Success stories: Meet the 2022 Australian Science Olympiad Summer School students!

Lydia Colla

Australian Science Olympiad Physics Summer School

My physics teacher recommended I sit the Australian Science Olympiad Exams for physics and chemistry. After I took the exams, I was definitely taken aback – they were a lot harder than expected! They were definitely challenging, but in that sense it was worthwhile (and interesting) to be exposed to a higher level of science.

I’m currently in the physics summer school but I’m also interested in chemistry. I love that the topics we’re covering in the physics summer school are also applicable to chemistry, meaning I can apply my knowledge of one science to the other.

I’ve loved learning about mechanics at summer school, most of all how we use calculus within mechanics. Aside from science, I love mathematics, so I love seeing how we can use different parts of math within physical problems. At school we have a calculus-free physics course, so this aspect of physics is definitely new to me and something I’ve enjoyed being exposed to.

After I graduate high school, I know that I definitely want to study something STEM related, but I’m not certain of the exact course. However, this summer school has helped me realise that I do want to pursue something physics-related, and continue learning in this field at a university level.

 

Shanna Heath

Australian Science Olympiad Physics Summer School

My school provides a lot of opportunities to participate in extension programs. I’ve sat the Australian Science Olympiad Exams twice and this year I qualified for the physics summer school. Although the exam was very challenging, it was nice to approach different styles of problems which we aren’t normally exposed to at school.

I really enjoy physics (particularly the practical applications) but I also love Biology and Chemistry. STEM has a great way of overlapping subject matter and techniques. The different techniques we’ve learnt to approach problem solving has been beneficial in improving my general approach to theory.

After I graduate this year, I would love to go on to study medicine. I am very interested in medical research and the applicability of all the different sciences in advancing medical discoveries.

 

Sahana Rudresh

Australian Science Olympiad Biology Summer School

My science teacher told me about the Australian Science Olympiad Exams and since I am very passionate about biology, I decided to register for the biology exam. After sitting it, I was in awe at how broad biology is; with so many applications outside of what I have learnt so far at school. The exam was challenging, but it was very enjoyable.

One thing I found interesting during the summer school was how statistics and maths are applied in biology, such as calculating allelic frequencies and fitness. It was mind-blowing to think about how we can estimate a population’s probability and characteristics over time.

After I finish school, I am hoping to study medicine. I would like to carry with me the skills I learned in Biology and apply them to the field of medicine.

 

Sophia Tran

Australian Science Olympiad Chemistry Summer School

I love science and scientific challenges, so when I heard about the Australian Science Olympiad Exams I was super eager to take them. The exams were very mentally stimulating – I remember feeling surprisingly exhilarated afterwards as well as pretty happy with how I went, but getting into summer school was unexpected!

I love chemistry (quite expectedly) and physics. Playing with concepts and seeing how they reason all sorts of phenomena is very enjoyable and satisfying.

The most interesting thing I’ve learnt at chemistry summer school would probably be quantum. It requires logic and thinking that is somewhat unusual, but that’s what makes it interesting to learn. But honestly, the whole summer school was a fascinating experience – all the content was so thought-provoking, and I got to work with amazing people.

After I finish school, I’m planning on continuing my studies at university in a science or health related field.

 

Akash Tharakan

Australian Science Olympiad Chemistry Summer School

I was introduced to the Australian Science Olympiad Exams through my school. The main reason I wanted to sit them was to see where I sat on a national level. After sitting the exams, I felt pretty good. There was definitely things that I was clueless about, and others where I was a bit iffy but I felt happy with my performance.

I love chemistry, so I was excited to be selected in the chemistry summer school. I also really enjoy physics and I received the Hale Physics prize two years running now. These areas really interest me because there capacity to explain and relate to things you observe and take for granted in your everyday life. This idea, that everything could be quantified, calculated, predicted, and that everything follows certain immutable laws fascinated me, and this is what sparked my interest in the areas of science.

The concept I found the most interesting during summer school was the idea of using wave functions and operators, to quantitatively discern and predict the degree of any observable of an object. The fact that you can calculate colour with math, the perceived sweetness of anything with math, any observable measure, you could derive from wave functions and operators for any object.

After completing high school, I plan to go into university. I am interested in Business and Finance, and have also considered Law, I’m not completely sure, but I’ve got a few broad fields of interest. As to where I would study, I definitely want to explore my options – maybe even leave the country, and go live somewhere in Western Europe or America! I really just want to explore living alone in other places, wherein I can really connect with myself, and figure out exactly what I want to pursue in the future.

 

Katya Orlova

Australian Science Olympiad Earth and Environmental Science Summer School

I took the Australian Science Olympiad exams to give something challenging a go and get the opportunity to expand my learning beyond the school curriculum. The exams proved to be quite difficult and definitely tested my critical thinking skills. If I am honest, after I sat the exams I did not feel too great about the results that I would receive, so when my summer school offer came it was a delightful surprise!

I am very interested in environmental science and ecology, particularly in biodiversity and the ecological interconnections which are present all around the world. I also find chemistry quite interesting, in particular organic chemistry and material properties. Additionally, I enjoy taking Geography in school as I feel it allows me to further understand environmental science on a human level by seeing the impacts that humans and their environment have on each other.

During summer school, I really enjoyed learning about igneous processes/volcanology and the climate. Igneous processes were really interesting due to the variety of different magmas and volcanic eruptions which exist, meaning that many vastly different rock types can be produced which makes things both interesting and very complicated. After attending the summer school, I would say my general interest in geology has increased and I aspire to do some more independent study into earth sciences during this year.

After finishing school I plan to go to university to study a Bachelor of Science with Honours to potentially lead me towards a PhD and a career in scientific research. I have not settled on a specific major yet (planning to take a range of classes in first year) but I am considering: geography, agriculture, environmental science/ecology, chemistry or earth science. I am hoping to also do a semester abroad/on exchange during my undergraduate degree as I think this would be a really cool experience.

 

Daniel Fernando

Australian Science Olympiad Biology Summer School

My teacher told me about the Australian Science Olympiad exams and I was keen to sit them as I felt they’d be a great chance to challenge myself. Turns out, I was right – after sitting the biology, chemistry and physics exams, I felt varying degrees of confidence in my performance. Still, I was glad I did them.

I really enjoy biology, so being selected for the summer school was a great experience. For me, the two most interesting topics at summer school were biotechnology and immunology. In biotech, it was fascinating to go into depth on techniques such as gene cloning, DNA sequencing and DNA fingerprinting. I also enjoyed learning about the interactions between different cells in the immune system to protect the body.

As well as biology, I love chemistry and physics. After school I would like to study at a university. I would like to pursue a course in medicine, biochemistry or engineering.