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Lakeland, April 13, 2024 – The Lakeland region marked a historic milestone with its first independent regional science fair, Lakeland STEAMXcape 2024, held at Portage College in St. Paul. Organized by the St. Paul & District STEAM Society (SPDSS), the event featured 30 innovative projects from students across Conseil scolaire Centre-Est, St. Paul Education, Northern Lights Public Schools, and Wisdom Homeschooling.

Khurram Abbasi

Event Highlights:

  • Abeera Abbasi, a Grade 9 student from Glen Avon School, won top honors with her project “AstroFlora: Engineering Plant Growth for Space Exploration.” Abbasi’s research on germinating basil seeds in simulated space conditions earned her a spot at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in Ottawa.
  • Ryan Noel raised awareness about the harmful effects of vaping through his project “Vaping in Youth,” while Abdul Qudoos Abdulsalam developed an augmented reality app to assist the hearing impaired.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Elementary Category: First place was awarded to Kash Kopecky for “How Does Pollution Affect Plants?” followed by Luc Manseau and Elliot Bilodeau’s “Growing Crystals” in second place, and Alexandra Kerr and Natalay Nelson’s “Make Your Own Shampoo” in third.
  • Junior and Intermediate Categories: Ryan Noel and Fatima Abbasi secured first and second places in the Junior category, respectively. In the Intermediate category, Abeera Abbasi and Kathryn Graham won first and second places. All will advance to the CWSF.

Additional Awards:

  • Crowd Favourite: “Earth – The Viable Planet” by Skylar Giesbrecht and Ash Winterbottom.
  • Future Einstein Award: “Growing Crystals” by Luc Manseau and Elliot Bilodeau.
  • Eco Explorer Award: “How Does Pollution Affect Plants?” by Kash Kopecky.
  • Best Overall Presentation: “Sloth Facts” by Alexis Boehk and Talia Kemaldean.
  • Sanofi Biogenius: “AstroFlora: Engineering Plant Growth for Space Exploration” by Abeera Abbasi.
  • Most Innovative Project: “Fire Fusion: the Future of Fire Detectors” by Fatima Abbasi.
  • Shad Canada Scholarship Winners: Abeera Abbasi, Zainab Shahzaman, Kathryn Graham, and Abdul Qudoos Abdulsalam.

Chris Cameron, SPDSS Director of Youth, expressed pride in the students’ accomplishments, highlighting the collaborative efforts of teachers, mentors, and volunteers. SPDSS President Khurram Abbasi emphasized the significance of this regional fair, enabling direct entry for local students to the national level competition, which previously required traveling to other regions.

The fair also featured a STEAM symposium, connecting students with industry experts, educators, and innovative companies, fostering a vibrant STEAM ecosystem in Lakeland.