Local student makes the cut for U of A summer science program

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

A Grade 11 student from Slave Lake is one of just 21 people from the whole of northern Alberta chosen to participate in the University of Alberta’s Summer Research Program. It’ll be several weeks of science and fun for Hayley Nicholl, who attends Roland Michener School.

According to her biology teacher Karen Kenyon, the number of students chosen is normally about three times what it is this year. She says that makes Nicholl’s choice that much more special.

As to what she’ll actually be doing, Nicholl says it’s in the field of paleontology. That wasn’t her first choice. In fact you don’t get to choose, she says.

“We’ll be looking at the placement of different fossils around Alberta,” she says.

Thanks to the COVID situation, attendance in person at the university isn’t happening, Nicholl says, “which really sucks.” Instead, the participants will connect online for discussions with the mentors and each other, and carry out research remotely.

“It’s only four weeks instead of the usual six weeks,” Nicholl adds.

Nicholl learned about the program from Kenyon, who encouraged her to apply. She also spoke to Coralee Kashuba, who took part in the program last year.

Nicholl isn’t sure about a career path yet, but fully expects to continue studying science.

“Oh yeah!” she says. “I definitely want to go to university.”

Like other high school students, Nicholl completed the last three months or so of the school year working from home and staying in touch with teachers online. She hopes with the U of A program she might get to visit the campus towards the end of four weeks, which start on July 2.

The Summer Research Program is part of WISEST, which stands for Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology. Its purpose is to encourage women to pursue study/careers in these areas and the summer program is part of that.

Hayley Nicholl

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