Young scientists honoured in regional fair at TRU

Catherine Litt / Kamloops Daily News
April 13, 2012 01:00 AM

Jessica Holden was a multiple winner at the Cariboo Mainline Regional Science Fair on Friday. The 11-year-old Lillooet girl took home three prizes for her project, Erosion Explosion.

Some of the best young scientific minds were celebrated Friday at Thompson Rivers University as the two-day Cariboo Mainline Regional Science Fair wrapped up with an awards ceremony.

Twenty-four trophies were handed out, with many students taking home multiple wins.

Jessica Holden, an 11-year-old from Cayoosh elementary school in Lillooet, won three trophies for her project, Erosion Explosion, including the Best Junior Award (Grades 7-8).

"My project is on rocks and the erosion of rocks in a rock tumbler," said the Grade 7 student as she explained her project to a spectator.

"And the purpose of my experiment was to find another substitute for the coarse grit that you would normally put in the tumbler."

Jessica experimented with beach sand, glass, steel filings, parts of marbles and other substances as she set about finding an alternative material for polishing stones.

The idea was born out of curiosity (Jessica has been fascinated by rocks from an early age, says her dad) and somewhat out of necessity; the coarse grit that's normally used in rock polishing is made from silicon carbide.

"And the Earth is running out of it," said Jessica. " So as it runs out, it's just going to get more expensive. I'm not 16 yet, so I can't get a job to buy the grit, so if I can find a substitute it would be good, and it would be free."

Jessica was among 160 students from four school districts who put their best scientific foot forward in the regional competition.

Along with medals, trophies and cash awards, the competition also named its top five students who have advanced to the Canada-Wide Science Fair next month in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Benjamin Friedman of South Kamloops secondary school was the only Kamloops student among the five. He also took the top trophy: the Best Senior Award, which comes with one free semester at Thompson Rivers University.

He was unable to attend Friday's awards ceremony and was unavailable for comment.

Merritt teen Noah Bergmann was also among the big winners. He won Best Intermediate Award (Grades 9-10) and advances to the nationals.

Noah, 14, impressed the regional judges with his Musical Modulations: The Modex Reloaded, an iPhone application that takes his uncle's original modex invention to a new level.

"I decided to make a digital version because I thought it was a great idea," said Noah. "My eventual goal is to get it on the iPhone, which I'm only a few months away from."

Noah said he's excited to advance to the nationals.

He and his four regional peers will be among 500 of the country's top science students competing at the event.

Winners of the 2012 Cariboo Mainline Regional Science Fair

* Tessa Warhurst (Lillooet) - Interior Science Innovation Council Bioenergy Award

* Katie Gair (Lillooet) - Interior Science Innovation Council Environmental Award

* Mackenzie Finch (Merritt) - B.C. Innovation Council Student/Teacher Recognition Award

* Mackenzie Finch (Merritt) - Assoc. of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. Award

* Jessica Holden (Lillooet) - B.C. Science Teachers' Award

* Jessica Holden (Lillooet) - B.C. Innovation Council Young Scientist Award

* Victoria Ross (Kamloops) - Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon Award

* Robert Neill (Merritt) - B.C. Hydro for Generations Award

* Isabel van Rossum (Lower Nicola) - Al Appleton Worksafe Award

* Nikki Sauve (Lillooet) - Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology Award

* Meg Warhurst (Lillooet) - Genome British Columbia Award

* Katie Gair (Lillooet) - B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom Award

* Liam Warren (Merritt) -B.C. Nature Award (Federation of B.C. Naturalists)

* Benjamin Friedman (Kamloops) - Michael Crooks Physics Prize, B.C. Association of Physics Teachers

* Nikki Neilson (Kamloops) - Pacific Carbon Trust Award

* Noah Bergmann (Merritt) - Best Life Science Award

* Nikki Sauve (Lillooet) - Best Environmental Science Award

* Benjamin Friedman (Kamloops) - Best Physical Science Award

* Noah Bergmann (Merritt) -Best Computational Science Award

* Meg Warhurst (Lillooet) - Best Novice Award (Grades 4-6)

* Jessica Holden (Lillooet) - Best Junior Award (Grades 7-8)

* Noah Bergmann (Merritt) - Best Intermediate Award (Grades 9-10)

* Benjamin Friedman (Kamloops) - Students Choice Award

* Benjamin Friedman (Kamloops) - Best Senior Award, TRU Top Science Award

Students advancing to the nationals:

* Benjamin Friedman

* Noah Bergmann

* Mackenzie Finch

* Nikki Sauve

* Katie Gair

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