Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Varsha Jayasankar is a freshman in the Integrated Science program at McMaster University. She graduated from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School (St. Catharines) in 2014. Varsha was born in the United States, before moving to Canada in 2002. Her major interests include microbiology, biochemistry and the environment, the central themes of her science fair projects since grade 6. Since 2011, Varsha has been researching the antimircobial properties of mango ginger, a root vegetable of southern India. For this research, she has won many accolades and awards in science fairs, including gold at the 2013 CWSF, Second Place at the National Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge 2014 and a best-in-fair at the 2014 and 2012 NRSEF. Varsha’s efforts helped her win the Secondary Age Environmentalist award in the Niagara region in 2013. Varsha was also featured in MacLean's Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the Toronto Star for her research. She is in numerous philanthropic activities such as fundraising to facilitate eye surgeries to the less-fortunate in India and donating to orphanages. Music is also one of Varsha’s interests, receiving honours in grade 8 piano and participating in her high school’s orchestra, playing the violin. She was also a member of her high school's Reach team, qualifying for the Ontario Provincial Championships twice. Varsha was also a member of her school’s gymnastics team, specializing on the balance beam and vault.