Passing on the passion for science

Students from five secondary schools from around Rotorua have been given a hands on tour of Scion labs today, in a move to further spark their growing interest in science.

The ten students in year 12 & 13 were selected after entering a competition to win a day at Scion at the recent Rotorua Careers Expo.

The students were asked to name their favourite scientist and dream job.  Einstein and Stephen Hawking were top of the list while environmental scientists and engineers were common ‘dream jobs’.

Glenn Thorlby, Research Leader Plant Biotechnology says “The students seemed to be bubbling with enthusiasm as they donned lab coats and safety equipment to head inside the labs – it was great to see”.

The students were given a crash course in how Scion is working to develop better trees using tissue culture propagation and biotechnology.

They were also given an overview of the work Scion scientists are currently doing to deal with the kauri dieback disease threatening our forests.  As well as an insight into the diagnostic services Scion provides to support the Forest Owners Association’s plantation forestry surveillance, and MPI’s high risk site surveillance (HRSS) in urban and tourist areas, across New Zealand.

The students also had time to sit and chat with scientists about their jobs.

“Giving teenagers more exposure to science in action is particularly important in my field of work.  Biotechnology innovation is going to be increasingly used in their lifetime,” says Glenn.