Explore as a

Share our content


Published 22 May 2018

Students selected for prestigious London science experience

Six students have been selected by Royal Society Te Apārangi to attend the prestigious London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

Founded in 1959, LIYSF aims to give a deeper insight into science for the benefit of all humankind and to develop a greater understanding between young people of all nations. LIYSF is a two-week residential student event held annually in London, which attracts 500 of the world’s leading young scientists aged 16-21 years old from more than 75 participating countries. LIYSF is held at Imperial College London and The Royal Geographical Society - with day visits out to other leading UK research centres and universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. LIYSF will cover a broad range of subjects across STEM fields and students will be able to tailor their programme to suit their own STEM interests, however, for the 60th LIYSF the underlying theme is: Science for the Future.

The Society received approximately 100 applications from students wishing to attend and the selection panel was impressed by the quality of the applications.

Lucy Matehaere from Otago Girls’ High School has been a regular participant at the Otago Science and Technology Fair over a number of years and has submitted projects such as the effect of music on emotions, memory retention, and the effect of tidal variations on the salinity in the Otago Harbour. She says: “In the last five years, I have completely transformed my views of science and the world around us and I would relish the opportunity to further my knowledge and understanding of science related topics.”

Liam Hewson, a student at King’s High School, Dunedin, has also participated in many extra-curricular science activities. Liam is an academic prefect and is very involved in many aspects of school life.  He has a long history with Scouts and is a Scout leader, which has allowed him to visit some amazing places in New Zealand. “These experiences have given me an immense appreciation for the remarkable pristine landscape of New Zealand, and a desire to further explore the great outdoors,” he says. Liam is also working towards a Gold Duke of Edinburgh and Queens Award for Scouting. He plans to go to university next year to study either biotechnology or analytical chemistry. 

Ella Creagh is head girl at Dunstan High School and says: “I have been an avid reader of various science books and magazines since I was little. I believe that more than ever science requires knowledge, curiosity and communication to work in harmony, and this international science opportunity will allow me to channel and develop these three aspects, though collaborating with students, teachers and scientists and professors from around the world”.

Pianika Ormsby, a Yr13 student at Tauranga Girls’ College, has undertaken most of her schooling in a full Māori immersion education setting from the age of three but she decided to attend Tauranga Girls’ College to ensure she could obtain the subject qualifications she required for university. She is from a large family and has five siblings, three of whom are studying at university. “I am very proud of them and my selection for this opportunity motivates me to try my best and not only think about what I will learn but what I could give back,” Pianika says.

Andrew Chen, a Yr13 student at St Kentigern College, Pakuranga, has been a regular participant in robotic programmes including Robocup and the New Zealand Engineering Science Competition. Last year he represented New Zealand at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Brazil where he won a Bronze medal. He contributes widely to school activities, is a prefect at his school and runs a peer tutoring programme which encourages students to reach their full potential. He has also served on the Howick Youth Council for over a year. He says: “I have worked with a large range of youth in my local community, gaining an appreciation of how other people live their lives. The diversity of my experiences informs and shapes my thinking and who I am.”

Rachel Baker, a Yr13 student at Green Bay High School, Auckland, has also been selected. Rachel says: “I have been lucky enough to have many science teachers who are happy to dive into conversations that can end up going well beyond the set curriculum to satisfy my curiosity and desire for a deeper understanding. I love the ‘wow’ feeling that comes after a particularly exciting science class, where my mind is overflowing with incredible newfound knowledge.” Rachel is also involved in other school activities including helping to organise the ‘40 hour famine’ and ‘Light it Orange for Shine’ which supports violence-free homes. Next year Rachel intends to study biomedical science at university in the view to pursuing a career in medical research.

Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive at Royal Society Te Apārangi says: “Not only is this a great opportunity for talented young New Zealanders to interact with experts at the top of their fields in science, but it is also an occasion for students to meet other like-minded students from around the world and to share their cultural differences.”

Seventy per cent of the travel and registration costs are funded by the Talented School Students Travel Award, managed by Royal Society Te Apārangi and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Iritana Bennett Fakahau, from Ōtaki College, will also attend the London International Youth Science Forum, having won a Māori Scholarship to attend. 

All students leave for London in July.


Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi