Ex­per­i­ments send stu­dents Bei­jing bound

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Pe­ter de Krui­jff

■ 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.

Pic­ture: Pe­ter de Krui­jff

Mad­di­son Wil­son, 16, Belinda Ger­ard, Yash Shanbhag, Av­inash Sud­hakaran, 15, Jes­sica Dox­anakis, Dy­lan Muller, 15, Josh Hes­lin, and Kaine Brad­shaw, 15.

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