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Winnica Beltrano

University of Calgary
University Student, Canada-Wide Science Fair Award Winner

Winnica is a second-year student at the University of Calgary who loves keeping herself busy with the world around her. As an out-of-province student from Winnipeg pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Science, Winnica finds enjoyment in exploring different regions of Canada, while critically thinking about how her education can be utilized to make a meaningful impact in the surrounding community. For the 2016/17 academic year, Winnica was the medicine representative for University of Calgary's First Year Council, and is also currently a member of Let’s Talk Science and the Children’s Health Advocates club at the university.

Winnica began participating in science fairs in fourth grade, with projects ranging from using plants to reduce phosphorus levels in Lake Winnipeg, to developing a manual for a “tractography” program that is currently being used in research labs at the University of Winnipeg and Manitoba. Some of her most memorable experiences include presenting this manual at the Canada-wide Science Fair, participating in SHAD at the University of Calgary, delivering a keynote address at the International Day of the Girl, and interviewing for the QuARMS program, where she was continually inspired by the exciting feats achieved by the many amazing and compassionate students across Canada.

As a first-generation Canadian, Winnica taught herself how to be resourceful at a young age in the face of an environment with limited resources. After taking part in SHAD 2015, Winnica was motivated to extend her early childhood experience to a greater audience. In 2015, Winnica founded Project Pulse Winnipeg, an annual, city-wide conference which aims to connect high school students with individuals working or studying in the health sciences field, as well as external resources like volunteer opportunities, and university degree/career programs. Her determination to bring this conference to Winnipeg stemmed from her desire to increase educational and extra-curricular opportunities for students who may be disadvantaged due to uncontrollable factors like their socioeconomic status or background.

Winnica was also honoured with the 2016 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame scholarship and 2017 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, which greatly reinforced her aspirations to pursue a career in healthcare and health research, while advocating for increased educational resources for youth. With this goal in mind, Winnica was happy to continue her scientific journey by engaging in research surrounding pediatric brain cancer during summer 2017 at the University of Manitoba. At the age of 19, Winnica looks forward to witnessing, and perhaps one day contributing to advances in the scientific community, with the belief that committing to science is committing to a journey of lifelong learning. She is happy to call herself a proud “STEMinist”, and credits much of her success to her mother, sister, and several STEM mentors -- female role models in her life who continue to encourage her pursuits as a young woman in STEM.