Experiments send students Beijing bound
■ Two Karratha students will travel to China next year to present the findings of their scientific endeavours as the lucky winners of SciTech’s Beijing Bound competition.
St Luke’s College students 16-yearold Maddison Wilson and 15-year-old Avinash Sudhakaran wowed the three-judge panel made up of Scitech Beijing Bound program co-ordinator Belinda Gerard, Rio Tinto Dampier Ports engineering manager John Robertson, and The Smith Family’s Daphne Trevurza.
It will be the second time Avinash has been to China but the first for Maddison.
Avinash said he was nervous about his presentation on how he built on past experiments in Australia to discover efficient techniques for reusing grey water.
He said his anxieties lifted once he began speaking because he was confident in his project and what he’d learnt.
Maddison was ecstatic upon hearing her name called out and classily shook the hands of fellow presenters 15-year-old Dylan Muller and 15-yearold Kaine Bradshaw, who did well presenting their respective topics of stayed bridge cables and alternative energy utilising algae.
In the initial planning stages of her study on how the humble Milkfish benefited the production of salt at the Dampier Salt ponds, Maddison intended to catch and tag fish and later recapture them.
She said the plan changed though and she ended up collecting Milkfish samples and comparing the ear bones (otoliths) with data from a similar study conducted in South East Asia.
St Luke’s head of science Rebecca Loftus said she was proud of all the students who took part in this year’s competition.
She said there was perception metro areas had more opportunities than were available to regional students, but programs like this made her think it was the other way around.
Miss Loftus said the students did well to make the most of the opportunity they had been given.
Ms Gerard said she looked forward to taking the winners to China.
“Beijing Bound gives secondary students in the Pilbara an exciting opportunity to combine a passion for science with their knowledge of the region to make a real contribution to the local science community,” she said.
The program was sponsored by Rio Tinto who also provided graduate students to help guide the competitors.
Maddison Wilson, 16, Belinda Gerard, Yash Shanbhag, Avinash Sudhakaran, 15, Jessica Doxanakis, Dylan Muller, 15, Josh Heslin, and Kaine Bradshaw, 15.