Science has its sweet reward for students

PATHWAYS OPENING: Layne Wooley was one of three Albury students to be awarded the Victor Chang School Science Award. Picture: MARK JESSER
PATHWAYS OPENING: Layne Wooley was one of three Albury students to be awarded the Victor Chang School Science Award. Picture: MARK JESSER

THREE Albury high school students have been awarded a prestigious Victor Chang School Science Award.

James Fallon's Layne Wooley, Albury High's Ashley Saultrey and Murray High's Jaidyn Lewis were among 30 year 11 students in the Riverina region to win the award. 

The trio will travel to Junee later this week to be formally acknowledged at a ceremony by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute's Professor Jamie Vandenberg.

Students were nominated for the award by their teachers.

The award recognises students who show tenacity and commitment in the classroom.

With enrolments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at their lowest in two decades, according to the 2017 Australian National Science Statement, Professor Vandenberg said encouraging students to pursue work in the STEM field was of the utmost importance.

“Australia has such a proud science history, and through acknowledging these young students we’re giving the next generation of scientists the opportunity to see how research can directly touch people’s everyday lives,” he said.

“As a scientist, not only are you contributing to building knowledge, but you are constantly solving problems and seizing opportunities while improving the wellbeing of society.”

The Riverina award winners will join more than 200 other recipients from across the state on a tour of the Victor Chang Institute, which will include the chance to learn from some of Australia's top scientists.

The cardiac research institute, named after one of the pioneers of modern heart surgery and transplantation, has been devoted to conducting world-class research since it was founded by Dr Chang in 1994.

Professor Vandenberg said scientists hailing from regional areas often had intangible qualities that could help separate them from the pack.

“One of the main reasons we put the award in place was to encourage those with an aptitude for science to continue with it and pursue it as a career,” he said.

“Science impacts everywhere, and while kids from major cities often enjoy more opportunities in a range of areas, regional students often have a little bit more ingenuity, they have to make do and that kind of curiosity is really important.

“The most important advice I would have is to firstly continue encouraging that curiosity, keep asking questions.

“It doesn't matter what field of science, it is all about asking questions.

“Secondly, in terms of pursuing a career, try and work at the best places possible, the best universities and research labs.”