What will the future look like? Team up and find out.
Project-based learning in cutting-edge STEM
Let students team up and tackle real-world projects, and they will move mountains. It’s that kind of opportunity that the geekStarter program provides.
geekStarter engages students in finding and solving authentic problems, and building solutions based in emerging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The project-based learning experience culminates in inspiring community events and prestigious international competitions, where students share their research and innovations with other young scientists as well as with leaders in STEM. Through emphasis on multi-media presentations and networking, these events provide students with opportunities to celebrate their successes and build a community of peers across Alberta and the world.
When Alberta Innovates first started the program in 2009, the goal was to support undergraduate student teams from Alberta in acquiring and developing research skills in the newly emerging field of synthetic biology, and to prepare them for the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition held annually in Boston, Massachusetts (United States).
Since then, geekStarter has developed into a program rich with opportunities for Alberta’s high school and university students. It expanded beyond synthetic biology into other STEM areas, such as new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Nanotechnology (Nano), and continued its emphasis on critical 21st century skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and sustainable practices.
Over the years, geekStarter teams have had success not only in iGEM but in other renowned worldwide competitions too, such as Microsoft Imagine Cup, ACM ICPC (Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest), BIOMOD, and First Robotics. Many program alumni found their passion during their geekStarter experience and were inspired to pursue studies in areas related to their geekStarter projects. Others have turned their geekStarter experience into creating companies and employment opportunities in the fields of synthetic biology, Nano, and ICT.
As a program currently delivered by MindFuel with funding and support from Alberta Innovates, geekStarter continues to offer Alberta’s youth exceptional research and entrepreneurial experiences and to prepare them in exponential technologies and emerging STEM fields such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and new information and communication technologies. The support available includes financial assistance, learning resources and workshops, as well as access to mentors and subject matter experts from relevant fields.
Interested in learning more about geekStarter?
Click here to view our onboarding slideshow.
Project Manager, geekStarter
Events & Deadlines
- May 26
High School Jamboree – Canmore
- May 27
iGEM High School Workshop – Canmore
Mentors & Experts
- Synthetic Biology Guidebook for iGEM High School Teams
- Amino Labs
- Introduction to Biology – MIT online course
- EdX Innovation & Entrepreneurship Courses
- Y Combinator Resources for Startups
- How to build a startup – The Lean LaunchPad
- Mini Lean Startup Activity Booklet
Join our geekStarter Newsletter