A science fair in Abu Dhabi welcomed students from 58 different countries to showcase their original work, and thanks to one local aspiring scientist, Langley was represented on the international stage.
“When I first got there, it was completely overwhelming, because there were so many kids there. I had never gone to a science fair that big before,” said Mac Dykeman.
The 14-year-old was offered to showcase her innovation project at the international fair after winning top junior scientist at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) last year – among other top awards including an excellence award and an entrance scholarship to Western University.
Dykeman has lived on a poultry farm all her life – where she found the inspiration for her research-project-turned innovation.
“Farming isn’t such a big component there, so a lot of kids were actually amazed that I lived on a farm,” she said.
Her award winning idea to redesign a shipping box that carry baby chicks first came to her in August 2017 when she noticed the chicks would arrive at their destination injured in the container.
“I thought this is an opportunity to figure out maybe why the birds were injuring each other [while] being shipped,” said Dykeman, who first embarked on the project for her local 4-H science fair.
Through her research the Langley Fine Arts student learned of two major problems with the cardboard containers the chicks were shipped in – shape and temperature control.
Traditionally, a “hot pocket” is used to provide warmth to the chicks, but Dykeman found the heat was being unevenly distributed and the chicks were trying to get away from the heat source.
“I found that the birds would crush each other huddling in the corners of the boxes,” said Dykeman.
She was eventually able to create a new shipping container with rounded edges and a raised floor that evenly distributed the heat.
Dykeman has applied to patent her idea and is working to turn her project into a business.
“I have a website so I want to soon start getting this distributed,” she said.
The International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science and Technology (MILSET) was held from Sept. 22 to 28 which saw approximately 1,200 participants from about the globe. The event is an initiative of the Expo-Sciences International (ESI), which is a non-competitive fair that focuses on encouraging scientific culture among youth.
All 45 aspiring scientists representing Canada were finalists at the 2018 CWSF; seven students represented British Columbia.
“It was very overwhelming, but it was very cool to get to widen your horizon even more… kind of makes you realize how large the world is,” Dykeman laughed.
The fair was also an opportunity for participants to explore the countries’ different cultures. Dykeman was particularly impressed with Dubai.
“They had camel riding and falcon holding, pretty cool,” she said.
Looking ahead Dykeman said she will continue work in avian studies and developing her business. She aspires to pursue her post-secondary studies in bioarcheology at Oxford University.