Mixing with Asia’s best and brightest (2009)
The Maurice Wilkins Centre sponsored two secondary school students and a teacher to attend an Asian regional science camp.
St Cuthbert’s College student Emily Cole says that going to the 2009 Asian Science Camp in Tsukuba, Japan was an incredible experience. A highlight was attending challenging talks on topics ranging from nuclear energy to how to win a Nobel Prize.
“The lectures were high level, in-depth and unlike anything I had ever heard before … It was both humbling to be in the presence of the Nobel Laureates and uplifting to be able to share in their knowledge,” she says.
Counterpart Andi Liu from Palmerston North Boys’ High School agrees that the camp was a unique opportunity to interact with scientists at the top of their fields.
Andi plans to study biomedical or chemical and material engineering and wants to become a respected scientist. In that role, he says he would encourage students to consider science careers and to apply for opportunities like the science camp.
The Maurice Wilkins Centre was proud to sponsor both students, and Manurewa High School physics teacher Fenella Colyer, to attend the camp. The MacDiarmid Institute sponsored two further New Zealand students, Hugh McHugh and Georgina Stewart.
The camp brings together more than 200 final year high school students and accompanying teachers from in and around the Asia region. It is an invaluable opportunity to learn directly from Nobel Laureates and other eminent scientists working in the fields of physics and chemistry.
Delegates can further develop their interest in science and mix with some of the best and brightest from the region.
Fenella believes that the benefits of such events cannot be overstated. “I attended similar events as a school student and their impact remains with me to this day. You find when students go to events like this that it opens up their eyes to the different fields that they can study. It’s often what finally helps them to make the decision to study science at a higher level,” she says.
“These students will become the scientific leaders of the future. By attending this camp, they’ve already got a head start. They’ve learned about how the language of science can cross barriers and facilitate international co-operation and communication.”
But the students who attended the camp weren’t the only ones to benefit. The teachers also went to all of the lectures and group discussions, and took what they learned back to their own schools.
“Every single lecture I attended I gave back to my students,” says Fenella, who transcribed her notes into a teaching booklet which she used for advanced tutorials with her senior physics students.
Image: Professor Ted Baker presents Emily Cole with her travel sponsorship. Photo courtesy of Amy Campbell