Introducing the team representing Australia at the 2024 International Biology Olympiad!

  • Introducing the team representing Australia at the 2024 International Biology Olympiad! image

Congratulations to the team of students selected to represent Australia at the International Biology Olympiad being held on 7 to 14 July 2024 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The team was honoured at the Australian Olympiad Teams Announcement at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra on 24 June 2024. The ‘blazer ceremony’ was attended by the students and their families, program teams and distinguished guests from science, math and informatics communities, along with Australia’s Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic MP and other Members of Parliament.

Their journey started by sitting the nation-wide Australian Science Olympiad (ASO) Exam in July 2023 before being selected to attend ASO Summer School in January 2024, onsite at the Australian National University. These four students have outperformed thousands of other students in qualifying exams and intensive training to earn their place on the team.

The team have gained immense knowledge and skills during the last year, under the guidance of Program Director, Dr Julie Cooke, and Deputy Program Director, Juliey Beckman, along with a team of biology enthusiasts. The students have been supported by their teachers and schools, along with their families and friends, to reach the prestigious achievement of being selected to represent Australia.

We want to extend our sincere wishes to the Australian team representing us at the International Biology Olympiad in 2024. Your dedication and hard work have been truly inspiring, and we have full confidence in your abilities. Best of luck!

Joel Cheok

Camberwell Grammar School, VIC

Introducing Joel, a year 12 student from Camberwell Grammar School. During Joel’s time at ASO Summer School, he cherished the opportunity to engage in a variety of practical experiments, especially with the advanced equipment of the ANU, across its testing content and many challenges.

His favourite prac experience required the movement of some mealworms with unwieldly tools that were too fiddly – so instead, he picked them up with his hands, catching them every time they squirmed away. Sometimes you just need to go fully hands on!

When reflecting on his summer school experience, Joel describes it as the best two weeks of his life, filled with laughter, learning, and unforgettable moments. Joel most loved learning alongside fellow scientists from a variety of disciplines and passions!

Joel cannot wait for the International Biology Olympiad, and is especially looking forward to meeting scientists from all over the world.

And for the Australian Science Olympiad, his message to fellow science enthusiasts is clear: “Do it! It’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Even if you don’t get into the camp, it’s still a really fun topic to rant about with your friends and a great addition to your resume.”

Outside science, Joel enjoys playing tennis, chess and reading! He also loves writing short poem, making lists and exploring and analysing data. For the future, Joel is excited to learn as much as he can about STEM, whether it be medicine, maths, engineering, IT and more.

Xiaotian Lin

North Sydney Boys High School, NSW

Introducing Xiaotian, a budding biologist, and participant in the International Biology Olympiad. He loves the science of living things because it is so complex and unanimous to our daily lives, especially when so often we don’t even realise it right beneath our fingers and toes!

As he looks ahead towards the International Science Olympiad, Xiaotian feels an immense pride to represent Australian on a global stage. He’s eagerly anticipating the opportunity to learn from and with peers from all across the world, including gaining new insights from biology and broadening his scientific horizons. He can’t wait to travel to a new country, meet new people and do his family and friends back in Australia proud!

When something doesn’t work in experiments or the lab, Xiaotian is a big believer in reflecting on what went wrong so he can improve for next time. He says “try to salve what you can from the situation, then with a bit of luck you won’t make the same mistake next time!”

Outside the lab, Xiaotian is an avid reader with a huge appetite for learning, from books and magazines to nutrition labels, or even random Wikipedia articles! His ultimate dream is to become a biology researcher, a perfect opportunity to grow his passion for sharing knowledge.

Grace Ng

Gippsland Grammar, VIC

Grace can’t wait to travel to Kazakhstan for the International Biology Olympiad, to meet other biology teams, explore Kazakstan and continue fuelling her passion for science across learning and lab skills!

She is particularly fascinated by how interconnected various scientific disciplines are, and how their integration can lead to innovative problem-solving. Despite an equal love for all scientific disciplines, Grace is especially interested in CRISPR technology. She admires how this groundbreaking discovery holds potential for curing diseases and improving nutrition, across the exciting and collaborative nature of scientific advancements, particularly the significant contributions made by women in this field.

Supported by mentors like her school biology teacher, Kathryn White from ASI, and her Curious Minds STEM coach, Grace has learned the importance of perseverance and seeking help. Despite the occasional setbacks in experimental and theory exams at summer school, she remained resilient, always moving forward and doing her best. Grace advises others to seek feedback, plan ahead, and use self-talk to stay calm and focused in the lab.

Outside the realm of science, Grace enjoys a variety of activities, including swimming, hiking, playing music, helping out at Landcare, and spending time at the beach. She dreams of owning a kayak someday. With interests in both emergency medicine, particularly in rural or remote areas, and research on neurological disorders, Grace hopes to find a way to merge these passions in her future career.

Her message to fellow science enthusiasts is clear: “Go for it! If you love science, sitting the exam will probably be a lot of fun, and you never know where it could take you!”

Past ASI Achievements

Grace started her journey by undertaking the Junior Science Olympiad (JSO) Exam in 2020. She was then selected for the JSO Training Squad in 2020/21, an acceleration program for younger students in regional, remote, and low socioeconomic schools who show promise. In 2021, she sat the Big Science Competition, and the JSO Exam for a second time. Grace was selected to participate in Curious Minds – girls in STEM in 2021/22 program.

In 2022, Grace sat the JSO Exam and the Australian Science Olympiad (ASO) Exam in Biology. In 2023, she sat three ASO Exams, in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. She was selected to attend the ASO Summer School for the Biology discipline. Her results, attitude and dedication led to her selection in the team representing Australia in the 2024 International Biology Olympiad.

Kathryn Petersen

Brisbane Girls Grammar School, QLD

Kathryn’s experience in previous Olympiads, including the Junior Science Olympiad Spring School and holiday Math Camps, have shaped her love of science into a both challenging and rewarding passion. She loves both biology and astrophysics, thanks to their continuously new and engaging arising concepts, and in the future Kathryn aspires to become a researcher in one of these fields, or perhaps even both!

Kathryn’s favourite parts of the ASO Summer School at the ANU were the practicals in the lab, even though she admits she hasn’t had much experience with them before. Regardless, she found the hands-on experience incredibly engaging and a highlight of her time of learning in Canberra.

Looking forward to the International Biology Olympiad, Kathryn is excited for the opportunity to meet students from around the world, where she can’t wait to gain a deep understanding of biology and exchange culture cultures with equally interested students from around the world.

Outside of her scientific pursuits, Kathryn enjoys playing the cello, participating in Olympiad math, biking, and video games. Kathryn’s advice to aspiring scientists? “Don’t be afraid to give it a go, even if you don’t think you’ll do well.” And anything else? “Always ask if something is toxic before eating it.”

Past ASI Achievements

Kathryn was selected to attend the Junior Science Olympiad Spring School in 2022


Australia’s International Science Olympiads programs are run by not-for-profit Australian Science Innovations.

The Australian Science Olympiad program is supported by our Major Funder, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, and our University Partner, The Australian National University.

Watch the video of the 2024 Australian Olympiad Teams Announcement here on the ASI YouTube.

Learn more about Australian Science Olympiad program here.

Learn more about the 2024 International Biology Olympiad on their website ibo2024.kza

2024 International Biology Olympiad IBO Australian Team, at the 2024 Australian Olympiad Teams Announcement at Parliament House 24 June 2024

Celebrating at the Australian Olympiad Teams Announcement at Parliament House in Canberra on 24 June 2024, (L to R) Anna Davis, Chair of ASI Board, Dr Julie Cooke, Program Director Biology, Grace Ng, Kathryn Petersen, Xiaotian Lin, Joel Cheok, Juliey Beckman, Deputy Program Director Biology,  and Vanessa Kates, Executive Director ASI.

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