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Burnaby students to join Team Canada at prestigious international science fair

Burnaby North pair's project explores eco-friendly way to remove microplastics from ocean water
science fair
Burnaby North students Rowan Ross, left, and William Li have been picked to represent Canada at the prestigious 2021 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May.

Two Burnaby students will represent Canada at what has been called the “world’s most prestigious youth STEM project competition.”

Burnaby North students William Li and Rowan Ross were among eight students picked from across Canada to participate in the 2021 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May.

They were selected by a panel of researchers, educators and Team Canada-ISEF alumni for demonstrating “outstanding creativity, scientific inquiry and communication skill” in developing a STEM project, according to a news release announcing this year’s Team Canada.

Li and Ross’s project, A Novel Approach to Bio-Friendly Microplastic Extraction with Ascidians, explores the possibility of using sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders (Ascidians) to remove microplastics from ocean water.

“We’re so proud of these students,” selection panel chair Patrick Whippey said in the release. “They not only demonstrated a high level of ingenuity, critical thinking, curiosity and scientific excellence, but they also had to persevere through challenges brought about by the pandemic. Each student has earned their spot on the team, but they also represent thousands of other students who, like them, have gone through a challenging year and yet allowed themselves to tackle questions and problems of our day.”

Students from more than 80 countries will compete at the science and engineering fair, which will take place virtually from May 16 to 21.

Reni Barlow, the executive director of Youth Science Canada, the national charitable organization behind Team Canada-ISEF since 1995, called the event “the world’s most prestigious youth STEM project competition.”

“The calibre of students and projects at this level is truly amazing,” he said in the release. “I encourage everyone to support these young scientists by learning more about their projects and to also speak to children and teens about the value of STEM-based projects, inside and outside of school.”

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