Science student profile – Emily Walter

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about science?

I like learning new things, and it also helps me understand the world around me. Science provides logic and sense to what otherwise can seem chaotic in the world. Not only does it answer questions, but with every question answered more questions arise to explore, solve and discover.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to science?

I’ve always loved science, but I think I began really enjoying it in Year 7 when I did the UTAS Science Investigation Competition for the first time – I really liked coming up with an idea for an experiment and then doing it, and talking to scientists about what you found.

What’s your favourite area of science?

That’s a really hard question! But if I had to pick, I’d say biology and environmental science.

What’s been your favourite science experiment or discovery so far?

Last year, I made compost out of old fish remains (it smelt great!) and grew plants in it. I wanted to see if fish waste could have a practical use in agriculture, as it’s currently a major environmental problem in the marine industry, with 10 million tonnes of fish waste being dumped into the ocean every year, which can be harmful to aquatic life. I found that some plants, including snow peas grew twice as fast in the fish compost compared to normal soil.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in science that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in science?

Earlier this year, we did a unit on genetics and the nature versus nurture debate. I really liked finding out why we look how we look and act how we act.

Which scientist inspires you and why?

Elizabeth Blackburn. She’s the first Australian and Tasmanian women to win a Nobel prize for discovering the enzyme telomerase.

Do you want to study science and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

I’m not quite sure what I want to do when I’m older, but definitely something involving science! I am considering veterinary science or medical research.

What would be your dream science experience or job?

I love animals, so being a veterinarian would be amazing. I’m also into neuroscience, so I would also be interested in doing something involving the brain.

What advice would you give to other aspiring science students?

My advice would be to enter the UTAS Science investigations. It’s a really good opportunity to plan and research an experiment that interests you, make a board and then talk to scientists about what you found out. There’s also a lot of other really good competitions and experiences available to enter throughout the year.

Science student profile – Caitlin Marr

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about science?

I enjoy the problem-solving side of science. It’s as if you are viewing the world as a puzzle, and by using science, the answers can be found. I love to investigate and solve things, so science really appeals to me in that aspect.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to science?

I’ve loved science my whole life. I read encyclopedias from cover to cover when I was younger, and I’ve always loved the idea of finding the answers to my many questions. However, it wasn’t until I was 10 or 11-years-old that I realised I actually wanted to pursue a career in science, and since then I’ve always stuck to that.

What’s your favourite area of science?

There are so many areas of science that I love, but my favourite has got to be physics. I love physics because it’s this perfect combination of maths and science; my two favourite subjects. It’s all about equations and problem solving and figuring out how the world works.

What’s been your favourite science experiment or discovery so far?

One of my favourite experiments and discoveries was my Year 8 science investigation with Emily Walter in 2018. We investigated the strength of different hair types, shades and textures. Not only was the investigation a rewarding and enjoyable experience; we also won the UTAS Science and Engineering Investigation Awards: Best Health and Wellbeing Project Intermediate for Year 7 and 8, UTAS Science and Engineering Investigation Awards: Overall First Place for Year 7 and 8, Tasmanian Science Talent Search; Merit Award, and Tasmanian Science Talent Search; Rowe Scientific Award. We were so lucky, and it was an incredible experience.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in science that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in science?

Never stop asking questions. The whole foundation of science is asking questions and inquiring into ideas. To enjoy science, you must be open-minded and willing to explore different concepts and notions, so you must always ask questions and wonder.

Which scientist inspires you and why?

I have many scientific role models; Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. I think they are all strong, fantastic women who have paved the way for many modern advances in science.

Do you want to study science and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

Yes, I wish to pursue a career in science, specifically in physics. I would also like to teach Mathematics and Science at a high school level.

What would be your dream science experience or job?

My dream job would be to work as an astrophysicist at NASA.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome while studying science?

My biggest challenge in science is actually deciding which field to go into as a career. I love so many aspects of science that it was really hard to narrow my focus in order to prepare for my university degrees.

What advice would you give to other aspiring science students?

Never stop asking questions about the world.

Ways to limit your water usage

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in Newsletter, Timeline

Water scarcity is an issue affecting the whole world, but it is especially prominent here in Australia. Australia has always been prone to droughts, however in recent years these have become more frequent and severe.

Earlier this year, almost all capital cities in Australia had water restrictions in place, limiting how you could use your water. Water scarcity is a major issue for us because, in addition to Australia being the driest inhabited continent, we have the highest water consumption of the world at 100 000L per person each year.

Agriculture is the biggest user of water at over 70 per cent of Australia’s water consumption. However, manufacturing and households also use large quantities of water. Australian households use 12 per cent of the total water with manufacturing using 11 per cent.

This means that simple changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in the amount of water that is available to people who need it. Changes you can make include:

Using what you have

By using what you already own you are reducing the number of goods which need to be manufactured and raw materials produced. This, in turn, reduces the amount of water which is used.

Buying second-hand

By buying second-hand you are reducing the need for manufactured goods and giving items a new use. This is especially important for any textile goods, as materials such as cotton require a huge amount of water to produce. To make one cotton t-shirt, 2 700L of water is used.

Using shampoo and conditioner bars

Shampoo and conditioner bars are solid forms of your normal shampoo and conditioner. Not only do they reduce the water within the product, they reduce the water needed to produce the packaging. Additionally, these products normally come in compostable packaging or none at all. Similar products can also be found for moisturisers, face wash, dishwashing liquid and even shampoo for your furry friends.

Cutting out rinse cycles 

By cutting out the extra rinse cycle in your washing machine or dishwasher, you can save water which could be used elsewhere.

Having shorter showers

By limiting the time spent in the shower, you can limit the amount of water you use.

Using your grey water

Grey water is wastewater from households, from either basins, showers, baths, washing machines and occasionally kitchens, and is perfectly safe for use of gardens. You can either install a grey water system or use a bucket. Just make sure you use environmentally friendly soaps and detergents, and look for products which contain low or no phosphates. GreySmart ratings are a good thing to look for when choosing these products.

Watering your garden early in the morning

Not only will this reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation, but it is also said to reduce pests such as slugs.

Eating less meat

Eat less meat, especially beef, as it requires large quantities of water to produce. 515L of water is required to make 1kg of beef. Therefore, by implementing a day in the week where you will not eat any meat, you are lowering your water ‘footprint’.

Investing in water-conscious appliances

By investing in water-conscious appliances, you can be saving up to 70 per cent of the water used. Even using a front loader washing machine instead of a top loader can help save water. Additionally, many new appliances have eco systems designed to limit water use.

Visit yourhome.gov.au

This is an Australian Government website dedicated to helping Australians is make their home more environmentally friendly. There are many tips to save water available here.

Calculate your water ‘footprint’

Most of the water used in the world in hidden away from society, so you may be using more water than you realise. Watercalculator.org can calculate your family’s water use, including hidden water found in items such as food and textiles.

Written by Amelie Cox (Year 10)
Footprint Project team member

Italian Language student profile – Miranda Guy

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about Italian?

I enjoy the opportunity to gain an in-depth insight into a different culture, and the ability to communicate and connect with people that I may not have met without learning Italian. I’ve found that learning Italian has cultivated a deeper appreciation for other cultures, arts and traditions in me; and has helped me gain perspective on those I’m accustomed to as well.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to learning Italian?

Italian quickly became my favourite subject at the beginning of Year 7, because I found the learning to be really engaging and fun, while also helping me to see patterns in language structures, and to learn a lot of knowledge about Italian cultural norms and life.

What’s your favourite part about learning Italian?

I think that my favourite part about learning Italian is the vocabulary and grammar, because, although it sounds boring, it’s one of the best areas of a language to focus on if you want to improve your fluency and understanding. Your progress becomes evident when you read, watch TV or listen to music in Italian, which you may not have understood as well just a few weeks or months ago.

How has learning Italian been different this year, without the trip to Italy?

I think that, although the Italian cultural trip is an amazing experience for students to gain a deeper, more personal understanding of Italian life, the school curriculum still provides students with the chance to learn about different aspects of Italian culture; just without the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in Italian that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in Italian?

The most important lesson I’ve learnt in Italian is that you can never fully fathom your abilities until you put them to the test. This became evident to me during my exchange to Italy, as well as when I sat the Italian TASC exams last year. I think that we often have the tendency to both overestimate and underestimate what we are capable of, and putting ourselves to the challenge is the most efficacious way to reveal our strengths and weaknesses in actuality.

What is your favourite Italian item e.g. food, drink, a place, a designer, historical location?

I think that one of my favourite places that I’ve visited in Italy, that a lot of people may not have heard of, is Malcesine; which is a little lakeside town in the Province of Verona. I visited Malcesine during the Christmas season, and the atmosphere was very eclectic: on the surface it looked exactly how you would picture a quintessential Italian village during the summertime, but the city centre was decorated like a winter wonderland; with Christmas markets, a Ferris wheel and hanging lights and ornaments. Although I was only there for a short amount of time, it was like being immersed in a scene from a book or movie; and still remains one of my favourite parts of my trip to Italy.

Do you want to study Italian further and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

I would like to continue studying Italian beyond school, although I’m uncertain about what career path I’d like to pursue. I do think, however, that having experience with a language provides a myriad of opportunities; both in regard to using the language itself and applicable skills that are developed while studying languages.

What would be your dream Italian experience or job?

My dream Italian experience would probably be to study at university in Italy, as I think the best way to gain a proper understanding of another culture is to fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle; and experience it for yourself. This kind of experience would also benefit my understanding and communication unlike any class or trip could.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome while studying Italian?

The biggest challenge I’ve overcome while studying Italian was when I went on exchange to Italy at the end of Year 9, as being exposed to the language and culture through every aspect of daily life is completely different to the atmosphere of an average class. This experience, however, assisted me in improving my ability to understand and respond to spoken Italian; and gave me a profound insight into the Italian culture.

What advice would you give to other aspiring language students?

I think that in Italian, as with any subject, your capability and knowledge is matched by the amount of incentive and effort that you put into it. Applying yourself in class if you wish to continue studying Italian in the following years is not only immensely important; but immensely beneficial. Once you have a solid understanding of the basics taught in years seven and eight, almost everything else comes just as easy.

Science Profile – Amelie Cox

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about science?

The thing I most enjoy about science is learning about how and why things happen, and ways to make the world better. It is very interesting learning about how things work in our world, especially when they are around you every day. However, the most rewarding and enjoyable thing about science is when scientists come up with ways to improve our world. Whether it be a new medicine or a more sustainable practice it is always exciting.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to science?

I don’t think there really was a time when I started enjoying science, I think I have just always liked it. Growing up I have always been around science, with my Mum working in pathology labs and schools. I have always been interested in how and why things do what they do, and so science has been a clear passion.

What’s your favourite area of science?

My favourite area of science has to be biology and environmental science, mainly agriculture. Ever since I was young I have loved nature and always had a connection to the land. I also loved helping my parents with my veggie patch. I like learning how plants are used to produce food and the human practices involved. I also like learning about how farming can be used sustainably to provide food for us in the future.

What’s been your favourite science experiment or discovery so far?

My favourite science discovery so far is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). It was a time in history when the earth was so hot Antarctica was a tropical rainforest. This has always interested me because of what we have learnt about the causes of this and the warming and cooling cycle the earth undergoes. It is also relevant today with the current issue surrounding climate change.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in science that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in science?

One thing I have learnt in science that has always stayed with me would be the ability to ask questions. In science, this is especially useful as you are continually asking why things happen and what would happen if. This ability is also useful in other areas of your life as you learn to not believe things on face value. You instead want to know how or why it is what it is. This is specifically useful in maths and cooking.

Which scientist inspires you and why?

Leonardo da Vinci is one of my favourite scientists because of the many fields he studied in, not just science. His work shows how you do not have to just be interested in one specific area but instead, you can have many interests. Although I don’t think anyone can truly master so many areas like he did.

Do you want to study science and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

When I finish my schooling, I want to continue with science as a career. I am still undecided on my main focus however it would either be Air-Traffic Controlling or Agriculture science. Agriculture science can lead me to a wide range of opportunities and can enable me to help future generations.

What would be your dream science experience or job?

My dream science experience or job would be working on producing crops that require less water to produce or more sustainable agriculture practices. This would be really rewarding and could help people in drought-stricken places have access to food. Additionally, with the world facing a food shortage and climate change, I would love to work to find solutions to this.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome while studying science?

The biggest challenge I have overcome while studying science is staying on track. Many times when doing assignments or research tasks I find something interesting and learn about that instead of what I am meant to be doing. Although I learn new things it can become problematic when at the end of the lesson I have heaps of information on a topic not related to my assignment.

What advice would you give to other aspiring science students?

Just keep asking questions and finding answers to them. Learning new things will help you in all aspects whether it is the subject field or not. Find a good platform that you understand to help you. Some good ones are TED-ED, Crash Course, and Kurzgesagt.

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