This is the 23rd in our series of stories celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of youth in our community. These inspirational young adults are enriching our lives with their passion and commitment to the betterment of society.
It seems like just yesterday that I met Nathan as a young lad in Mr. Brooks’ Grade 5 boys class on the beach campus of Glenlyon Norfolk. In what feels like a blink of the eye, he’s 18 and now graduating from Grade 12 in a few months. Nathan is what’s termed a “lifer”, having attended Glenlyon Norfolk ever since Kindergarten. He’s an exceptional student with a passion for science and since Grade 9 he has competed at a very high level in Science Fairs. Nathan presently serves as Head Boy of the school this year and so serves as a role model and an ambassador for the school. He is also involved in the organization of numerous student activities including co-organizing weekly assemblies.
Nathan has had a love of science for as long as he can remember. In Grade 9, he qualified for the National Science Fair after placing 6th in the Regional Science Fair, where his project involved the use of charcoal in soil to help plants grow. It was at the Regional Science Fair that he met a Grade 12 student who inspired and “wowed” him with his university level research. The Grade 12 student captivated Nathan and made him feel empowered, wondering to himself “how far can I go with this?” And indeed he has gone a very long way already.
After his inspirational experience at the competition in Grade 9, Nathan undertook a science project in Grade 10 that looked at detecting multiple types of cancer though a urine sample. His goal was to make testing for cancer easier and cheaper.
Nathan noted that he has had the benefit of an outstanding teacher mentor, Ms. Dallin, at Glenlyon Norfolk. Ms. Dallin has put in countless volunteer hours to support Nathan, including time during the summer months when Nathan consulted with a professor at the University of Victoria on his research. His Grade 10 science project landed him a spot on Team BC and a Gold Medal at the Canada wide Science Fair (in the Top 10 nationally).
In Grade 11, Nathan carried his research further with a project on Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare inherited disorder that causes an amino acid to build up in the body. He presented a platform for disease detection that is inexpensive, accessible and will screen for many diseases. He presented a chemical protocol in looking for amino acids (which are elevated with diseases). The title of his project was “pH-Dependent Colorimetric Assays for Biomarking Amino Acids”. He received the President’s Award for 1st Place Overall at the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair and a Gold Medal at the National Science Fair. Nathan was a TedX Victoria speaker in 2015 called “DIY Diagnostic: A Life-Changing Test for PKU Patients”.
Nathan is one of two students from BC who was selected to compete at the recently held Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona.
Nathan has been the recipient of many academic awards and scholarships, including top academic awards in Grades 9 to 11, the Glenlyon Norfolk Alumni Association Scholarship for academic success and contribution to the school and a Recognition Award for Excellence in International Baccalaureate Personal Project.
It did not surprise us to learn that Nathan has a long term goal of undertaking medical research. He has won a variety of scholarships, including the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship at Queen’s University and a National Scholarship at the University of Toronto, offered annually to approximately ten students from across Canada.
In addition to his passion for science, Nathan has other interests. He speaks five languages: English, Russian, German, Spanish and French (at varying levels of proficiency, he notes). He played basketball on the school team this year and he enjoys movies and hiking with friends. He loves working as a volunteer with younger students who love science. His hope is to inspire them the same way he was inspired by an older student when he was in Grade 9. Another of Nathan’s passions is Ukrainian dance – he has been dancing and competing since age 10. Now, he also teaches Ukrainian dance to 8 to 10 year olds at Victoria’s Veselka Dance group.
Nathan is a very engaging young man who has already accomplished a great deal and will no doubt go on to do ground-breaking medical research. His love of science, his intelligence and high degree of motivation will carry him far and we look forward to hearing a lot more about Nathan’s accomplishments in the future.