Following their passion for science

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Two pupils from Central Otago have been selected to take part in a programme for high academic achievers.

Rory Smith (17), of Alexandra, and Carwen Williams (16), of Cromwell, will attend the Rotary annual Science and Technology Forum in Auckland in January.

Forum assistant director Melanie Waugh said the programme was for outstanding all-round science, maths and technology pupils from across New Zealand.

“The Science and Technology Forum is run in collaboration with Auckland University, Massey University and Auckland University of Technology.

“The students partake in an academic programme that gives them insight into the sort of things they may study and will be exposed to if studying in the fields of science, technology and mathematics at university in the future,” she said.

Carwen said the chance to meet like-minded people was one of the reasons she applied for the forum.

“I really like biology and this year I did a psychology course by long distance, which was really interesting.”

The forum provided opportunities for pupils to connect with specific organisations.

Carwen had chosen to visit Auckland Medical School, Landcare Research Laboratories and The Foodbowl, a research facility operated by New Zealand Food Innovation Network

The forum would help her decide what to study when she went to university.


Bright path . . . Finding out how stuff works drives Rory Smith (17), of Alexandra. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

Rory said it felt “pretty good” to be selected.

It was an opportunity to spend a “full two weeks, full on” attending scientific talks.

The forum will cover a wide range, but of particular interest for Rory is biology.

There was a lot of variety in the topics covered, including food, nutrition, physics and maths, he said.

“You get a feeling for things you enjoy and things you might want to do.”

“I’m looking at something focusing on biology and chemistry.”

Finding out how stuff works was a key interest for Rory.

“There is still tons and tons of stuff no-one knows and it is interesting finding out.”

Rory was interested in understanding genetics and how it could be used to fix inherited diseases or cure cancer.

“You can even study the ethics of biology,” he said.

He looks forward to being able to study and apply that knowledge to everyday life.

Being about to uncover something “no-one has really thought about” was another aspect of science he enjoyed.

The pupils were among 168 selected from around the country to attend the forum, Ms Waugh said.

Grants from local Rotary clubs enabled the pupils to attend.

“They pay for half to two-thirds of the cost for each student.”

The contributions Rotary made “changes kids lives”.