Introducing the team representing Australia at the 2024 International Earth Science Olympiad!

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

Congratulations to the team of students selected to represent Australia at the International Earth Science Olympiad being held on 8 to 16 August 2024 in Beijing, China.

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 Co-Program Director, Greg McNamara, Co-Program Director, Dr Leslie Almberg, and Deputy Program Director, Wayne Wong, along with a team of Earth science 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 Earth Science Olympiad in 2024. Your dedication and hard work have been truly inspiring, and we have full confidence in your abilities. Best of luck!

Tanya Qiu Ting Chi

Ravenswood School for Girls, NSW

Tanya’s love for Earth sciences began with her curiosity for its how ubiquitous it is with the modern world, especially as our planet continues to change its climate and equilibrium constantly ebbs and flows. She’s also a fan of chemistry, enjoying its wild reactions and self-igniting substances.

Tanya is inspired by Jemma Jeffree, a PhD candidate and lecturer at the ASO Summer School, whose enthusiasm for climate science is contagious. Tanya’s favourite memories include experimenting with her friend Cathy, where their shared passion for science has inspired many laughs, of course turning to each other upon the discovery of new and exciting facts of science.

She is also very appreciative of the engaging lessons from ASO Summer School teachers, who made complex topics accessible and exciting by explaining tangentially related topics, that turn out to be incredibly interesting. Tanya explains “that’s what makes science amazing—the more you learn, the more you understand how everything sings together.”

Tanya’s interests extend beyond science; she loves Model United Nations, prose poetry, and exploring early internet culture. Her future goals are inspiring: she aims to enter medicine, specialize in psychiatry, work for an international non-profit, and eventually revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry—all while possibly owning some environmentally friendly goats.

For those hesitant about taking the Olympiad plunge, Tanya advises embracing nihilism: “You are a bundle of atoms on a massive rock in space. Don’t worry about exam scores; have an existential crisis instead!”

Kevin Hao

Knox Grammar School, NSW

Kevin discovered his passion for Earth sciences through documentaries such as the likes of David Attenborough and his school’s science syllabus. Despite this encouragement into science and a natural curiosity about the world around us, it wasn’t until attending the Earth and Environmental Science Summer School in 2023 that he realised just how exciting this discipline could be.

Although COVID-19 prevented him from enjoying many activities that year, he eagerly returned in 2024, thrilled to participate in the field trip and Team Field Investigation, and to make new friends from across Australia.

Kevin’s favourite aspect of the geosciences is how interconnected and practical the field is, encompassing chemistry, physics, and biology. At the International Earth Science Olympiad, Kevin can’t wait to solving practical problems within a project-based setting and working with fellow geoscientist students from across the world. He’s also super grateful to be surrounded by friends and teachers that share his passion for science and learning.

While a concrete career plan is yet to be confirmed for Kevin, he’s passionate about the possibility of working on climate change issues in Earth and Environmental science. He’s inspired by many teachers, academics, researchers and science-enthusiasts alike, saying “you don’t need a Nobel Prize or a publication in Nature Journal to be doing impressive, impactful work.”

To anyone considering participating in the Olympiad, Kevin says, “Give it a try! You’ll never know how amazing it can be unless you give it your best shot!”

Joel Tan

John Monash Science School, VIC

Joel’s fascination with science began in primary school, thanks to his teacher Mrs. Gilligan, who nurtured his curiosity about the world. He loves the intersection between technology and science, and finds inspiration from innovations such as AlphaFold, the AI protein that predicts protein folding from amino acid sequences to advance medical research.

At the ASO Summer School, Joel loved the opportunity to meet friends from a diverse array of backgrounds, as well as experiencing a deep delve into various scientific topics. From lectures, to excursions, to chatting with like-minded peers, Joel loved sharing knowledge and stories and can’t wait to do it again at the International Sciences Olympiad.

In addition to his scientific interests, Joel enjoys playing the piano and cello and even dabbles in music creation! He loves learning about computers and programming, astronomy, and climate systems. He tells us “the scale of these things just fascinates me – from the really small (like semiconductors!) to the really *really* big (like Earth, stars and space)!”

Looking ahead, Joel doesn’t have a specific career path mapped out, but he hopes to inspire others to pursue science and appreciate the excitement of discovery, through opportunities just like the International Science Olympiad. Joel’s advice? “Go for it! You never know where you might end up. At the very least, the experience will give you a taste of how far these fields can go, making it all worth it.”

Carolyn Wang

Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney, NSW

Carolyn’s passion for science was ignited at the Junior Science Olympiad Academy, where she finds chemistry particularly magical across its fascinating reactions and balance of theory and calculation. Her highlight from ASO Summer School held at the ANU was seeing fossils in their natural ‘habitat’ during the field trip, especially having the ability to identify these fossils in the wild and see these stratigraphic structures outside a classroom of diagrams and schematics.

Carolyn gives her appreciation to Dr. Kathryn White, head of the Junior Science Olympiad program, who inspired her to bounce back when results of an experiment don’t immediately work out! Post experiments, she tells other scientists to “consider why the experiment or exam went wrong and figure out where you can improve or fix those errors. This gives you control as you have the power to change future outcomes!”

In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys cooking new recipes by fusing different cuisines, as well as loving to make clay figurines and experimenting with different styles of art.

She loved how the culture of the ASO Summer School encouraged every participant to be curious and open to learning new things, and she can’t wait to meet and learn with more similar peers during the International Science Olympiad. Especially in the context of Earth Science, Carolyn is especially curious to see the similarities and differences between how the Science of our Planet is taught!

Previous ASI Achievements

After competing in the Big Science Competition in 2022, Carolyn Wang was selected to participate in the JSO Academy and JSO Spring School of that year. Her enthusiasm for Earth and Environmental Science shone through as she sat the Australian Science Olympiad Exam and was invited to attend the Summer School in both 2023 and 2024. Carolyn will represent Australia in China later this year as a member of the International Earth Science Olympiad team.

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 ASI YouTube.

Learn more about Australian Science Olympiad program here.

Learn more about the 2024 International Earth Science Olympiad on their website

Celebrating at the Australian Olympiad Teams Announcement at Parliament House in Canberra on 24 June 2024 (L to R) Anna Davis, Chair of the ASI Board, Dr Leslie Almberg, Co-Program Director, the Australian team for the 2024 International Earth Science Olympiad IESO, along with Vanessa Kates, Executive Director ASI.

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