Program drives students

BEING from a rural environment as we are, it is a huge deal to be invited to an event at parliament house in Melbourne.

Thanks to Veski’s ‘Inspiring students and teachers’ program, a group of 21 students, myself being one of the lucky ones, from Kyneton Secondary College ranging from years 8 to 11 had to opportunity to visit Parliament House in Melbourne to attend an award ceremony for 12 scientists receiving a Victoria Fellowship for their contributions to their various fields.

As part of the Veski program we split into groups of three to conduct a speed dating type of arrangement before the ceremony where we had 10 minutes to interview five of the scientists involved. 

The biggest thing I want to know about scientists and other professions is “What drives you? What helps you get up in the morning?” So I posed this question to each of the five.

Alan Cowman who is studying malaria with the Walter-Eliza Hall Institute and is also a royal 

fellow said “I love finding new things. At the moment I am working to find a vaccine and one day hope to do myself out of a job by finding this”.

Tim Rowling is a geologist studying energy efficiency and how we can safely store CO2. His drive was “Finding new things no-one has thought of or done”.

He gave some great advice to us as well by telling us to take opportunities as they arise.

Arthur Nasis is a cardiologist and researcher. His was quite simple; “It is asking a question and doing what you can to find the answer. Also with the cardiology is seeing the improvement with the family and the giving of good news.”

Jin Zhang studies silkworm cacoons to find real world applications for their great properties. Her drive was also simple; “To do research. It never gets old because there is always something new.”

Originally it was to interview four scientists but due to more time we could interview another, and I’m so glad we did. Ross Clark was my favourite of them all.

Ross Clark often travels to Singapore to work in their hospital with clinical rehabilitation. He uses programming to develop software to use the Wii board for rehabilitation uses. He said a great quote that I will never forget. “The more we learn, the more we realise how little we actually know about the world.”

All of the scientists were fantastic to talk to and the night was an amazing opportunity offered to us by Veski. I can only hope I get more offers to return to other events put on, and one day receiving an award and being interviewed by a group of secondary school kids.

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