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Meet the 2020 Award Winners!

The Ontario Science Centre presents the 2020 Weston Youth Innovation Award to five enterprising teens from across Canada.

First-Place Winner: Ethan Chan (15, Victoria BC)

Photograph of Ethan Chan

Ethan created a device that monitors and records kidney disease data. The device uses photon-based colour measurement and machine learning to provide accurate digital readings and improve on traditional urinalysis test strips. It also has the potential to help researchers gather large sets of more precise data in their battle against rare kidney diseases.

Second-Place Winner: Nora Keegan (14, Calgary AB)

Photograph of Nora Keegan

At age 9, Nora set out to discover why her ears hurt when she used the hand dryers in public washrooms. Now 14, she has logged countless hours doing on-site testing and analyzing data, eventually determining that some devices operate at a volume higher than 110 decibels, presenting a very real risk to young children’s hearing. Her results have been published in Paediatrics & Child Health, and she has met with manufacturers to raise awareness about the problem.

National Finalists

Photograph of Adrianna Vutrano and Pasha Jones

 Pasha Jones and Adrianna Vutrano (both 16, Pincourt QC)
Concerned about the homelessness crisis, Adrianna and Pasha developed a solution that would help people survive harsh Canadian winters on the streets. The result is a 2 kg backpack fashioned from materials bought at a local hardware store for under $20. The pack expands like an accordion, creating a 2-metre, thermal-lined shelter.

Photograph of Nethra Wickramasinghe

 Nethra Wickramasinghe (17, Sudbury ON)
Helping support those with mental illness is a cause close to Nethra’s heart, especially with the prevalence of anxiety and depression among teens. She spent over three years developing a wearable device that alerts its user to physiological changes associated with depressive and anxiety disorders. The device then connects with an app that uses biofeedback and cognitive behavioural therapy to provide support.

The 2020 Review Panel

  • Lisa Cole, Director of Programming, K2I Academy, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University
  • Dr. Mary Jane Conboy, Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre
  • Dr. David Cramb, Dean, Faculty of Science, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University
  • Dr. Eugenia Duodu, Chief Executive Officer, Visions of Science
  • Dr. Marc Nantel, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, Niagara College Canada
  • Janis Peleshok, Board of Trustees, Ontario Science Centre
  • Dr. Gabby Resch, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Synaesthetic Media Lab, Ryerson University

See more winners


The Weston Youth Innovation Award is generously supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and is administered by the Ontario Science Centre.