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AIRBORNE – Gavin Howells, left, of Team Yukon goes airborne in an game against Alberta on Aug. 9 at the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games. Photo courtesy of SARAH LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Gavin Howells recipient of youth achievement award

Gavin Howells has been named as one of the recipients of the Outstanding Youth Achievement Awards by the Yukon Government.

By Morris Prokop on September 21, 2022

Gavin Howells has been named as one of the recipients of the Outstanding Youth Achievement Awards by the Yukon Government.

Howells, 18, was surprised by the award.

“It was like, totally out of the blue and something that I didn’t expect … but I was so happy to hear about it,” he said.

“It was just like, a big surprise. Definitely I felt super happy, super honoured ... it’s a wonderful achievement. Still almost surreal to have posters of me around town.”

According to a YG press release, Howells was the first Yukon student to receive gold medals in both the junior and senior categories of the Canada Wide Science Fair. He represented Team Canada at the MILSET International Science Fair in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and presented his research to Prime Minister Trudeau. He also played on the Yukon 2022 Canada Summer Games soccer team.

“I guess it started with science fairs and then soccer in Grade 7,” related Howells. “I just always tried to do my best in school and my extracurricular activities and it’s not that it’s ever felt like a chore. I’ve always enjoyed doing the activities that I’ve done.

“And more recently with the science fair outreach, judging science fairs and other stuff like reffing soccer – it’s just been really good to give back to my community because the reason I was able to do all these things was because I had so many people who were supporting me. So many people in Science Fair that were supporting me, soccer coaches, teachers, and then of course my parents were just like, there for me all the time and many other people in the community.”

Along the way, Howell has had tremendous support from his parents and a couple of key mentors.

“I’ve had so much support from my parents, especially my mom with science fair projects,” recalled Howells. “For my vaping project, she would go and get the vaping liquid and e-cigarettes for me because I couldn’t, so I could experiment with them.

“I have to extend a huge thank you to Michael Gallant ... he was one of the people who nominated me. My favourite teacher, probably … he just inspired me a lot to stick with science and that’s why I’m here in university. One of the reasons why I decided to go into microbiology is he – like, my science fairs, he just showed me more (of) what was possible and helped prepare me.

Gallant was Howells’ science and biology teacher in Grade 10.

“And then a big thank you to David Michayluk, who was the other person who nominated me … the way I met him was through (Canada Wide) Science Fair. He was a chaperone at the science fair in … New Brunswick. He was an awesome, fun chaperone, like, an amazing guy to talk to and then he’s been an amazing support. He let me present my research to his class. He’s helped connect me with Science Fair people for like, judging science fairs and trying to stay involved with science fairs and he’s really helped with that, so he’s just been a great connection to the science fair world and another great mentor for me.

“He helped me get my whole public outreach campaign started, which was a big part of my project.”

Howells is studying for a degree in microbiology at the University of Victoria.

“I intend to continue with it. My aspirations are to become a doctor someday, so I’m doing my best to do well in university and have lots of good extracurriculars in university too so I can get into med school.

“I’m really interested in microbiology because of my science fair projects, and then in biology class, that was the part of biology that I was really interested in, was micro-organisms and how they relate to all sorts of parts of our daily lives. I’m trying to do it as a basis, so it’s like an undergraduate degree before med school. Probably looking towards immunology as a specialization in med school,” he added.

Howells currently plays soccer for Bays United in the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

“I’m playing with a local Division 1 team right now in Victoria. That’s a couple nights a week and then games. Maybe I’ll try to be involved in intramurals. I don’t know if I’ll have time, though. And then there’s a couple of clubs – we just had our club day, so I was looking at a couple of clubs I was interested in, too.

“I’m learning a lot about soccer here, having only played with one team my entire life.”

Howells had a memorable soccer experience at the 2022 Canada Summer Games.

“It was awesome. Our team performed really well. It was a lot of fun.”

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