Science inspires creativity

A local high school student is celebrating winning a state photography competition. Grant High School Year 11 student Maggie McKinnon won the regional section of the 2020 Flinders University Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest.

The competition was created to keep science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) on the agenda. It is open to female high school students who have creatively captured the topic “science is everywhere”.

Entries came from students as far afield as Wudinna, Mount Gambier, Kadina, the Riverland, Naracoorte and Balaklava. Maggie received her award at a special ceremony at Flinders University, held to coincide with United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Flinders physics lecturer Associate Professor Maria Parappilly welcomed the contest’s winning students from Year 7 to Year 12 to the university’s main campus. Now in its fifth year, the contest included Year 7 students for the first time, with a total prize pool of $4350 awarded across junior and senior categories.

“This year marked a record-breaking number of entries from regional South Australia, including high-quality submissions with public, private and independent schools represented across wide economic demographics,” Associate Professor Parappilly said.

“It’s great that this competition is not limited to students with easier access to resources but is engaging girls broadly, which is what we are looking for. “We are really pleased with the quality of the entries in both the junior and senior categories.”

Maggie said she was honoured and surprised to receive the award. “The award came as a massive surprise as I did not leave Mount Gambier thinking I would win anything, so to get best regional award was a true honour,” she said.

“The Cochlear Aurora Science photo contest is an awesome opportunity for girls to showcase their work in both science and photography. “For me, photography has always been a real passion and it’s something I’m keen on pursuing in the future.

“It’s hard to get your work noticed so to be able to enter these sorts of competitions is a good starting point and a great opportunity to build on and receive feedback for your work. “I am incredibly grateful to be able to receive such an incredible award from Flinders University.”

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