An extraordinary learning experience is underway this week for two Grade 12 students visiting UBC Okanagan under the Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMNet) Aboriginal Youth in Science initiative.
Michelle Moose from Split Lake, Manitoba, and Danielle Iron from Edmonton, Alberta, were selected in a national competition to spend a week with Louise Nelson, Associate Dean, Research and Strategic Planning, and her lab at UBC Okanagan.
Among the projects underway in Nelson’s lab, which is largely supported by AFMNet funding, the team is developing new ways to prevent tree fruits from rotting while in cold storage.
During their visit, Moose and Iron are being mentored by researchers in Nelson’s lab. Earlier this week, they assisted in an experiment using DNA detection to identify bacteria that could produce fruit rot on apples.
It’s all part of a first-of-its-kind program called “Be a Food Researcher for a Week” that provides selected First Nations, Inuit and Métis students with one-week, all-expenses-paid internships during this year’s spring break to gain hands-on experience in food science research.
While at UBC Okanagan, the students are being introduced to the research lab and the Okanagan’s fruit industry, with visits to the Laurel Packing House Museum, Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative, and the Summerland Research Centre.