Student science contest participation influences study, career choices, alumni say

Canada needs to foster a strong science culture to remain in the forefront in this field."

Additional survey highlights

Of 350 ABC participants surveyed:

  • 62% were female, 38% males; average age: 19;
  • 76% had received at least one scholarship, bursary or other academic achievement or recognition (includes 85% of those attending university, 65% of CEGEP students, 53% of high school students, and 63% of those out of school);
  • 85% said ABC participation provided a positive understanding of Canada's biotech industry. Even among the 26% who said the ABC program did not directly help them select a field of study or career, 84% said it provided a positive understanding of the biotech industry;
  • Many of the 26% who said ABC participation was not helpful in choosing a study or career path reported their plans had been set prior to being involved.

    How ABC works

    Some 1,200 students across Canada have taken part in the challenge since 1994, a competitive process designed to introduce hundreds of students each year to the real world of biotechnology through projects of their own design.

    Each student (or team) works with a mentor for advice and access to equipment and supplies.

    Cash prizes (plus, in some cities, university scholarships or summer jobs) are awarded at regional competitions, which are supported by local companies, educational institutions, industry organizations and government agencies. More than 100 organizations are partners in this educational outreach initiative.

    Many regional events also feature lectures by leading local biotech researchers, science workshops for students and teachers, and biotech exhibits.

    Regional winners compete in an annual national challenge (with a prize pool of $16,000 in 2004), conducted for the past two years from Ottawa by teleconference with eminent national scient

  • Contact: Terry Collins
    Canadian Biotechnology Education Resource Centre

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