Alicia Macmillan

Alicia is a grade 11 student at South Colchester Academy in Brookfield, Nova Scotia. Alicia was always interested in STEM, with natural curiosity that made her search for answers. However, her interest in science heightened two years ago when she began taking biology in school. As part of her biology course, Alicia began her first science fair project, Electro-Grow. Electro-Grow focused on stimulating the emergence rates of soybean seeds by exposing the seeds to different voltages of electricity. The aim of the project was to maximize the growing season of soybeans as they are an important crop in Canada. At her regional fair, Alicia won the Agricultural Awareness Award, a silver medal, and was selected to attend Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) 2013. At CWSF she won a bronze medal in the intermediate discovery category.  CWSF was such a great experience, with so many like-minded people that Alicia was determined to go again in 2014!

Alicia’s 2014 project was on microbial fuel cells. Microbial fuel cells are an emerging technology which use the electrons produced in the metabolic reactions of anaerobic bacteria to create electricity. As the bacteria consume the organic material found in wastewater it cleans wastewater simultaneously. The conventional electrode material used in microbial fuel cells, platinum, is toxic to several microbes and overly expensive, which limits practical use. Alicia tested aluminum, steel and stainless steel to try to determine a practical alternative to platinum. At her regional fair, Alicia won the Fundy Composting Environmental Award, the Agricultural Awareness Award, an Acadia University entrance scholarship, St. Mary’s University Scientific Achievement Award, Best Practical Application, a gold medal, the senior energy award, and was selected to go to CWSF again.

Alicia also plays soccer, basketball and figure skates. She volunteers with her school’s Interac Club and the Truro Figure Skating Club’s Canskate program teaching children how to skate. Alicia was nominated as a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award as a result of these contributions to her school and community. To other students interested in STEM or science fairs, Alicia strongly encourages that you become involved as it leads to many life-changing experiences!


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