Sarnia-Lambton student recognized at Canada-Wide Science Fair

Annabelle Rayson. (Photo courtesy of Youth Science Canada)

A student from St. Patrick’s Catholic High School has been recognized as one of Canada’s top young scientists.

The 60th annual Canada-Wide Science Fair was held virtually this past week.

An award ceremony was held Thursday evening. Over 200 students were presented with medals and award certificates, and scholarships totaling $942,600 were distributed.

Out of 371 young scientists, engineers, and innovators, seven students won the best project and platinum awards.

Annabelle Rayson of Sarnia-Lambton received the Best Project: Discovery award for her project “Plankton Wars: An Innovative Analysis of Daphnia Genotype Biomanipulation for Algae Bloom Prevention.”

Details of Rayson’s project can be found on the Youth Science Canada (YSC) website.

A panel discussion, hosted by YSC Executive Director Reni Barlow, was held Friday with the seven top award winners.

Annabelle Rayson during the virtual panel discussion. May 20, 2022. (screenshot)

During the panel discussion, Rayson said she was very nervous during the award ceremony.

“It took a few seconds for me to actually process everything and I remember my mom was taking photos of the screen,” she said. “My mom, dad, and I, we were just pretty much sitting and hugging on the floor. I was probably crying for a solid 10 minutes. It still is unbelievable!”

Rayson is not new to competing at the national level. She won an intermediate silver award for her project “Munching Madness: An Innovative Analysis of Zooplankton Biomanipulation for Algae Bloom Prevention” in 2021.

Rayson’s project last year motivated her to continue on that path with this year’s award-winning project.

“With that project, I had actually worked with my local conservation authority. Through them, they have connections with local professors who were actually studying the Daphnia magna from an evolutionary perspective and they provided me with different genotypes so I could continue my research.”

The St. Pat’s students said she has always had a love for the environment and freshwater ecosystems having lived in Sarnia-Lambton, surrounded by the Great Lakes. During the panel discussion, she also mentioned how her father is a commercial fisherman and her mother was a biology teacher.

Aside from her interests in science, Rayson also plays four different instruments and participates in school concerts, is a volunteer youth curling coach, is a member of the school’s curling team, and is a student trustee for the 2022-2023 term.

Rayson also mentioned she is the co-founder and co-president of her school’s social justice club, co-chair of the school’s food drive committees, and chair of a non-profit charity that provides holiday gifts for women impacted by homelessness and domestic abuse.

Next year’s Canada-Wide Science Fair will take place in Edmonton from May 13 until May 19.