Hammarskjold Student on Team Canada (Again!)

Emily CrossOn March 13, Emily Cross of Hammarskjold High School was selected as a member of Youth Science Canada – Team Canada ISEF 2016. Emily will join seven of Canada’s best youth scientists representing Canada at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix Arizona from May 8 to 13.

This highly prestigious appointment is Emily’s second, having been a member in 2015 when she won the first place Geoscience Special Award, and the fourth place Earth and Environmental Science Grand Award as a member of one of the most successful Team Canada ISEF contingents in the 65-year history of the fair.

In 2015, Emily and her teammates won 36 awards at ISEF, including the best in fair and second place overall awards. Emily will be one of two ISEF Alumni on the team this year, both competing in the fair and providing mentorship to her teammates.

Emily’s project for 2016 is “Geochemical Extraction of Ceratopsian Remains and Opal from Ironstone” – an approximately four-month experiment to find ways of removing dinosaur fossils and soft gemstones from extremely hard Ironstone rock formations without damaging the fossils or gems.

Team Canada-ISEF 2016 members represent some of the best young scientists in the country, and their research is often comparable to graduate-level university students. Approximately 500,000 students compete in science fairs across Canada each year. The Canada Wide Science Fair represents the top 500 from these local and regional fairs, and Team Canada ISEF picked eight from this national pool following an intense submission and interview process running from October to March. Competition for a place on YSC Team Canada ISEF 2016 was particularly intense this year. To use a sports analogy, selection for Team Canada ISEF is the youth science/science fair equivalent to being selected to represent Canada at the Olympics.

Emily is an experienced and highly-awarded youth scientist. In addition to winning American Geoscience Institute First Geoscience Special Award at ISEF in 2015 (premier pre-university Geoscientist in the world for the year), she has competed in school-level fairs since grade three. In local competition, she has won “Best In Beginner”, “Best In Junior” and Intermediate Award of Excellence trophies at the Northwestern Ontario Regional Science Fair (NWORSF), and she represented our region for two years at the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in Lethbridge, Alberta (2013) and Windsor, Ontario (2014), where she won a coveted Gold Medal, placing in the top ten scientists in her age category in the country.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college celebration of science, with over 1700 students from 70 nations competing for scholarships, tuition, grants, internships and scientific field trips. Best-in-fair prize is a $75,000 college scholarship, two grand prizes of $50,000 scholarships are also awarded, and there are a wealth of additional awards available across 22 main categories and dozens of subcategories.

Emily is a grade 10 student at Hammarskjold High School and is passionate about science. She is a youth mentor for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in our region and beyond. She says scientific research is both fun and exciting, and she hopes to someday have a career in Paleontology, Forensic Anthropology or Archaeology. She wishes to thank the Lakehead University Anthropology Department for use of their laboratory, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum for the loan of research materials. After ISEF Emily will undoubtedly return to the lab as soon as possible continuing her research, and will be spending additional time preparing her results for publication in academic journals! In addition to her research, Emily is also the Regional Director of Sustainable Youth Canada.

The official Team Canada-ISEF 2016 press release can be obtained from the Youth Science Canada website at: http://youthscience.ca/news/team-canada-isef-2016-announced.