“I am very happy with the results.”
That’s what Mac Dykeman told the Langley Advance Times after learning of the numerous awards and multiple scholarships her latest innovation won at the 2021 Canada-wide Science Fair.
“I love participating in science fairs, and I always look forward to the opportunity it provides to celebrate young scientists’ accomplishments,” the young scientist continued.
The 15-year old is familiar with science competition having climbed the ranks to represent Canada at an international science fair in Abu Dhabi in 2019 for her award winning idea to redesign a shipping box that carries baby chicks.
The Grade 10 student has lived on a poultry farm all her life – where she finds inspiration for her research-projects-turned innovations.
Her latest project is a novel approach to improving biosecurity in hatching. Dykeman was one of three winners selected in the 2021 4-H Canada Science Fair securing her spot in the 59th edition of the Canada-wide Science Fair that took place virtually from May 19 to 21.
There, Dykeman presented her innovation that aims to further automate the incubator to reduce the potential for human error and decrease biosecurity risks, which are practices used to prevent the spread of virus and bacteria.
Dykeman focused on two areas with her innovation: egg candling, the process of holding a light to the egg to observe the embryo; and the turning/hatching tray, which, during incubation, she said needs to be turned four-six times each day.
Dykeman’s project allows eggs to be placed in the incubator for at least 21 days without the need of opening or handling the eggs.
“It was quite a steep learning curve,” Dykeman recalled, noting she had to learn to code.
Despite this year’s fair being held online due to pandemic-related restrictions Dykeman said she was impressed with the execution of the event.
“I had no clue what to expect, but I have to admit they did an amazing job,” she said.
And it wasn’t only the organizers who did “an amazing job.” Dykeman earned several awards for her incubator innovation.
For her work she received an Excellence Award, earning a gold medal; a Challenge Award for the top project in the Agriculture, Fisheries & Food category; a Ted Rogers Innovation Award, a full scholarship to participate in a virtual bootcamp in August; a University of Toronto Engineering Award, a full scholarship to the Global Engineering Challenge this summer; a $750 Youth Can Innovate grant; and a $4,000 entrance scholarship to Western University.
The Canada-Wide Science Fair is the country’s largest annual youth STEM event, recognizing top projects from every regional fair.
Hosted virtually by Carleton University, finalists were offered a variety of experiences during the event week from lab sessions to virtual tours of the national capital and local museums.
This year’s fair saw 374 young students from every province and territory, grades 7 to 12, participant.
With the conclusion of the fair Dykeman plan’s to continue work on her incubator.
“I believe this incubation design does have commercial potential,” she said. “I believe this is a cost-effective design.”
To view Dykeman’s project visit https://projectboard.world/ysc/project/an-innovative-approach-to-increasing-biosecurity-in-hatching.
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