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

ened my eyes to the scope and wide range of new products coming out."

The ABC competition was not only great preparation for taking science in university, Nguyen ranks working with scientists at the National Research Council as the highlight.

"They've been such good role models for us and continue to give us career advice. If it wasn't for the ABC we would never have met."

"It's been a wonderful experience," Nguyen said.

Joe Barfett

"The Aventis Biotech Challenge was the best, genuine learning experience that I've had." Joe Barfett is the first student to take University of Western Ontario's concurrent degree program in Biochemical Engineering and Medicine. He is now completing his B.E.Sc. degree in Biochemical Engineering and also enrolled in Year 3 in Medicine.

Barfett credits his participation in science fairs and the Aventis Biotech Challenge in particular with sparking his interest in scientific research. "It's the only chance a high school student can get to dream up an idea, design an experiment, and then make a presentation on the findings."

"The ABC goes one better in providing you with a scientific mentor. That triples the learning experience."

Barfett and his partners were the first place winners in the 1998 ABC London, Ontario competition for a project that found an innovative way to deal with the problem of hog waste. They went on to win the Manning Innovation Achievement gold medal in senior environmental science at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Edmonton the following year.

Barfett says it was a "tremendously exciting" opportunity to find a solution to a real problem in tackling the hog waste. Their solution generated interest from a number of companies but unfortunately the high school students became to busy with their university studies to really pursue commercial application.

Contact: Terry Collins
Canadian Biotechnology Education Resource Centre

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