POSTPONED - Science Fairs in NS – How They Really Work, and How Engineers Can Get Involved - Halifax

Apr 9, 2020 11:40 AM - 1:00 PM


Location: TBD

Date: TBD

Time: Lunch and Networking: 11:40 am, Presentation: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Cost: Free (lunch – please advise of any special dietary requirements)

RSVP: Please use our Online Registration process to register by TBD.


This event qualifies for 1 Professional Development Hour (PDH) for the Engineers Nova Scotia CPD program.


While Science Fairs have been part of school culture for decades, it is often difficult to disentangle reality from the TV-sitcom-stereotype “just make a volcano” image.  This presentation will introduce engineers to the Provincial and Canadian Science Fair competitions which have run under the direction of Youth Science Canada for over 50 years.  By reviewing the criteria by which school science teachers are charged with running their class and school Fairs, we will show that – despite being “old” – Science Fairs offer an excellent modern experiential learning model, and arguably offer the very best way to engage junior/senior high school students in science and engineering education.  Various methods by which engineers can participate and support the Science Fairs in the province will be reviewed.  To provide the best context for what modern Science Fair projects actually entail – and the impact they can have on a student’s life and educational/career choices – two students who have (relatively) recently had award winning Science Fair projects at the Canada Wide Science Fair will discuss their projects, and the positive impacts participating in Science Fairs had on their decisions related to engineering.



Dr. Adam Sarty – Adam Sarty is currently the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Associate Vice-President Research, at Saint Mary’s University.  Sarty has a Bachelor of Engineering Physics (1987) and a Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics (1992) from the University of Saskatchewan.  He was a researcher at M.I.T. in Massachusetts, and then an Assistant Professor at Florida State University, before joining the faculty at Saint Mary’s University in 2000.  Having held various administrative posts both inside and outside of SMU, including SMU Associate Dean of Science (2010-17) and President of the Canadian Association of Physicists  (2015-16), Sarty has also developed a particular passion for science teaching and outreach, receiving the Atlantic Association of Universities Educational Leadership Award (2008) and the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2011).  Sarty has been actively involved with the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo (HSTE) – Halifax’s regional Science Fair – since 2011, and has been Chair since 2014.

Julia Sarty – Julia Sarty is in her final year of an Industrial Engineering degree at Dalhousie University.  Julia currently serves as the VP Academic for the Dalhousie Undergraduate Engineering Society, and is a 5-year member of Dalhousie’s varsity Swim Team.  As a Science Fair competitor in Grades 8, 9 and 10, she was a Grand Award Winner at HSTE each year, earning the right to compete at the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF); she was recognized with Medals of Excellence each year, culminating in her final year by winning the Environmental Challenge category and receiving Gold Medal recognition.  Julia has been a member of the HSTE Steering Committee since 2015, and has been Chief Judge since 2019.

Finley Nakatsu – Finley Nakatsu is a Grade 10 student at C.P. Allen High School in Bedford.  In Grades 7 and 8, Finley’s school Science Fair projects examining aspects of boat design both resulted in him winning his way to CWSF, and receiving Medal of Excellence recognitions in both years.  In 2019, Finley also took the opportunity to compete in the MILSET Expo-Sciences International (ESI) in Abu Dhabi.