Fraser Head’s impact on the Canadian science fair community spans over five decades, driven by his dedication to fostering youth engagement in science. As a leader in the Calgary Youth Science Fair Society (CYSFS), Fraser has nurtured curiosity and scientific exploration among thousands of young minds. His efforts in recruiting and training volunteers have been crucial to the society’s growth.

Beyond Calgary, Fraser has influenced national science education through his roles in the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) and Youth Science Canada. His work has shaped policy and practice, enhancing science fairs across Alberta and Canada. Fraser’s commitment to mentoring young scientists and supporting educators has left a lasting mark, inspiring generations and affirming his status as a champion of science education.

Fraser has been appointed an Honourary Member for Life with both Youth Science Canada and the Calgary Youth Science Fair Society. The Calgary Youth Science Fair Society also sponsors a major award in Fraser’s name.

Thoughts From Our Members

Alex Gierus

I remember getting started at the Calgary Youth Science Fair as a volunteer member.  Meetings were around a giant boardroom table every Thursday.  Sitting around that table were all sorts of people of various demeanor, age, experience.  Most conspicuous to me, as a new volunteer, were a few “wise elders”.  They knew everything about the science fair because they had built it;  lived it for years – I later discovered decades.  Fraser was one of them.

He was a beacon of confidence and leadership.  I noticed that his committee had the most difficult, sustained, and heavy workload, yet the volunteers working with him loved it!  Fraser had a kind of gravity around him that compelled people toward the missions he provided.  His goals always seemed pure; he wanted the best and most valuable experience for participants be they students or teachers or members or his team.  Within that complex world, he created an environment of natural order.  You succeeded by going with his flow, which was clear and rational and something you just wanted to do.  Things always made sense when you were around Fraser.

Those are my limited direct impressions.  I know that in the decades before me and the years that I watched from my committees, he solidified a legendary reputation.  Fraser was obviously a great man from the moment I became aware of him. Despite retiring from active membership years ago, his contribution is manifest today in the form and artifacts of the Calgary Youth Science Fair Society, and the stories of its members.  I am lucky to have known Fraser even a little, and to know others who knew him.  Some of his best qualities “rubbed off” on those who spent time with him, and they in turn became a little more excellent too.

Fraser, thank you.

Chuck Buckley

Thank you, Fraser, for your leadership over the decades at the Calgary Youth Science Fair. Your influence will continue for a very long time. Your caring, passionate response to decision making is a model we all aspire to. When faced with a difficult decision for the Calgary Youth Science Fair (and elsewhere in life), I often think hard about how Fraser (and Terry Allen) would respond. You and Terry made an incredible team – modelling for all of us at the Calgary Youth Science Fair how working together creates superior results.

Your catch-phrase “Fun, Positive, and Educational” as a summation of the experiential goals for the Calgary Youth Science Fair will live forever. I will always remember your signature: “Yours in Fun Science.”

Rest easy, dear friend, knowing that your legacy will live on in the lives you so generously touched.

Katrina Watson

Fifteen years ago, as a relatively new teacher, my principal volun-told our staff that we would be judging at the Calgary Youth Science Fair (CYSF) as part of our professional development day. At the time I had no idea it would be the start of one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I immediately loved Science Fair, the students, the projects, the overwhelming sense of community and it was right then that I began volunteering with the CYSF Board of Directors.

It was here that Fraser Head took me under his wing. For the next decade I worked under the direction of Fraser in the Entries Committee. During this time Fraser was the best mentor I could have asked for. He answered my many (MANY) questions with kindness, humour and with the depth of his vast knowledge of CYSF. He taught me how to stand-up for myself, and my committee, in a way that was both forthright and respectful. He truly was in it for the students, for the kids and I felt like I was included as one of those “kids”.

Fraser had so much patience and waited until I, and the rest of the Entries Committee was more than prepared, before he stepped back from his role as Chair. It has been almost 5 years since then but I still ask myself “what would Fraser say” when I am faced with a tricky question. Or “how would Fraser handle this” when I’m not sure what to do. I have adopted his signature “Yours in Fun Science” and every time I sign off on an email I hope I do it justice.

The positive impact Fraser Head has had on myself, on CYSF and on Calgary is immeasurable. I feel grateful and proud to call Fraser a friend.  

Amberly Dooley

In preparation for, and at, the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) 2005 in Vancouver, BC Fraser and I crossed paths on more than one occasion. Upon learning I was relocating to Calgary, Fraser was keen to recruit me as a Calgary Youth Science Fair (CYSF) member; something he did for many folks over the years to help support and grow the CYSF board. Within days of starting a new job in Calgary, my phone rang (not sure I even knew the number yet!) and it was Fraser with an invite to the CYSF meeting that coming Thursday. Fraser always generously gave of his time in pursuit of mentoring and encouraging others in support of encouraging Calgary youth to pursue science fair endeavours. As his email signature has always said, he is truly, “yours in fun science!”.

John Langman

It was 40 years ago that I was recruited by Fraser to join science fair and develop a new computer program to run the fair. Little did I know then that Fraser and I would become good friends and share many brain storming sessions on how to handle various things dealing with the fair. The friendship was always the important part of that chemistry between us though so thank you Fraser for being a good friend and always having time to chat. 

Leo Fung

I met Fraser well before I joined the Calgary Youth Science Fair society – he was actually my principal at Guy Weadick Elementary while I was there from grades 1-4.  When I joined the CYSFS in 2006, he was still the repository of wisdom and knowledge I had grew up around, and I can say without a doubt that his presence and company in my life has made me a better person.  Just like in school, a lot of his values and problem solving techniques rubbed off on me, along with his tenacity and patience in tackling big problems.  Rest easy, good sir – the ‘fun science’ in your message valedictions and email signature will forever be a part of my life.

Lindsay Booth

When I was asked to join science fair 15 years ago, it was the dynamic duo of Arnold and Fraser who made me feel so excited to join the organization. Fraser’s passion for science fair was infectious, and that didn’t dissipate in the nearly 50 years he was involved. In the many roles he had, his love for education and inspiring youth were always at the forefront. I loved having candid conversations with him about the rewards (and challenges) that went along with being a teacher- I always thought how I would have loved the opportunity to work alongside him in a school setting, but realized how lucky I was to have had nearly ten years in CYSF with him.

Fraser, know that your impact on so many is one that will forever be treasured and those who are lucky enough to know you are better off because of it.

Shawna Christensen

Thank you Fraser for guiding CYSF for five decades through your leadership expertise, time, effort and all the excellent advice you have given me and CYSF over the years.  I included a photo of the Calgary Host Committee from CWSF 1986, the first year I was involved with the fair.  I thought you would enjoy seeing all the other Hosts, most of whom were and are (Craig Dunbar) long term Directors.

You encouraged me to join the CYSF executive as VP when I was in my 20’s.  Your faith in me instilled a lot of confidence going forward in other parts of my life as well.  You are a rock (big geology compliment) and were always there as a voice of reason.  In 2019 you told me to not wait too long to retire as there were lots of great things to do besides working.  Sage advice which I thought of when I retired in 2021.   

You have such a positive impact on so many people including myself, and CYSF is one of your wonderful legacies.  I am proud to have you as my friend and smile when I remember the Fraser “Yours in fun science”.