25 February, 2020
The MacDiarmid Institute’s NanoCamp and DiscoveryCamp continue to be extremely popular, with our highest numbers of applications yet from year 12 and 13 secondary students living throughout New Zealand. The five-day, all-expenses-paid residential programmes give the successful applicants opportunities to learn about and experience nanoscience through lab sessions, lectures and hands-on activities with MacDiarmid Institute investigators.
It is well-documented that Māori and Pacific Island peoples are under-represented in New Zealand across the sciences. Designed solely for Māori and Pacific Island students in their final years of high school, the MacDiarmid Institute DiscoveryCamp – Te Tohu Huraina – programme aims to enhance the students’ knowledge of and interest in science, inspire a love of discovery and provide a real understanding of what a career in science looks like and how they can achieve it. DiscoveryCamp alumni have told us that the programme also plays a significant role in Māori students’ appreciation of their culture’s place in science.
The camps took place between 12th and 17th January 2020, and this year were located at two different locations: University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington. The camp programmes included such diverse activities as visits to nanoscience laboratories, hands-on activities in the fields of biosensors and microfluidics, preparing and delivering videos and an excursion to Tiritiri Matangi Island. This year we hosted 48 students across the two locations:
NanoCamp – Victoria University of Wellington – 15 students (hosted by Associate Investigator Dr Guy Dubuis)
DiscoveryCamp – University of Auckland – 8 students (hosted by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Geoffrey Waterhouse)
DiscoveryCamp – Victoria University of Wellington – 10 students (hosted by Associate Investigator Dr Nathaniel Davis)
The Wellington-based students particularly valued getting the opportunity to visit Te Papa in Wellington and see behind the scenes with one of their scientists, as well as getting the opportunity to attend a PhD panel and listen to current students speak about their own academic experiences. In Auckland, camp attendees appreciated getting to hear from MacDiarmid Institute alumna Dr Michelle Dickinson (‘Nanogirl’), the sessions on solar cells and learning about 3-D printing.