officer and lead for corporate responsibility at Rogers.

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s Ted Rogers Innovation Award recipients across Canada, who continue to demonstrate leadership and creativity in their STEM-related projects.”

The six Saskatchewan students were among 61 winners from across the country

The six Saskatchewan students were among 61 winners from across the country – Hunter Kopeck, Mitchell Friesen, Colton Koethler, Cyrus Fern and Jenika Toutsaint.

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