U of L has two up for ASTech Awards

Youth science program manager Kristy Burke, along with chemistry & biochemistry professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden and his iGEM team are among an impressive list of 25 honourees announced in advance of the Alberta Science and Technology (ASTech) Awards Gala that will take place at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton on Nov. 2, 2012.

The list includes some of the best and brightest in Alberta's science and technology community. The honourees are now officially in contention for the 13 ASTech Awards that will be presented at the gala.

The honourees have been nominated for their leadership, achievements and contributions in the following categories: Research; Applied Research and/or Commercialization of Innovation; Leadership; Impact on Albertans; and Public Awareness.

Kristy Burke (Excellence in Science and Technology Public Awareness)

Burke, the manager of the University of Lethbridge's Destination Exploration youth science programs, has been instrumental in expanding existing programming and establishing new initiatives for southern Alberta youth interested in science.

Since taking over as manager, Destination Exploration, in the form of interactive classroom workshops, exciting summer camps, after school Science Clubs, birthday parties and numerous other outreach programs, reaches more than 1,300 youth each year. Through the programs offered by Destination Exploration, Burke exposes students to science in a fun and engaging way, providing valuable opportunities for aspiring scientists throughout southern Alberta to receive quality instruction and encouraging excellence not only in science but also in professional and career endeavours.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden and the University of Lethbridge iGEM team (Excellence in Science and Technology Public Awareness)

Over the last five years, Dr. Wieden has been instrumental in creating and mentoring one of Canada's best teams of undergraduate students in the prestigious iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team competition, the purpose of which is to promote the advancement of science and education by developing an open community of students and practitioners in schools, laboratories, research institutes and industry.

iGEM provides Dr. Wieden a different way of teaching science while giving back to the community that helped him establish his career. The U of L iGEM team is comprised of students from around Alberta and across Canada. The students are passionate about their iGEM experience and are ambassadors for the program and science education in general, both on campus and abroad.

With iGEM, Dr. Wieden aims to bring the essence of scientific research to the undergraduate level, helping create the next generation of science entrepreneurs.

The ASTECH Awards are the premiere acknowledgement of scientific and technological achievement in Alberta. The awards have grown to encompass more than a dozen distinct categories. Collectively, the honourees demonstrate the abundance of outstanding work occurring in Alberta's science and technology community.

For more information about specific awards, visit