Rebecca Baron


Rebecca Baron is a grade 9 student from Vancouver, Canada. From an early
age, she has been fascinated by science and STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering & Math) activities. She was inspired to conduct science
experiments after learning that poor indoor air quality is a
considerable problem for people living in urban areas. Inspired to find
a clean and efficient way to purify indoor air, Rebecca aimed to reduce
high levels of airborne pollutants using a biological method.

In 2014, Rebecca’s science fair project, “Household Plants, The New
Air Purifiers”, earned her a bronze medal and the Renewable Energy
Award at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in Windsor, Ontario. Her
experiment focused on plants and the rate at which they degraded
airborne chemicals. She identified that the plant, _Selaginella
kraussiana_ was most effective at reducing chemicals emitted by paint
compared to the_ Crassula atropurpurea_. At her regional fair she
received: the Vancouver School Board Award, UBC Life Sciences Award, BC
Science Teacher’s Award and a gold medal.

In 2015, Rebecca decided to extend her project. She continued her
research in order to identify a specific species of bacteria which could
thrive in an indoor plant’s root system when exposed to high
concentrations of airborne formaldehyde (an organic compound commonly
found in paints and adhesives). After exposing the plants to this
chemical, Rebecca discovered that the most prominent colony of bacteria,
_Pseudomonas putida_ (from the phylum _Proteobacteria_), was degrading
high concentrations of formaldehyde from the air. At her regional
science fair she received: the Vancouver School Board Award, the John
O’Connor Award and the chance to showcase her project at the
Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick. At CWSF, she
received the Environmental Challenge Award, an award given to the best
project in the environment category and the Platinum Award, an award
given to the top three projects in Canada.

Rebecca not only loves science, but she also enjoys playing sports,
reading and volunteering. Her favourite activities include: dancing,
gymnastics, biking and skiing. She is a retired competitive rhythmic
gymnast who has competed in numerous competitions across B.C. and
Canada. Over the course of five years, she has received 6 gold medals, 2
silver medals and 19 bronze medals in gymnastics. Next year, she will
continue to study root microbial colonies by observing other symbiotic
relationships between bacteria and plants.


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