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Upward trend in girls making the Australian Science Olympiads team

Girls bust gender stereotypes by making up nearly half of the science teams

Teams announcement at Parliament House, Canberra, 19 June 2017

Seventeen of Australia’s best student biologists, chemists, physicists and Earth scientists have made the teams to represent Australia at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads in July and August. They will compete in the world’s toughest science competitions against some of the smartest kids in the world.

Almost half of the science students (47%) putting their skills to the test for Australia this year are girls – equalling 2015’s highest representation of girls since Australia first began competing.

Three of the girls who have won places on the 2017 International Science Olympiads teams decided to try out after participating in Curious Minds, a national academic and mentoring program to empower Year 8 and 9 girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), funded by the Federal Government and jointly run by Australian Science Innovations (ASI) and the Australian Mathematics Trust.

“It is encouraging to see that early mentoring of highly capable female students during the Curious Minds program has helped inspire them to participate and succeed in the competitive national selection process for the International Science Olympiads. By bringing girls and mentors together the program helps counter the common stereotypes that STEM is not for girls,” says ASI’s Executive Director Ruth Carr.

The Year 11 and 12 students picked to compete this year represent 12 schools from NSW, VIC, QLD and the ACT. They have spent a year in exams and intensive training to make the cut. They outperformed 5,015 other students from more than 300 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 93 to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the Olympiads.

The students will test their skills against the world’s best in competitions taking place in England (Biology), Thailand (Chemistry), France (Earth Science) and Indonesia (Physics).

“It’s an honour to represent Australia and I look forward to applying the knowledge I’ve learned so far in this program and gaining new skills as I compete against some of the world’s best physics students,” says Claire Yung from Narrabundah College in Canberra, who will compete at the 2017 Physics Olympiad.

“The Australian Science Olympiads program is future-proofing Australia’s pipeline of problem-solvers, innovators and game changers. It captures the attention of high-achieving students at a critical stage, exposing them to advanced learning at an international level.  For most, it marks the beginning of a successful future in STEM,” says Professor Ian Chubb, former Chief Scientist and Patron of Australian Science Innovations.

Students wanting to challenge themselves at next year’s International Science Olympiads can register for the Australian Science Olympiad Exams by 19 July at www.asi.edu.au.

The Australian team members for the International Science Olympiads are:

International Biology Olympiad
20 to 23 July, Coventry, England
Angus Cramond Year 12 Balwyn High School VIC
Katherine Johnson Year 12 North Sydney Girls High School NSW
Anne Pham Year 12 Balwyn High School VIC
Anna Sing Year 12 The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School VIC
International Chemistry Olympiad
6 to 15 July, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Ada Fang Year 12 Sydney Girls High School NSW
Ivan Hou Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Brandon Lee Year 12 Sydney Grammar School NSW
Dylan Siow-Lee Year 12 Sydney Grammar School NSW
International Physics Olympiad
16 to 24 July, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Bentley Carr Year 12 Sydney Grammar School NSW
Steven Liu Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Yuyu Ma Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Nishka Tapaswi Year 12 Hornsby Girls’ High School NSW
Claire Yung Year 12 Narrabundah College ACT
International Earth Science Olympiad
22 to 29 August, Côte d’Azur, France
Jemima Jeffree Year 11 Indooroopilly State High School QLD
Joshua Lee Year 12 Barker College NSW
YiJie Neo Year 12 John Monash Science School VIC
Chen Zhou Year 12 North Sydney Boys High School NSW

Learn more about the Australian Science Olympiad Competition at: www.asi.edu.au

MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO:

Debra Maynard on 0407 299 007 or 02 9665 7182, or

Yelena Ramli on 0451 124 050 or 02 6125 6282.