The Brock Mentorship Program has once again paid off for local high school students at this year’s Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF).
Of the 25 students who participated in this year’s program, 12 were award winners at the fair, which was held at Brock on March 24. Four of these winning students will now take their place on Team Niagara that will soon be on their way to the Canada-wide Science Fair.
Jerry Han, Angela Gaiero, Amy Lin and Taylor Laekeman, all students from Sir Winston Churchill High School, are headed to the Canada-wide event in Prince Edward Island, May 12 to 19.
Han and Gaiero, who were mentored by Tom MacDonald from Brock’s Electronics Shop, earned five awards for their project “The Radiation Rover.” This included the Brock Faculty of Mathematics and Science Award, which is awarded to the project receiving the highest mark in the senior division.
Lin and Laekeman, also earned a number of awards for their project “The Viability of Immobilized Enzyme as a Biocatalyst,” including the Brock University Silver Medal. The duo was mentored by Paul Zelisko, senior demonstrator in the Department of Chemistry.
The Brock Mentorship Program pairs gifted Grade 12 students from across Niagara with University experts who guide them through their intensive research projects. For one semester, participating students devote at least two hours a day to their projects, eventually presenting their findings at a symposium and entering the projects in the NRSEF.
Joe Engemann, assistant professor of Education, started the program 17 years ago to give students a chance to flex their intellectual muscle. More than 250 local students have participated with many having gone on to earn PhDs, attend medical school and pursue careers in science-related fields.
The program gives already bright students an outlet, he said. “Where else are they able to do research like that, that they can eventually present at national competitions?” said Engemann, a former elementary school teacher and one-time co-ordinator of the Lincoln County Catholic school board’s gifted program.
Other Mentorship Program participants that were presented with awards include:
- Silver Medal: Dylan Booth and Andrew Valente
- Bronze Medal: Jennifer McPherson
- Honourable Mention: Cameron Williams, Michelle Liu, Kaitlyn Dempsey, Madison Fugard and Colin Maslink