“Well, my lab partner and I both knew right away that we wanted the project to be at least something cool and interesting to look at,” explains the recent University of Toronto graduate with a double major in Health & Disease (Histology) and Environment & Health, as well as a minor in Biology. “We thought, ‘let’s try an experiment in the realm of microbiology,’ something that could show the stages of decomposition.”
Then the partners got a brilliant idea: fast food burgers. The project could show which foods have antibiotics, preservatives, and chemicals in them and which ones are made of more natural ingredients (way before Burger King did!).
“We bought a bunch of our favourite burgers from around town and then let them essentially sit in our basements and decay for a month,” she says chuckling. “This wasn’t necessarily a scientific breakthrough, but we actually placed at Nationals in Alberta because our teacher helped us frame the presentation in such a way that it was relevant for people in their daily lives.”
And this is something that Aleksandra remembers fondly about her teachers at Hudson: their knack for always making the subject interesting and real to her. “My Grade 12 science teacher used to always make science more about how it affects our lives each day, which made learning difficult concepts much more fun,” she says.
“When my lab partner and I told our other science teacher that we were a little doubtful about people taking our ‘moldy burgers’ project seriously, he totally encouraged us to focus on the main reasons that we were doing it, and what we wanted to prove… He told us that you can make any simple idea an interesting one—something that people care about—as long as you are passionate about it yourself.”
Aleksandra believes strongly that this encouragement still helps her to this day. While at the University of Toronto, she was regularly involved in various activities, owing much of her willingness to dive in and try new things to Hudson. “Hudson taught me to step out of my comfort zone. I was involved in fundraisers and all kinds of things at U of T that I never would’ve thought to sign up for before. I’m definitely grateful for the steady and supportive environment it provided.” With all the confidence she has now, one persistent question still remains: which one of the burgers from her Science Fair project would she be confident eating? Well, let’s just say ‘McDonald’s’ and ‘mold’ both start with ‘M’.
Jan 26, 2023
Dec 15, 2022
Dec 15, 2022