Meet the team representing Australia at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad in Thailand

  • Meet the team representing Australia at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad in Thailand image
Congratulations to Ishika Balram, Emily Xiao, Elliot Sunderland, Oliver Downing, Zhenghao Ou and Qiyang Ning.

Congratulations to the exemplary science students who have been selected to represent Australia at the International Junior Science Olympiad in Thailand from December 1st to 10th, 2023. Carefully chosen after a rigorous selection process, the Australian team consists of six students who participated in the Junior Science Olympiad program throughout 2023, delivered by Australian Science Innovations.

Students who achieved outstanding results in the Junior Science Olympiad exam held across Australia in June 2023 were considered for places at Spring School. During this residential school at the Australian National University in September, 24 students undertake intensive sessions in biology, chemistry and physics, plus other enrichment activities (see photos below). They gained knowledge, skills and experience in a range of scientific areas, and sat a further qualifying exam.

The following exceptional students were then chosen to represent Australia as part of the team at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad:

  • Ishika Balram – Perth Modern School
  • Oliver Downing – Melbourne High School
  • Qiyang Ning – James Ruse Agricultural High School
  • Zhenghao Ou – Cannon Hill Anglican College
  • Elliot Sunderland – Normanhurst Boys’ High School
  • Emily Xiao – James Ruse Agricultural High School

“I would like to congratulate the students who have been selected to represent Australia in Thailand in December, and acknowledge the support of their families, principals and teachers in inspiring these remarkable young people to step outside their comfort zone and reach for the stars.” Anna Davis, Chair of the Board, Australian Science Innovations

The International Junior Science Olympiad is a globally recognised competition, held annually, that features the best and the brightest young science students from over 70 countries around the world. It is an exciting opportunity for students under the age of 16 to explore their interest in science.

Through challenging theoretical and practical tests across various scientific disciplines, competitors will be encouraged to think critically, experiment and solve problems. Not only does this competition encourage students to develop their talents, it also provides an environment for students to connect with people from unique backgrounds and experience different cultures.

The official Team Announcement, also known as the ‘blazer ceremony’, is an opportunity to announce the Australian team and present them with their official team jackets. Held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 at the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University, the team came together with their families and loved ones, officials and supporters to celebrate their achievements.

A Welcome to Country by Warren Daley, Ngunnawal Elder, gave those in attendance the opportunity to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the land and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending the event. The Program Booklet also featured ‘Reach for the Stars (and beyond)’ artwork especially created for Australian Science Innovations by Sarah Richards, a Ngiyampaa woman born on Gadigal land, practising art and living on Ngunnawal/Ngambri country since 2012. 

Australian Science Innovations Executive Director, Vanessa Kates, gracefully conducted the proceedings as Master of Ceremony. She introduced the attendees to Fiona Wright, Board Member on the Australian Science Innovations Board of Directors, who gave an inspiring Welcome Address.

Guest Speaker, Professor Tim Senden BSc (Hons) PhD (ANU) praised and encouraged the team into a future in science, as only fitting of the Director of the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University.

Program Director, Dr Kathryn White, spoke of the dedication and hard work of the exceptional students who were selected to represent Australia, but also those who participated in the programs throughout the year. As Kathryn has noted, “Congratulations to these six students! Congratulations also to all the Junior Science Olympiad students for your sterling work in the exams and during the Spring School. You have shown yourselves to be excellent apprentice scientists and we’re looking forward to seeing you doing a lot more science in the future: both in other Science Olympiads, and in general!”

The team travel to Thailand with Program Director, Dr Kathryn White and Deputy Program Director, Dr Tammy Humphrey. They have also been supported throughout the Junior Science Olympiad program by Deputy Program Director Suren Mendis, and other dedicated staff and supporters, many who were in attendance to congratulate the team.

We are so proud of the Australian team and wish them well at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad.

Program Booklet: Read the Team Profiles and learn more about the Junior Science Olympiad program.

Left to Right: Dr Kathryn White, Junior Science Olympiad Program Director, Emily Xiao, Qiyang Ning, Oliver Downing, Zhenghao Ou, Elliot Sunderland, Ishika Balram with Professor Tim Senden, Director, Research School of Physics, ANU.

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