Science loving students asked the big questions

Orla Walsh has been selected for Powering Potential. Supplied image.


Bay of Plenty students will be challenged to find the answers to questions posed by scientists at the Powering Potential forum.

Organised by Royal Society Te Apārangi in partnership Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and Freemasons New Zealand, Powering Potential will bring many of New Zealand’s most promising science students together from all over the country to work alongside a scientist or specialist who will act as their mentor over three days.

Orla Walsh from John Paul College in Rotorua has been chosen because of her passion for science.

Royal Society Te Apārangi projects and events coordinator, Deborah Woodhall says Orla enjoys working with a team and problem solving.

“She has contributed to her school and community and is undertaking extra-curricular science activities.”

Orla joins 39 senior secondary school students who will work in teams of five on a question submitted by their mentor. The students will then research, investigate and collaborate to provide recommendations.

 “The Society was pleased with the large number of applications received this year and the wide regional representation in the students selected.

“Students will be required to work in teams and hone their research skills. At the end of the three days, each team will present its findings at a special presentation,” says Andrew Cleland, chief executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Science mentors from NIWA, Lincoln University, University of Auckland, Environmental Science Research, Sleep Wake Centre, Informetrics and Curious Minds Ambassadors from Otago and Taranaki have volunteered to help the students during the forum. 

To be selected for Powering Potential, each student submitted an in-depth application and video, which focused on their own science strengths or how they have contributed to an area of science in their school or community.

The students have been selected because they are serious about going on to study science at a tertiary level and have demonstrated a passion for science

“The calibre of the students who applied was excellent and some tough decisions had to be made by the selection panel to get the number down to 40,” Andrew says.

Freemasons New Zealand Grand Master Graham Wrigley, is delighted that for a further year, the Freemasons continue to been engaged with ‘Powering Potential’ in partnership with Royal Society Te Apārangi. 

The quest for knowledge, development and personal growth for our youth are at the cornerstone of Freemasonry and we know that this programme makes a huge difference to all those who take part, he says.

Powering Potential is taking place in Wellington from December 16 – 18.

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