Scion seeks talented female science students

5 October 2010

Scion is once again combing Rotorua for an outstanding female science high school student, with the launch of its Suffrage Centennial Scholarship for 2010.

The scholarship was established in 1993 in commemoration of the New Zealand’s Suffrage Centennial. It aims to promote science excellence, and to demonstrate that the profession offers a rewarding career choice for women.

Applicants must be senior female students living in Rotorua and attending a Bay of Plenty secondary school. In addition, they must be intending to start a degree course in 2011 in pure or applied sciences.

The winner receives $2,000 towards tuition fees, but the most valuable benefit, according to past recipients, is the opportunity to work at Scion during summer vacations throughout their undergraduate studies.

The 2009 winner, Nicole Woodsworth, a former Rotorua Girls High School student is now studying for a BSc at the University of Auckland. Nicole says her first placement last summer has stood her in good stead during her first academic year.

“The scholarship has helped me a lot with the laboratory components of a few of my university papers this year,” says Nicole.

“While working at Scion last summer I learnt things that I didn’t get the chance to learn at school, especially with experiment techniques and using different (newer) equipment that I had never seen.”

Nicole will be returning to Scion this summer for her 2010 placement, while 2008 winner, Tracey Bates will be returning for the third time. Tracey, a former John Paul College student, is now completing the second year of a conjoint BSc/BA at the Victoria University of Wellington.

“I’ve found my work experience at Scion an extremely valuable and rewarding experience,” Tracey says.

“I’m studying biology and ecology, so my time in Scion’s forest health lab has deepened my interest in the environment and New Zealand's ecosystem. It also gives me a perspective on the type of work I may want to get involved in when I graduate, and provides a contextual insight into my subject content at university.

“As well as the beneficial work experience, I get to work with a lot of inspiring, friendly and motivating people, who encourage me to continue in my chosen field.”

Scholarship applicants are assessed on a number of criteria, and it is not necessarily the girl who always gets top marks who will catch the eye of the selection panel. While a solid academic track record must be evident, judges will be looking to identify an ‘all rounder’, who has a passion for science and also makes a contribution to their school and the wider community.

So while this spring mid-term break may be chock-full of pre-exam revision for senior high school students, but taking a little time out to complete a short application form could make a significant difference to one female student’s career prospects.

Full details on the scholarship and an application form are available on Scion’s website: Information has also been sent to local high schools.

Closing date for this year’s entries is 5pm on Friday 15 October 2010.