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Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School Student Wins at Canada-Wide Science Fair
Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School Student Wins at Canada-Wide Science Fair
Posted on 06/02/2023

June 2, 2023 (Cornwall, ON) – Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School's Afaq Virk has returned triumphant from the renowned Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) for youth, held from May 14-19 in Edmonton, Alberta. 

Virk, Grade 11, demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication with his innovative project, elECHOlocation: an innovation to mitigate visual impairment. His efforts earned him two awards and recognition among the country's brightest young scientists.

The Canada-Wide Science Fair, a prominent event since 1962, gathered 500 finalists from Grade 7 to 12, providing them with the opportunity to compete for medals, cash prizes, scholarships, and exclusive prospects. Throughout the week-long event, participants took part in scientific, social, and cultural activities, fostering collaboration and celebrating the achievements of young scientists.  

Virk's project aims to advance the field of assistive technology and showcases ingenuity in developing an apparatus that uses various principles of echolocation and acoustics to assist visually impaired individuals in navigating their environment, addressing challenges and improving their quality of lifeHis work garnered multiple accolades, including the Canadian Association of Physicists Prize for an outstanding project related to the science of physics, accompanied by a $1,000 cash prize and a certificate. Additionally, Virk received a bronze medal for Excellence in Digital Technology, along with a $1,500 scholarship to the University of Alberta, a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Ottawa, and a $1,000 scholarship to Western University.  

“I wanted my project to be something that would use my own passion for STEM and entrepreneurship to create assistive technology that ultimately has a measurable and large benefit to humanity,” explains Virk. “I considered a broad range of research conducted in various fields, including biology, neuropsychology, acoustics, physics, as well as engineering, to develop the apparatus. I also made sure to uphold my values of being environmentally conscious by using spare parts that were available from my school. The apparatus was then assessed experimentally under controlled and natural environments to determine efficacy and potential use cases.”  

Virk's success at the Canada-Wide Science Fair follows his achievements at the United Counties Science Fair held in April, where he received five awards: the Gold Medal Outstanding Research Award; a $1,000 admission scholarship to the University of Ottawa; the CIMA+ Communications Award; the Nav Canada Trophy for Excellence in Mathematics, Technology, or Engineering; and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Canada-Wide Science Fair.  

"Afaq's exceptional accomplishments at the Canada-Wide Science Fair and the United Counties Science Fair are a testament to his outstanding talent, hard work, and dedication to scientific exploration,” says Jason Wagensveld, Principal of Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School. “We are proud of him and the success he has had this year. I expect this isn’t the last ‘big idea’ well see from Afaq.”

Reflecting on his experience, Virk says, "Participating in the Canada-Wide Science Fair was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to network with like-minded individuals and learn from esteemed judges and keynote speakers, gaining insights that I hope to employ in my future. I am grateful for the support and guidance I received throughout the endeavour. The experience is one that I won't forget, and I can say with confidence, it was one of the best weeks of my life. I'd like to thank Youth Science Canada for the opportunity as well as my delegate Mr. Jason Marshall, along with Mrs. Chelsea MacDonnell and Mr. Adrian Black who have all provided invaluable assistance with the project.” 

For media inquiries, please contact:   

Jason Wagensveld  Principal  Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School  [email protected]  

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