By: Alexandra O’Connor
A week of fun, new friends, curiosity, and science. Canada Wide Science Fair was hosted by Explore Edmonton from May 14th-19th. They hosted 500 finalists from all across Canada and some international projects as well from Thailand and Mexico.
On Saturday May 13th, I departed Regina to Edmonton where I arrived at 12:30am. I got some sleep, then was back at it again. Breakfast was served at the hotel, then we were off to the convention center for project display set up and opening ceremonies. That evening we did an escape room with other people from our ambassador group. After, we headed back to the hotel for the night.
Monday was a full day of excellence award judging. We were up early because judging started at 8am and didn’t finish until 2pm. I got to present my project to four different judges. The coolest thing happened when we came out of the judging hall, our delegates were lined up cheering and clapping for us, congratulating all of us on the hard work put into our projects. It was a moment I will never forget! I said to myself, this is why I do this because there is not a better feeling of accomplishment than when another congratulates you, whether you win or learn. For the evening we went to the West Edmonton mall. I have never been before so another big learning experience. I went shopping with a friend, had supper, and seen some very cool things in the mall.
On Tuesday, we were at the University of Alberta for the whole day. We took public transport to the university, where we went into the science building. There we were welcomed to U of A by many people, then we started our tours. The campus is an amazing place. It is not a super high-tech university; it is one that is passionate about their history and landscape. Many of their buildings (e.g., the library) are still the original buildings. I used the example of the library because there is preserved lamp posts and sidewalk in the new addition, which still looks like the original building from the outside. Post tours, we were shown to lunch, and after we got to do lab experiences. I got to do 2, where I learned how coffee is made: right from the planting to the point you pour it in your cup. My second lab experience was a microbiology lab. In this one all participants got to take part. In this lab we were exposing super concentrated yeast solutions to UV light, along with the same yeast solution covered by sunscreen. It was interesting to learn about the equipment used and the process. We then saw some presentations by students at the U of A about their adventures, experiences, and opportunities that are offered by the university. Next was supper, which was a great time. I got to meet someone who is a current undergrad at the university who is studying the exact same thing I want to when I go. It was great to hear about her experiences and advice she had. She was super funny and understood everything about my project. That was really important to me as it is really hard to find someone who understands the topic I study, other than my mentors. After supper we were escorted over to the main gym, where the annual talent show was held. Everybody did such a great job. There were some pretty impressive acts and some pretty interesting ones as well. It was a very full day, so I was relived to get back to the hotel!
On Wednesday, we were up and out the hotel by 8:30am. Another busy day ahead of us. I had special judging. Special judging awards you can self nominate for. As my project talks about climate change, I self nominated for a climate change award. I had seen two judges. During this time, there was public viewing. I also got a few opportunities to present my project to the public. Many schools had signed up to explore the fair as well as many other people came to check out the projects. In the evening, we got to go to the Telus World of Science center. That place is so interesting. I learned a lot from just being there as well as got to experience some pretty cool things. Many memories from there that I will never forget.
On Thursday, was another great day. In the morning we were up and out of the hotel by 9am. In the morning, I presented to the public a few times and chatted with some new friends. The two guys beside me were the best, we had lots of laughs, and shared many farming experiences amongst each other. In the afternoon, I got to present to the public a little more. Then I got to meet my mentor in person. We talked for a while. I learned about projects they are doing this summer and more about my project. It was great to finally meet him, it was quite important as we have been working together for 17 months and we live 8 hours away from each other. In the evening was awards. I am sad that I didn’t get to come home with anything. Supper was a great meal, to be honest the meal actually rounded off the week for me. As a fourth-generation cattle producer, every event has roast beef for a meal. And to my surprise this one did as well! After supper (which was amazing), was the big dance. I went until my body said no more. Jumping and dancing for many hours is very tiring. I went back to hotel and had the best sleep in the world.
Friday, the last full day… I couldn’t believe it! We were off again at 9am. Lots of public viewing that day. Over the last 3 days we had 10,000 people walk past our projects, another thing that was unbelievable. I will admit I was very tired that day, and coffee become your best friend when you have no energy left. I spent the day at my project, talked to the people across from me and within the area. I had many laughs that day and made some great memories! After public viewing, we had to take down our project displays. This was hard, as you become very close to this because it like home for 5 days. Your knowledge and your space. That evening, my roommate and I spent the night in our room. It was great, we ordered in pizza, caught up on missed TV, and talked endlessly. At this time, I would like to thank her for being the person she is, and especially for being a great roommate. I had a lot of fun!
Saturday was the day we departed Edmonton. We left the hotel at 3am to catch our flight, and I arrived home just before lunch.
As I reflect on the past week, I wish I could repeat everything again and again. I miss everybody and everything. I learned so much, made so many new friends, and got an experience of a lifetime! Edmonton you have treated me well, you are greatly missed.
To those thinking, oh this is so cool. I encourage you to try for 4-H Science Fair (if you are an eligible member). I got to experience lots of amazing things as you just read. So why not? You can change the world, ask a question, or even follow you passion and find something you want to investigate. It all starts with ‘why?’. My advice for you is, dream your dream, follow your dream and maybe you may walk home with a gold medal or a great learning experience. A great saying I always refer to is, there are no losers in the world, there are only learners, so take something away, it could be life changing!
To request an interview with a 4-H member or leader, please contact: