By Joel van der Veen
REGINA — One of Davidson’s own was among the honourees in this year’s CBC Saskatchewan Future 40.
The CBC contest featured 40 people under the age of 40 who are making their mark in the province.
Nicole Baldwin, currently working on her master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan, was announced as one of the winners on Oct. 25.
Nicole, 24, is the oldest child of Tony and Sandra Baldwin of Davidson. She was nominated in the category of “Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism.”
Her dad and her friend Hayley Willner nominated her for the CBC competition, which began in late September.
Nicole learned she had been nominated in mid-October, and she had some advance warning that she had made it as a finalist, but had to keep the news under wraps.
She said both her nomination and her success came as a surprise, given the crowded field of nominees.
“I had been looking through the nomination profiles,” Nicole said. “I didn’t think I had much of a shot . . . It was a pleasant surprise.”
Nominations were accepted from Oct. 9 through Oct. 17, with a panel of judges selecting the top 40 nominees.
Nicole and Hayley went to the CBC studio in Regina on Oct. 26 for a reception and the presentation of the awards, with most of the winners present.
“Everyone that attended was from such a wide range of backgrounds,” said Nicole, adding that she enjoyed the diverse crowd since she spends most of her days surrounded by fellow toxicologists.
Currently, Nicole is 10 months into her master of science in toxicology. She is working with a team of researchers on a joint project with the U of S and Montreal’s McGill University, funded by Genome Canada.
Their goal is to develop and, eventually, commercialize a tool to assess and prioritize environmental chemicals.
Specifically, the tool will allow researchers to assess the impact of known chemicals — both individually and collectively — on soil, air and acquatic systems.
They will then be able to prioritize those chemicals in terms of their likely environmental impact, allowing them to compare options and determine which one poses the least risk.
Nicole said she hopes to complete her degree within three years, but the project’s five-year timeline means someone else will pick up where she leaves off.
She said she enjoys the self-directed nature of her research work, as well as working with the other researchers on the project.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I’d stay in school forever if they’d let me.”