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Emily Mason from Port Macquarie in New South Wales was one of six Australian NYSF students selected to attend the National Science and Technology Forum that runs in Auckland, New Zealand in January. Her participation was partly supported by IBM’s Diversity and Inclusion program.

Emily says that she really enjoyed how the NZ forum explored so many aspects of science and technology. “It opened my eyes to the many doors available not just in science, but also technological and engineering career paths.”

The program covered a range of lab visits including psychology, physics, food science and microbiology, molecular biology, geology and astronomy, as well as visits to local businesses to explore and learn about the kinds of jobs available.

NZ science program a positive experience - content image

“My first visit was to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). This was a very interesting lecture, as we were taught about the amazing facility, what their role is and chemical techniques used in the forensic examination of evidence samples. Later that week I visited the New Zealand Police, where we spent the evening in the fingerprinting department. They taught us how they collect and analyse fingerprints. This was very hands on, as we were able to take our own fingerprints and keep them. My last technical options visit was to Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA). They taught us how to measure the amount of stress on a particular component of structures. They then showed us how they have developed ways to create lightweight, earthquake resistant walls.”

Emily says the forum was a great opportunity to learn how to be independent. It also cemented her commitment to studying medicine after high school. “The forum has opened my eyes up to the opportunities I have once I finish studying Medicine. It showed me that I don’t just have to become a GP, but that I can go into research or some very interesting specialties. I was also shown that I could go into very interesting areas if I paired it with another degree, such as engineering. It opened many doors and I am incredibly thankful for having the opportunity.”