Want a VIP invite to the legislature? Start working on a game-changing science project through geekStarter and you might be the next guest.

To celebrate their success on the international stage, the Urban Tundra iGEM team was invited to meet the Honourable Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, at the Legislature this past Tuesday. The students reveled in the incredible opportunity to meet the minister and be introduced in the legislative assembly.

“It was a pleasure to see this team get recognized in the legislature for their incredible work,” says Cassy Weber, CEO at MindFuel. “Programs like geekStarter are providing project-based learning opportunities and mentorship in emerging science, technology and engineering fields like synthetic biology. Alberta’s economy will benefit from the diversity of talent that MindFuel’s geekStarter program is fostering.”

Urban Tundra, a group of 20 Edmonton high school students, joined forces a year ago with a common goal, to make Martian soil spring to life. The Urban Tundra team was inspired by the popular Hollywood drama, “The Martian.”

MindFuel’s geekStarter program supported these students from the germination of this idea right through to the culmination. At the iGEM competition in Boston in October, the team presented its findings alongside 5 other Alberta teams supported by the program.

While at iGEM, Urban Tundra picked up three awards: best poster, best wiki and best presentation.