Competition unearths junior scientists on the rise

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Competition unearths junior scientists on the rise

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Published on 6 November 2014

The next generation of junior scientists received a $4,000 boost to their future studies recently at the annual USC 2014 Science Research Awards.

The awards, held at USC on 23 October, encouraged 93 primary and secondary school students from 17 schools across the Sunshine Coast region to submit scientific research and explain it to a panel of judges.

Research projects covered a range of topics, including the effect of air resistance on drag using archery, how the magnetic field inside a slinky works, and the effect caffeine has on memory.

USC Science Education Project Officer Ms Susan Lanham said the competition was ideal for unearthing the hidden scientific and research talent in the region

“The USC Science Research Awards helps nurture and challenge the minds of our next generation of scientists,” she said. “It also gives students an opportunity to engage with scientific academics from a range of backgrounds and strengthen their existing communication skills.”

Competition judge and Acting Science Head of Department at James Nash State High School Dr Manju Prasad said the calibre of the students was exceptional.

“The quality of the research conducted by the participants is second to none, it keeps getting stronger every year,” Dr Prasad said. “In fact many of their ideas will likely be used by teachers at other schools to inspire their own students.”

Major prize-winners were: Callum Sprott and Hudson Meads of James Nash State High School (senior scientist award); Liam Morey and Lauren Ward of Siena Catholic College (junior scientist award) and Tia Dullard of James Nash State High School (three-minute thesis competition winner).

The top three scientists in each category were:

Year 12 – Jayden Fitzsimon of St John’s College first, Emma Walsh of Mountain Creek State High School second, and Vanessa Baker and Kaileigh Richards of James Nash State High School third.

Year 11 – Annabelle Webber of Chancellor State College first, Aimee Nash of Fraser Coast Anglican College second, and Jasraaj Singh of Nambour State High School third.

Years 6 and 7 – Julianna Marks and Rachel Cutforth of Meridan State College first, Olivia Torrisi and Maddy Clark of Meridan State College second, and Laura Hayes, Emily Oxenford and Amanda Stephens of Meridan State College third.

— Jessica Halls

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