Science studies bringing recognition

Southland Girls' High School year 13 pupil Ella Zwagerman (16) has been selected to attend the Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology programme at the University of Queensland, in Brisban,e at the end of the month. Photo: Abbey Palmer
Southland Girls' High School year 13 pupil Ella Zwagerman (16) has been selected to attend the Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology programme at the University of Queensland, in Brisban,e at the end of the month. Photo: Abbey Palmer
After a skiing accident left her unable to play sport, one young Southland woman discovered her devotion to science, a career move which has gained her international recognition.

Southland Girls' High School pupil Ella Zwagerman has been selected to attend the Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology (Feast) programme at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, later this month.

The 16-year-old will be one of six New Zealand students to take part in the residential programme.

The initiative aims to inspire and inform high school students about the range of rewarding science careers in the agriculture, animal, plant and food sectors.

Ella was excited to find she had been selected.

''The science teachers were really supportive and helped me find my interests.

''They gave me extra work because they knew that's what I enjoyed doing.''

Her experiments involved tests on the calcium concentration in milk from different breeds of cows on different diets, as well as the concentration of urea from urine samples collected from cows off organic, high-input and low-input farms.

In 2017, she won The New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Southland Science and technology fair.

Ella said she was looking forward to meeting like-minded people at Feast.

She said the experience would be a ''good test-drive for university'', and planned to attend the University of Otago next year to study for a bachelor of science degree.

In order to help with the costs of the trip, she received the Talented School Students Travel Award and a contribution from the Ohai-Nightcaps Lions Club.

''I'm really grateful to them and the support of my school and teachers. It's a huge honour and an amazing opportunity.''

abbey.palmer@odt.co.nz

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