Donovan Cassidy-Nolan

Donovan Cassidy-Nolan is a grade 10 student from Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Donovan has been STEMing since he was very young- making potions in his basement and concocting experiments for his regional fair since grade primary!

Also from a young age, he has played both the violin and piano. Music is a huge part of his life and he enjoys performing with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra as well as the school jazz band and string and fiddle ensembles. He also enjoys both teaching and studying music theory and has a keen interest in promoting access to music for people whose physical limitations mean they cannot easily get out to enjoy it.

This past year Donovan took the opportunity to combine his two main passions in an experiment on science and music. His study examined the development of pitch discrimination in musicians and non-musicians to explore the degree to which pitch might be a learned versus innate capacity. He is fascinated by the neurophysiology of sound perception from eardrum to brain, and enjoys learning about the complex interactions that transform the mechanical pressure waves of sound into the electrical signaling which is ultimately interpreted within the auditory cortex. His study earned him the most innovative project award at his regional science fair and a trip to the CWSF in Windsor, ON where Donovan won a silver medal and a $2000 scholarship to Western University.

Over the summer, Donovan is excited to be interning in a chemistry lab and exploring organic chemistry. He will be working on the synthesis of curcumin analogs, exploring the Indian spice’s already impressive anti-oxidant qualities and the molecular structures that can fight free radical activity in the body. He would love to be able to use his scientific curiosity in practical ways to promote human health and understand how better to prevent and fight disease such as cancer.

In his spare time, Donovan likes to run for his school and community X-Country and track clubs. He also enjoys skiing, backcountry camping and mountain biking. Donovan enjoys exploring all facets of STEM and the door is wide open regarding future study plans. “Currently, I really couldn’t chose any one STEM discipline to pursue; they are all interrelated and I love them all. I do believe that in order to move any discipline science forward, be it zoology or particle physics, creativity is key.”

CWSF 2014 – Windsor, Ontario – Donovan Cassidy-Nolan’s project link:®ionid=

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