Glenlyon Norfolk student claims top prize at national science competition

Annie McLeod won gold at the Canada-wide science fair in Regina recently.

Grade 10 Glenlyon Norfolk student Annie McLeod (bottom row, centre) recently won gold at the Canada-wide science fair for her project in which she She extracted the carotenoid fucoxanthin from the rockweed and used it to create an energy producing dye sensitive solar cell. Contributed photo.

A Glenlyon Norfolk student has claimed the top prize at one of the most prestigious science competitions in the country.

Sixteen-year-old Annie McLeod won gold in the intermediate level (grades 9 and 10) during Canada Wide Science Fair in Regina last week for her project which explores the use of marine brown algae was an energy source.

“I was really surprised and excited. It’s an incredibly competitive fair. I was just expecting to go there and have fun and enjoy the experience — winning something was just the cherry on top,” said the Grade 10 student, who moved on to the national science fair after placing second during the regional Sanofi Biogenius Canada competition, which pairs young students with academic mentors to pursue real-world research projects, earlier this year.

“It was great to be rewarded for the hard work that I put into my project.”

McLeod’s research project is called Marine Brown Algae Extracted Fucoxanthin and Phlorotannin in Dye-Sensitized Cells: A Possible Renewable Energy Source? As part of her research project, McLeod built six mini solar panels. In those panels, she combined dye from marine brown algae, which she collected from McNeill Bay in Oak Bay and Trafalgar Park in Victoria, with titanium dioxide. In the end, the mixture produced 253 milivolts of energy.

The one thing the budding scientist has learned is it’s important to have a personal connection to a project to keep herself motivated, which is why she hopes to focus next year’s science project on celiac disease.

Originally diagnosed with the disease in January of last year, McLeod hopes to explore different factors that trigger celiac disease in someone who is genetically pre-disposed.

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