/ - Science Fair Foundation British Columbia

Join our host Michael Unger as we uncover the passion behind great ideas, meet STEAM thought leaders and talk with young people working on inspiring innovations.

Season 4

In season 4 of Let's Innovate! we're talking to people from BC and beyond to see how science fairs and STEM have had an impact on their lives.

Season 4: Episode 401: Meet Leonard Foster

On our first episode of Season Four, we're joined by Leonard Foster!

Leonard is the Chief Judge of the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair as well as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia.


Season 4: Episode 402: Meet Andrei Marti

We're back with another episode of Let's Innovate! Today we're joined by Andrei Marti, a Platinum Award winner at the 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair in Edmonton.



Season 4: Episode 403: Meet Gerry Gourlay

On this episode, Michael sits down with the Science Fair Foundation's new Program & Volunteer Manager, Gerry Gourlay!



Season 4: Episode 404: Meet Ziad Sahid

On this episode of Let's Innovate, Ziad Sahid all the way out in Yukon joins the show! Ziad works at Tech Yukon, a non-profit organization in Whitehorse focused on building a local tech sector out in the Yukon.



Season 4: Episode 405: Meet Paul Tiege and Breanna Crompvoets

Today we have have a special episode of Let's Innovate as we have two guests! We're joined by Paul Tiege and Breanna Crompvoets, two judges for this year's Youth Innovation Showcase. You won't want to miss it!


Season 4: Episode 406: Meet Keanu Chan and Jora Singh Nahal

On this special episode of Let's Innovate, Michael sits down with the winners of the 2023 Youth Innovation Showcase, Keanu Chan and Jora Singh Nahal!

Keanu Chan's project: https://www.sciencefairs.ca/participate/yis/finalists/keanu-project/
Jora Singh Nahal: https://www.sciencefairs.ca/participate/yis/finalists/jora-project/



Season 4: Episode 407: Accessibility and Diversity in Science Fairs

On this special episode of Let's Innovate, our host Michael Unger talks about the Science Fair Foundation BC's goal to transform science fairs to be more accessible and more inclusive for youth. Michael shares some personal stories, dives into barriers, and offers solutions on how he and SFFBC plan on making everlasting change. You won't want to miss it!



Season 4: Episode 408: Live On Location at the Yukon-Stikine Regional Science Fair (2023)

Join us for a special live on-location episode with our host Michael Unger as he interviews some of the bright young minds at the Yukon-Stikine Regional Science Fair.

Check out the 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair results: https://www.sciencefairs.ca/news/2023/cwsf-finalists/

Learn more about the Science Fair Foundation of BC on our website: https://www.sciencefairs.ca/


More episodes coming soon! Do you have an idea for our next podcast episode? Tell us! Reach out at info@sciencefairs.ca or on social. We’d love to hear from you.


Season 3

In season 3 of Let's Innovate! we talk with our remarkable volunteers that help make our regional fairs possible!

Season 3: Episode 301: Meet Kenzo Vlasman

On our first episode of Season Three where we'll have conversations with our wonderful volunteers of our regional science fairs. Today we're joined by Kenzo Vlasman, the co-chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair (GVRSF)! Kenzo and Michael talk about volunteering, special education and even the Canucks Autism Network.

Season 3: Episode 302: Meet Ian Affleck & Caroline Majeau

Ian and Caroline, two volunteers from the Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair join us today on Let's Innovate! The two talk to Michael about their volunteer experience, how they got involved and even strike up a conversation on AI/ machine learning. You won't want to miss it!

Season 3: Episode 303: Meet Morgan Whitehouse & Robert Wielgoz

Today we're excited to have Morgan and Robert, two volunteers from the Cariboo Mainline Regional Science Fair, join us on the podcast. Michael talks to the both of them about why the love running science fairs, science passion and even a Guinness world record!

Season 3: Episode 304: Meet Ryan Sikkes & Melissa Halpenny

Ryan & Melissa from the Yukon-Stikine Regional Science Fair join us today on Let's Innovate! The two talk to us about the "differences" in science fairs, the projects that make the most impact and Ryan even tells us about how he combined his love for music and teaching using Tom Lehrer's The Elements song. You won't want to miss it!


Season 3: Episode 305: Meet Katrina Kornylo

Today, we're joined by science teacher, Katrina Kornylo from Gold River on Vancouver Island! Katrina talks to us about how she got into science fairs, getting students interested in science and even how she became a teacher. You won't want to miss it!

Season 3: Episode 306: Meet Jennie Copeland & Kevin Frankham

We have the Chair & Vice-Chair of the Northern BC Regional Science Fair, Jennie Copeland & Kevin Frankham. They discuss topics such as how they got started, problem solving and even parents and science fairs.


Season 3: Episode 307: Meet Andrea Chan & Matt Treble

Today on Let's Innovate we're lucky to have on Andrea Chan & Matt Treble from the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair! The two talk to Michael about their journey from participating in science fairs to becoming volunteers for science fairs in just a few short years. You won't want to miss it!


Season 3: Episode 308: Dr. Todd Whitcombe

Today on Let's Innovate, we're joined by Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UNBC, and Chair of the organizing committee for the Central Interior Science Exhibition, Dr. Todd Whitecombe. Todd talks to Michael about the science fair experience, teaching students to follow their interests and the concept of science magic with Dr. Zonk.


Season 3: Episode 309: Leah Cross & Peter Scott

We're joined by both Leah Cross & Peter Scott! Leah is the President and Co-Founder of Build a Biz Kids and Peter is an Elementary School Principal in Grand Forks, BC. The conversation dives into topics such as preparing kids for real life scenarios and teaching them how to be resilient in tough situations.


Season 2

In season 2 of Let's Innovate! meet science fair alumni who are now up to some pretty cool things in the work world! Learn what inspired them then and what continues to drive them now. These innovators share how their experience in past science fairs and STEM competitions has helped them both in their career paths and in navigating the world.

Season 2: Episode 201: Meet Jordan Chin

Michael kicks off Season 2 talking with Jordan Chin, a former Science Fair Foundation participant! Jordan discuses his experiences taking part in two science fairs and how he came up with a different approach for each go. He then talks to us about working for Amazon for 6 years and why he decided he wanted to go back to school. To end off, Michael and Jordan engage in some rapid fire fun!

Season 2: Episode 202: Meet Michael Ruiz-Peters

We have double the Michaels on this one! Our host, Michael Unger talks with Michael Ruiz-Peters, who last participated in Science Fairs in 2010. Michael talks about his early journey in Science Fairs and how his grandmother was his inspiration for his invention that eventually led to the career path he is on today. He also explains how over time, competition has become less important to him and is now more interested in collaboration.


Season 2: Episode 203: Meet Keltie Murdoch

On this episode, Michael is joined by Cranbrook, BC's own, Keltie Murdoch! Keltie talks to us about her experience competing in 5 Canada wide science fairs as well as international competitions in Taiwan. She also tells us about his favourite invention, a geothermal heating system which still has some traction to this day. The two end off in some rapid-fire fun!


Season 2: Episode 204: Meet Shazeen Suleman

Shazeen Suleman, pediatrician from St. Michael's Hospital and former Science Fair Foundation alumni joins us today on Let's Innovate! She talks about her Science Fair Foundation project that took her to the Canada Wide competition and how impactful he time was in science fairs. Later Michael and Shazeen engage in some rapid-fire fun!


Season 2: Episode 205: Meet Laurel Stothers

Laurel talks about her experiences competing at Science Fair and her project which consisted of self assembly by lateral capillary forces. Inspired by BBC's Planet Earth, she started her project using just water, bolts and a lasagna pan. Laurel tells us why Fredric Edwin Church's 'The Heart of Andes' was a huge inspiration to her love of art and science. 

Season 2: Episode 206: Meet Jessica Zhang

Let's meet Science Fair alumni and two-time Canada-Wide Science Fair participant, Jessica Zhang! Introduced to SFF in her biology class in 2008, Jessica's first project on recycling unrecyclable plastic led her to a journey in microbiology and immunology. Michael and Jessica talk Harry Potter and the parallels between science and the famous book series.

Season 2: Episode 207: Meet Churmy Fan

Research Assistant from The University of Calgary, Churmy Fan joins Michael to talk everything from Science Fairs to her dog walking business! Churmy tells us how holding a leaf up to the light translated into her going into the Regional and Canada-wide science fair. She also talks about her love and passion for many different skills including art and dog training! You can find her on small businesses on Instagram under @bigwheatminiwheat and @flyingpotattoesk9



Season 2: Episode 208: Meet Kevala Von Volkenburg

We're joined by Kevala Von Volkenburg, a medical student at UNBC and esteemed Science Fair Foundation alumni! Kevala talks about how she got her start in science fairs through her love of exercise and how it led her to 4 Canada-wide science fairs, and was able to compete in Taiwan and at Google's science fair. In rapid fire, Kevala introduces us to Spark! by John Ratey and how this book was an inspiration to her.

Season 2: Episode 209: Meet Gavin Howells

On this episode of Let's Innovate! we are joined by Gavin Howells, a grade 12 student from Whitehorse, Yukon. He talks to us about how he got his start in science fairs in grade 7 and how it led him to participating in numerous Canada-wide science fairs and also Abu Dhabi! Gavin tells us about the noble work his is doing regarding potential health risks of vapes, how we was able to meet Prime Minister Trudeau, through science fairs, chubbyemu and much more! At the end, Michael and Gavin cap things off in some rapid-fire fun!

Season 2: Episode 210: Meet Rebecca Baron

Today, we are lucky to be joined by Rebecca Baron. a current student at UBC and fellow podcaster of the Women's Health Interrupted podcast. Rebecca talks to us about her Science Fair Foundation experience, her TEDx talk in 2016 and how learning about the health benefits from plants ultimately led her to a gold medal and platinum award! In rapid-fire, Rebecca talks about the book Women on the Ballot by Betsy McGregor and much more.


Season 2: Episode 211: Meet Brandon Greenall

Today we are joined by Brandon Greenall, a current student at UNBC getting his double major in finance and marketing. Brandon is a former Science Fair alumni creating projects such as an upcycle pop can solar heater and a diabetes management project he decided to do after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 2015. He also discusses his new podcast, The Commerce, Coffee and Community podcast and his love for the movie/ book Moneyball!

Season 2: Episode 212: Meet Janice Pang

Today we're lucky to have on current first year PhD student in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, Janice Pang! She started Science Fairs in 2012 as an eighth grader where she fell in love with studying the immune system and macrophages which eventually led to Type 2 diabetes research. Michael and Janice also discuss competitive curling, where Janice gets her best ideas and an amazing book that's given her inspiration!


Season 2: Episode 213: Meet Hannah Bild-Enkin

On this episode of Let's Innovate we're excited to be joined by Science Fair alumni and current student and the University of Toronto, Hannah Bild-Enkin! Hannah grew up in a Science Fair family with her whole family taking part including her two brothers. She got started in grade 4 and did 8 total projects during elementary and high school. Later Hannah tells Michael about her project with infants, her work as a jazz dance instructor and her favourite album by Esperanza Spalding!

Season 2: Episode 214: Meet Fawzan Hussain

Today we're joined by recent science fair alumni Fawzan Hussain! Fawzan is an engineering student at the University of Victoria who has had a busy few years. While COVID-19 disrupted his grade 12 graduation, Fawzan leapt into action and helped hundreds of people with his 3D printer. Listen to how he helped those in need with PPE and how it led him to even do a TedTalk, At the end Michael and Fawzan get into some rapid fire fun!

Season 2: Episode 215: Meet Yossarian King

Today, we are extremely lucky to have on the Chief Technology Office of Blackbird Interactive, Yossarian (Yggy) King! Yggy tells Michael about his company BBI and how he helped take it from 5 people in a garage in 2010 to over 300 today in a beautiful office in Vancouver. Listen to how we was encouraged by his high school chemistry teacher in 1984, which led to his receiving an award from IBM!

Season 2: Episode 216: Meet Elizabeth Schulz

Today we are joined by former science fair participant, Elizabeth Schulz! Elizabeth is currently attending the University of Alberta for pharmacy but got her start into science through an itch and some snails!

Season 2: Episode 217: Meet Andrew Schulz

Today we have on current paramedic and UNBC student, Andrew Schulz! Andrew grew up a "science fair kid" in a family of paramedics and got his start with the program in grade 2. He talks to Michael about his project about diabetes, his work in firefighting and his inspiration with Dr. Brian Goldman from the White Coat Black Art podcast.

Season 2: Episode 218: Meet Anne-Marie Simard

Today, we're joined by Anne-Marie Simard, a Vancouver Island Science Fair committee member, a science teacher and former science fair participant! Anne-Marie shares her interesting start with science fairs and her early passion of forensic science and how it led to amazing opportunities like being a forensic identification assistant with the RCMP. Later, Michael asks Anne-Marie some rapid fire questions!



Season 1

In our first season of Let's Innovate!, we talk to youth and industry leaders from across BC and the Yukon about their experiences, experiments, and inspiration in STEM. Meet finalists from the 2021 Youth Innovation Showcase, young inventors and entrepreneurs forging a new path in industry, and experts in coding, science communication, and more!

Season 1: Episode 101: Meet Braxton Chan

Braxton Chan developed an innovative treatment for osteochondral defects using fibrocartilage transplantation and the 16-year-old from Cranbrook, BC was a finalist in the 2020 Youth Innovation Showcase. We learn how he came up with his idea and what he's been up to since the competition.

Season 1: Episode 102: Meet Manisha Narula

Manisha is a social innovator with experience in education, youth empowerment and community engagement. As the current Director of Community at League of Innovators, Manisha is working on mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators and developing a culture of youth entrepreneurship across Canada. Manisha speaks with Michael about what inspires her and why it's important to her to help other young innovators. 

Season 1: Episode 103: Meet Norbert Banyi

After watching bronchoscopy procedures, 19-year-old UBC student Norbert Banyi saw that nurses would perform a jaw-thrust maneuver throughout the procedure. He realized there was a greater need for mechanical jaw-thrust devices which could optimize those procedures, freeing up medical hands to redistribute resources. Host Michael Unger finds out about Norbert's innovation process and what he's up to now.

Season 1: Episode 104: Meet Jahan Gill

For their YIS submission, Jahan Gill and Patrick Cioata designed a clever solution: a fully biodegradable, 3D-printed pencil. Their pencil takes a mere 2 years to biodegrade, compared to regular one which takes 200 years. With all that waste being saved, you could build 4000 houses and 55 cars. Their solution is also cheaper and easier to produce than ones that involve a spring mechanism.

Host Michael Unger speaks to Jahan about how they came up with their design and what inspired it! 


Season 1: Episode 105: Meet Marco Pasqua

When Marco lost his job in 2017, it turned out to be the biggest blessing in disguise. He is an advocate for people with disabilities in the workplace and founder of the CUBE Principle for networking. Hear how he got advice on branding from Gene Simmons and his tips for networking virtually during Covid! 


Season 1: Episode 106: Meet Patrick Cioata

For his project - a biodegradable mechanical pencil - Patrick Cioata took an everyday problem and looked at how one small impact can drastically change the amount of waste produced. It's that kind of thinking that helps young innovators make an impact! Listen to what inspired him and what helps a innovation team find success! 


Season 1: Episode 107: Meet Cameron Beck

Learn about block coding and how it crosses language barriers and hear how Cameron Beck, Community Developer at Kids Code Jeunesse, got into coding from video games as well as what you can expect from his upcoming Feb. 24 workshop as part of the Youth Innovation Showcase! 

Season 1: Episode 108: Meet Carin Bondar

Michael speaks with biologist and professor Dr. Carin Bondar. Bondar’s work appears on National Geographic, TED, Animal Planet, Netflix and The Science Channel.  She is an adventurer and explorer, having discovered 11 new species of beetles and snails in the remote jungles of Borneo. Hear about what inspired her to pursue science and how she sees art and science interact! 

Season 1: Episode 109: Meet Madeleine Guenette

On International Women's Day, Michael interviews Science Fair Foundation BC's Executive Director Madeleine Guenette and learns what she was like in high school, how important self-confidence is in life, and why she calls herself a science fair "lifer." She also gives her advice for young women in STEM and business! 

Season 1: Episode 110: Meet Emily Avrill

Founder of Emcologique and 2020 Youth Innovation Showcase finalist Emily Averill speaks with host Michael Unger about what prompted her to create an online education resource for youth exploring the outdoors. Learn about her love for "creepy crawlies" and #campvibes as well as what the innovation process was like and how she's changed her prototype over the past year in response to new information and new demands.  

Season 1: Episode 111: Meet Bruce Porter

Hear all about how "addictive" science fairs can be! 

Host Michael Unger talks to Yukon-based scientist Bruce Porter about his science fair project studying how to stop micro plastics from invading the environment as well as the work he's done around pristine waters. 

Learn why "It's hard to educate people about something that they can't see." Porter talks about how and why it's important to get buy-in from others to help push a project forward. 

Season 1: Episode 112: Meet Milo Eirew

Host Michael Unger speaks with young innovator Milo Eirew about his project The Sound Compass - a tool for deaf drivers to alert them to oncoming emergency vehicles. 

He explains the physics of sound with regards to his work and how he's incorporating machine learning sound recognition into the innovation. 

Also - hear about some of his past projects, including extracting DNA from a strawberry and the Cardio Cardigan - a lifesaving wearable robotic device. 


Season 1: Episode 113: Meet Leah Coss

Leah Coss is on a mission to change the way we value and educate people in society - after being what she calls "being a really confused kid putting up a really good front." 

She talks with host Michael Unger about how she dealt with school that sometimes felt like a battleground, how being called a "natural" can sometimes hamper growth, why she's named her alter ego Francine and how young people can 'future-proof' themselves for a world filled with AI. 

Coss is the Founder & Co-Founder of growing organizations such as Build a Biz Kids, BBK Network, The Fuel Academy & Your Current Future.


Season 1: Episode 114: Meet Timothy Cai

Host Michael Unger speaks with Youth Innovation Showcase finalist and Canada Wide Science Fair student Timothy Cai about his reusable & biodegradable mask innovation.  

When faced with Covid, Cai thought that there was not anything he could do about the virus itself but he could engineer a better mask, which is what spurred his initial innovation. 

Learn how not doing well at an earlier competition helped him pivot and improve his design. 

Season 1: Episode 115: Meet Kristina Garagan

Youth Innovation Showcase finalist Kristina Garagan  talks with host Michael Unger about her project The Frilled Explorer Drone - how she got interested in Mars in the first place and the benefits she found from participating in the showcase and science fairs. 


Season 1: Episode 116: Meet Keanu Chan

Youth Innovation Showcase finalist Keanu Chan. The 14-year old from Cranbrook, BC created an innovation called Novel universal Design Internal Spine Concept (NuDISC) intended to create an alternative that would substitute discs in the spine. 

"I don't want to just keep on using something that's difficult and not practical," says Chan on what spurs him to innovate. 

Hear about Chan's next steps in obtaining a patent and bringing his project into the real world. He says the Youth Innovation Showcase helps him meet different people and talk to different people that help him advance his project.


Season 1: Episode 117: Meet Jessica Tang

Learn about Youth Innovation Showcase finalist Jessica Tang's innovation: an AI controller that helps regulate water and carbon levels for indoor farming. Hear what sparked her interest in AI in the first place and why AI can be so much more efficient and adaptable than hard coding. 


Season 1: Episode 118: Meet Dianna Hu

Youth Innovation Showcase  2021 finalist Dianna Hu talks to host Michael Unger about her self-watering plant pot innovation, what it was like taking part in the Youth Innovation Showcase and what she's up to now! 


Season 1: Episode 119: Meet Hayden Persad

Hayden, a student from Prince Charles Secondary School in West Kootenay, said he was inspired to make his innovation, the Pathogen Barrier Device, when he learned that bystanders and rescuers were not doing CPR because they worried they would get COVID-19. “I hope my innovation can ensure no cardiac arrest victim dies from lack of bystander CPR,” he said. Listen to him talk with host Michael Unger about his inspiration and what's next for him.


Season 1: Episode 120: Meet Nathan Yeung

Youth Innovation Showcase finalist Nathan Yeung speaks with host Michael Unger about his project:  Hyperfocus – A New Kind of Timer. Learn what inspired his innovation, how working on it during Covid, a time when many of us are struggling to keep focused, influenced the development. Yeung also shares what's next for him when it comes to innovation! 

Season 1: Episode 121: Meet Sathvik Vinnakota

Our host, Michael Unger, speaks with Grade 8 student Sathvik Vinnakota from the Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL). Inspired from a real life social distancing mishap, he was inspired to create the Kangaroo Distance Pouch. Sathvik also discusses his experience at SAIL where he is a part of the STEAMX program, his aspirations to become a biomedical engineer and also his love for public speaking!


Season 1: Episode 122: Meet Taya Lee

Today, we have the 2021 winner of  Youth Innovation Showcase in the 16-19 age group Taya Lee!

Taya talks about her environmentally friendly innovation that helps recycle oil from contaminated water. Using Azolla filiculoides to absorb oil from water, she was able to create a biodiesel blend.

Michael and Taya also discuss her inspiration behind the innovation and also the step-by-step process she went through to complete her winning project.