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Langley youth walks home with two awards at national level science fair

She explores music therapy for newly hatched chicks
Mac Dykeman was awarded for her innovative solution to reduce stress in chicks post-hatch. She represented 4-H at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

When Langley’s Mac Dykeman presented her project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair competition, she was surprised by some of the questions she encountered related to her work.

“It is always nerve-racking to present,” she explained. “During judging, they always ask thought-provoking questions, and make me think about questions related to my project that I had never thought about before.”

But the 16-year-old handled the situation confidently.

Even with those challenging questions, the teenager said she found the experience exciting and said her project was well received.

For her project, Dykeman tested if white noise (a random noise with a flat spectral density) or classical music could reduce stress in newly hatched chicks.

Her results indicate that classical music – but not white noise – can give positive results.

RELATED: Langley youth finds innovative solution to reduce stress in chicks

The project and Dykeman’s confident indeed impressed the judges.

Just a month after winning the qualifying round, she recently walked away with two awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), hosted virtually by the University of New Brunswick.

Taking home the Canadian Acoustical Association Award and the Challenge Award – Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food for her project “A Simple, Scalable Method for Reducing Stress in Chicks During the First Seven Days Post Hatch,” Dykeman became one of the only two 4-H Club (a Canadian non-profit for youth development) members to win awards at the annual fair.

Each year, the Canadian Acoustical Association Award is given to an outstanding senior project related to acoustics and the science of sound. The Challenge Award recognizes outstanding projects that help ensure food security, sustainability, or competitiveness in agriculture, fisheries, or food production.

Talking about her experience at the science exhibition, Dykeman said, “I had a great experience at the Canada Wide Science Fair. On top of the project judging, the CWSF had lots of opportunities for participants to get involved in the fair.”

In addition to the exhibition, the fair had daily chess challenge and opportunities to learn about post-secondary programs. The event also included fun activities like the ‘CWSF has talent’ program, which featured a video of Dykeman playing her harp.

READ MORE: Incubator innovation wins Langley student numerous honours at Canada-wide Science Fair

“I am so grateful to have won two awards at the Canada Wide Science Fair. I am passionate about agriculture and I am always honoured to represent the 4-H and wider agricultural communities at the Canada Wide Science Fair.”

A South-Langley resident, Dykeman said her neighbourhood provided her numerous opportunities to meet and connect with people passionate about agriculture.

“I believe these connections have helped me understand the importance of agriculture and given me the drive to try and make positive impacts within agriculture through my science fairs. I am so fortunate to live in Langley Township, a community that has been so supportive of me through the years,” she added.

Coming in September, Dykeman will go into Grade 12, and next year will be her final year of eligibility for the Canada Wide Science Fair. Always a step ahead, Dykeman has already started brainstorming her next science fair topic.

While the project is yet to be finalized, Dykeman said it will definitely be related to agriculture, and “probably about chickens.”

She thanked her family, grandfather, and mentor, Dr. Lenore Newman, for their support and encouragement. She also expressed her gratitude to Lyndsey Baillie and Dr. Paul Adams from Kwantlen Polytechnic University for providing access to the university lab.

She further encouraged other local youth to participate in science fairs.

“It is a great opportunity for Langley youth… and it may spark a life-long passion for STEM,” she concluded.

“The creativity and passion for science from our 4-H members never ceases to amaze me,” said Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO.

“Huge congratulations to Mac her innovative project and impressive results. We know her hard work has inspired the 4-H community across the country, and we look forward to seeing even more projects and participation next year.”


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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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