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Alumni

Alumni

Where Are They Now?

The Waterloo-Wellington Science & Engineering Fair isn’t just an event, it’s an investment of passion, knowledge, enrichment and time. Students who compete in the WWSEF and win awards and scholarships show a commitment and passion for their studies and learn skills that can be applied to future careers.

Many of our alumni that have done well in the WWSEF, CWSF (Canada Wide Science Fair), or ISEF (International Science & Engineering Fair) have grown up to become leaders and difference-makers in their fields of study or their profession.

 

Fair Winner

ERIC STUBLEY

 

  • WWSEF 2011
  • CWSF 2011

STATUS 2022:
BSc in mathematics (McGill, 2015),
PhD in mathematics (University of Chicago, 2021)
Currently changing careers from academia to software engineering.

COMMENT: “Participating in WWSEF and CWSF was a huge milestone in my journey of discovering who I want to be and what I want to do in the world!

SAJEEV KOHLI

 

  • WWSEF 2014, 2015, 2018
  • CWSF 2015
  • ISEF 2018 & International BioGENEious Challenge, Grand Prize Winner

STATUS 2022:
Student in Chemical and Physical Biology at Harvard

COMMENT: “Science fairs changed my life and gave me the skills I needed to become an analytical thinker, a confident presenter, and all in all, a youth scientist.”

BENJAMIN SCHMIDT

 

  • WWSEF 2001, 2002, 2004
  • CWSF 2001 (Best Junior), 2002, 2004
  • ISEF 2004

STATUS 2021:
HBSc (Toronto) PhD (McGill)
Currently Senior Software Developer, Zuva

COMMENT: “Science fairs gave me a first taste of science and engineering outside of the classroom and the opportunity to meet amazing like-minded people from across Canada.”

MICHELLE THEBERGE

 

  • WWSEF 1988
  • CWSF 1988
STATUS 2020: Partner in Kinsol Research (a research company for advanced technologies) COMMENT: “Science Fair was influential and a highlight. I still have the microscope that I won.”

ADAM MARTINEZ

  • WWSEF 2016, 2018
  • CWSF 2016, 2018
  • ISEF 2017

STATUS 2021:
University of Toronto studying machine intelligence engineering (in the engineering physics /science division) on the National Scholarship.

COMMENT: “I am always very grateful of WWSEF for the guidance and opportunities it has opened for me. ”

CADY ZEMAN-POCRNICH

  • WWSEF 1997
  • CWSF 1997
  • ISEF 1998

STATUS 2020:
Assistant Professor of Pathology U Western Ontario

COMMENT: “These events – and the WWSEF – definitely piqued my interest in science and helped propel me into my current field. ”

CRAIG MAUNDER

  • WWSEF 2002
  • CWSF 2002

STATUS 2020:
Senior Occupational Hygienist, Stantec

COMMENT: “Going to the CWSF was something of a foundational experience for me.”

JACOB ETCHES

  • WWSEF 1989
  • CWSF 1989

STATUS 2020:
Staff Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences

COMMENT: “Going to the CWSF, winning there and being singled out for communication skills definitely gave me a lot of confidence. What is common to the WWSEF/CWSF experience and my career now is needing to quickly gauge the knowledge, interests and time that my audience brings, and adapt my message to them. Presenting the same project 60 times to widely varying groups over a short period of time is a great lesson in communication. It helped that my display included jugs of fermenting animal manure, which is a good conversation starter.”

SARAH McCUAIG

  • WWSEF 2006
  • CWSF 2006

STATUS 2020:
PhD in Medicine from Oxford University, U.K. Rhodes Scholar
Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania

COMMENT: “I run after knowledge and scientific discovery with passion as my fuel.”

CHRISTINA DING

  • WWSEF 2012
  • ISEF 2012

STATUS 2020:
University of Toronto Medical School

COMMENT: “Science fair taught me to always step out of my comfort zone and to try something new even if I think the chance of success is low. From the ISEF journey, I learned that diligent and passionate work brings good results, sooner or later. Sometimes these results come easily, sometimes they take months or even years. My mentors, teachers, and colleagues are so valuable, I couldn’t have got to where I am today without them.”

JEFF GRAANSMA

  • WWSEF 2008
  • CWSF 2008

STATUS 2020:
Research Lab Technician, Mechatronics Vehicle Systems Lab, University of Waterloo. Supervising graduate students researching self-driving vehicles.

COMMENT: “WWSEF and the CWSF showed me the larger world of science and technology and how I could fit in with my interests. It gave me a perspective on how to narrow my focus.”

VIVIENNE TAM

  • WWSEF 2011
  • ISEF 2011

STATUS 2020:
Working on a PhD in Materials Engineering at McGill University which involves looking at light-controlled release of chemotherapeutics for brain cancer.

COMMENT: “My curiosity and love for science has definitely sparked from the early introduction I got to scientific inquiry and discussion at high school science fairs like WWSEF. It helped me see that I not only had interesting ideas but I could make those ideas a reality in the lab!”

PETER FORSYTH

  • WWSEF 2003, 2005
  • CWSF 2003, 2005

STATUS 2020:
Research Engineer, Borealis AI

COMMENT: “Participating in WWSEF and CWSF sparked my interest in research, which has served me well in my education and career.”

DEVANSHI SHUKLA

  • WWSEF 2014, 2015, 2016
  • CWSF 2014, 2015, 2016

STATUS 2020:
Doing a Honours Thesis in Microbiology and Immunology, characterizing a mutation that potentially leads to leukemia.

COMMENT: “Science fair gave me the initial inspiration to pursue research and introduced me to a community of bright students that I have made life long connections with.”

PAUL BENEDETTI

  • WWSEF 1981, 1982, 1985
  • CWSF 1981, 1982, 1985

STATUS 2020:
Worldwide Business Services Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

COMMENT: “I guess you could say that Science brought me all the good things in my life! I have kept contact with Science Fairs and was a judge at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in 2011. I also enjoying volunteering locally.”

BRIAN KRUG

  • WWSEF 2007, 2009, 2010
  • CWSF 2007, 2009
  • ISEF 2010
  • Sanofi BioGENEious Challenge 2010

STATUS 2020:
PhD student, McGill University Department of Human Genetics

COMMENT: “I’ve felt privileged to have the training from these experiences in my grad school research.”

EDDIE KIM

  • WWSEF 2006, 2007, 2009
  • CWSF 2006, 2007, 2009
  • MILSET in Tunisia 2009

STATUS 2021:
Principal Applied Scientist – Machine Learning Products at Xero

COMMENT: “Science Fairs have served, above all, as a venue for dreaming about big solutions to big problems and then for finding friends who, like you, want to turn those dreams into realities.”

SusiePan

SUSIE PAN

  • CWSF 2009
  • Sanofi BioGENEious Challenge 2009, 2010
  • ISWEEEP 2010

STATUS 2020:
First Product Lead at Borealis AI, RBC Institute for Research, looking at how we implement cutting-edge AI to financial services.

COMMENT: “Science Fair was the reason I co-founded Science Expo, which empowered more than 50,000 students to pursue STEM opportunities. It was where I met my co-founders who have also become lifelong friends.”

STEPHANIE CHAN

  • WWSEF 2007, 2009, 2011
  • CWSF 2009, 2011

STATUS 2020:
Internal Medicine resident in Kingston

COMMENT:   “The extracurricular STEM activities that shaped my high school experience (Shad, Science Expo) all started with participating in WWSEF, and the science fair projects I did back then helped to spark an interest in research which continues to this day.”

ZACH ELGOOD

  • WWSEF 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
  • CWSF 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
  • iSWEEEP 2010

STATUS 2020:
Study of alpha’-corrections to the entropy of black holes in superstring theory at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

COMMENT: “My science fair experience has greatly helped me develop my ability to conduct scientific research, as well as build various connections which were very helpful for future endeavors.”

JOANNA VAN DER VEN
(née DOODY)

  • WWSEF 2002, 2003, 2004
  • CWSF 2004

STATUS 2020:
Community pharmacist,
Certified Diabetes Educator

COMMENT: “Participating in the WWSEF and the CWSF helped to solidify my interest in science, which I eventually pursued as a career.
Attending the CWSF in Newfoundland is one of my best memories from high school.
It was an incredible experience!
Seeing everyone’s projects at the WWSEF and the CWSF was also inspiring and humbling – so many creative ideas and experiments.”

LISA COX

  • WWSEF 1999, 2000 (partnered with Elizabeth Clare)
  • CWSF 1999, 2000

STATUS 2021:
Curator, C.A.V. Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History

COMMENT: “Without a doubt my WWSEF & CWSF experiences were the happiest and most fulfilling of my high school years. Support for science fairs is essential in fostering the development of the next generation of science and humanities researchers, many of whom crave the freedom and community to pursue their research interest.”

ELIZABETH CLARE

  • WWSEF 1997, 1999, 2000 (partnered with Lisa Cox)
  • CWSF 1999, 2000

STATUS 2020:
Assistant Professor, York University, molecular ecology

COMMENT: “It was the first real science research I got to do independent of school projects. Since that is now my full-time career- it has more or less launched all my future work.”

ALISON OLECHOWSKI

  • WWSEF 2002
  • CWSF 2002

STATUS 2020:
Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical and Industrial  Engineering & the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (Troost ILead – U of Toronto)

COMMENT: “At WWSEF and CWSF I was exposed to others from across Canada who were thoughtful about science and engineering, but also fun and interesting. I felt like I belonged.”

BRYON HUGHSON

  • WWSEF 1995, 1996, 1999
  • CWSF 1995, 1996, 1999
  • ISEF 1997

STATUS 2022:
Researcher, Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden

COMMENT: “Science fairs give students the opportunity to participate in discovery research, and the critical thinking skills that they develop from this experience will benefit them throughout their lives. The most important advances in modern medical science were made by this line of research, and science fairs help to prepare students to make significant contributions to our global health and security.”