The Stargazer Alumnae, Athletics, News

This month we shine the light on Carina Choi '22, a high performing gymnast part of our Elite Athlete programme, enterprising future leader Amelia Markson '24 and Class of 2014 alum Alyssa Francavilla.

Shining Alumna: Alyssa Francavilla '14

Alyssa Francavilla has been studying Food Science at Guelph University and will be elevating her studies in pursuing a Masters of Science Degree this Fall. Alyssa explains that food Science is a multi-disciplinary field involving chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology, and engineering. The basis of the discipline lies in understanding the chemistry of food components (such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water), and the reactions they undergo during processing and storage. Understanding these processes is important when developing new products in the food industry, as well as for maintaining food safety.

Food Scientists are in demand, as the food industry is growing rapidly to satisfy consumer demand for safe, convenient, and healthy food products. While food science can lead to careers in quality assurance, regulation, engineering, and packaging. Alyssa’s ultimate goal is to become a product developer. This involves designing new food products for the market. This could mean anything from designing completely new products, to reducing the cost of a current product, to incorporating healthier elements to an existing product.

As a student at the University of Guelph, Alyssa took multiple opportunities to practice these skills, both through co-op jobs, and by participating in extracurricular product development (PD) competitions. As the team captain for a group of food science students, we participated in four competitions, and placed every time. The most recent competition challenged us to develop an innovative use for soybeans (Project SOY), for which we created okara flour and incorporated it into a gluten free flour replacement, as well as gluten free baking mixes. Okara is the soybean meal remaining from tofu and soymilk production, so by drying this into a flour we were able to utilize a waste by-product as a value added ingredient, since okara is very high in protein and fibre. Alyssa and her team placed second in this competition. They also competed in a PD competition based in the US, for IFT (Institute of Food Technologists), called Smart Snacks for Kids, wherein we created a healthy ‘pop tart’ like product that was meant to replace sugar filled school snacks.

For this competition Alyssa travelled to Chicago to present our product at the annual conference for the IFT. She and her team placed third out of more than 25 competitors. The Food Science program at Guelph also afforded her the opportunity to travel to Germany for a summer to participate in a lab exchange program, which affirmed her interest in research, and informed her decision to attend graduate school. She will be returning to Guelph in the fall to start a Master’s programme where she will be studying coloured wheat. The purpose of the project, which is funded by both the government and industry sponsors, is to remove the coloured compounds (anthocyanins) from the wheat bran and stabilize them so that they can be incorporated into baked goods. Anthocyanins are antioxidant compounds, so these would increase the nutritional content of the baked goods.

Alyssa’s efforts will undoubtedly have far reaching benefits to the food industry and we are so proud of her contributions to research in pursuit of healthier food products. Everyone at HNMCS cannot wait to see what Alyssa’s research will unveil.

Carina Choi

This year Carina Choi '22 was an active competitor in Level 7 of artistic gymnastics. She participated in 3 competitions scoring high eights and nines on almost all 4 events. This helped her to achieve 2nd overall in many of her competitions. Describing the season she's had Carina said "I love gymnastics with all my heart and I would say that the uneven bars are my favourite event."


Amelia Markson

Earlier this spring, Amelia Markson '24 embarked on a new experience. It was her first day of service as a legislative page. "I was bright eyed and amazed as my fellow pages and I entered the historic Ontario legislative chamber", says Amelia.

Each year approximately 150 young students from across Ontario are selected to participate in Ontario's Legislative Page Program. This unique educational experience for Ontario students attending grades 7 or 8 provides an opportunity to experience the provincial legislature in action and forge new lifelong friendships with peers from all over province!


The program is designed for outgoing, high-achieving, community-involved students who have demonstrated responsibility and leadership. Legislative Pages meet key parliamentary and political figures, and learn first-hand about Ontario’s Parliament and the legislative process. The term of duty is established according to the Parliamentary Calendar, and is typically from two to four weeks in length. Read more