Māori and Pasifika students discovering passion for science

Māori and Pasifika students discovering passion for science

A group of talented Māori and Pasifika pupils from around the country descended on Victoria University of Wellington last week to get a taste of tertiary-level science. From 18-22 January five secondary school pupils with an interest in science participated in the Discovery Awards, sponsored by the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. The week-long programme gives the pupils a residential laboratory experience at either Victoria University or the University of Auckland, and aims to encourage the pupils to continue on to university study. “The pupils get a real opportunity to learn hands-on science and are mentored by our scientists,” says Dr Nicola Gaston from the MacDiarmid Institute. “This year’s programme at Victoria University included sessions on the fabrication of electronic microchips, how magnetic-resonance imaging works, and trips to GNS Science and the Robinson Research Institute.” Alex Marshall, 16, from Invercargill’s Verdon College, says the programme was a great eye-opener. “The teachers talk you through the theory first and then you get a go at doing it yourself, which is exciting. It has definitely helped set me up for science at my last year of college.” Nia Dudson, 17, from Geraldine High School, says it’s the best science course she has attended. “I’ve been on a number already and this course is the best because it was a really small group and you got lots more one-on-one time with the teachers. You can tell the people are passionate here—they really go out of their way to accommodate you and help you understand difficult concepts. “I loved physics before the course, but now I love physics even more. I will definitely study science of some kind at university.”

Discovery Awards

The students were interviewed for ‘Our Changing World’ on RNZ. Listen to the interview here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ourchangingworld