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Published 12 July 2023

United in success at 34th International Biology Olympiad

From left: Nick Bryant, Ashleigh Bernacchi, Allan Han, Jacob Miller, Jifei Shao and Angela Sharples

The New Zealand Biology Olympiad team were united in success at the 34th International Biology Olympiad (IBO), in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

The team of Ashleigh Bernacchi (Pinehurst School), Allan Han (Macleans College), Jacob Miller (Mount Albert Grammar School), and Jifei Shao (St Cuthbert’s College) achieved international success against the best in the world. Jacob Miller and Allan Han won Silver medals and Jifei Shao and Ashleigh Bernacchi brought home Bronze. With the top 4 students competing from 79 countries, the competition for medals was fierce.

As the ‘team behind the team’, the volunteers of the NZ International Biology Olympiad (NZIBO) committee have worked hard to support young biologists from around New Zealand to achieve academic excellence in science. Team leaders Dr Angela Sharples (MNZM) and Mr Nick Bryant couldn’t be prouder of these young academics who represented us so well in the UAE. 

Reflecting on the success of students at the IBO, NZIBO Chair, Dr Angela Sharples (MNZM) said: 

“The ambitious target for New Zealand is for our students to compete against the best young scientists in the world and bring home both the medals and a lifelong passion for the biological sciences that will grow science research and innovation in NZ. To win 4 medals is an outstanding achievement by our students. They are truly among the best young scientists in the world.

"To deliver performance of this scale takes a great team of people at NZIBO and from our partner universities: Massey University – Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, University of Auckland – Waipapa Taumata Rau, and University of Otago – Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo. This year we also received support from the Biology Educators Association of New Zealand (BEANZ) and Royal Society Te Apārangi. 

"With science educators and academics providing 1,000s of hours of support for our students and over 400 students participating in the NZIBO programme each year, this is an important package of investment in science education, driven entirely by passionate volunteers.”

Source: NZIBO