Meriden student represents Australia at International Science and Engineering Fair

1 July 2016

In May 2016, budding scientist Lily Yang, a Year 9 student at Meriden, travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, USA, to represent Australia in the 2016 Broadcom Masters International program.

The annual Broadcom Masters International program brings together young students from countries around the world who share a passion for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and inspires them to continue to develop their knowledge in these areas throughout high school and beyond.  The program takes place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest science fair for high school students. It is designed as a hands-on, immersive experience which exposes students to new career paths and emerging research fields.

Lily won selection for this prestigious program based on the Science research project which she undertook while in Year 8. Her research investigated the effects of taste on memory.  The project was entered in the Science Teachers’ Association Young Scientist Awards and was nominated as the most promising student scientific investigation and worthy of international attention.

As the Australian delegate to the Broadcom International program, Lily spent four days visiting institutions in Arizona which study the many different aspects of STEM.  She toured Arizona State University (ASU) observing demonstrations in the laboratories using high-tech equipment.  “At ASU, I was given opportunities to conduct an experiment in one of the laboratories and discover the innovations in the exploration of Mars which ASU has helped to engineer for NASA.  It was an incredible experience,” Lily said.

Lily also visited the Music Instrument Museum and Mesa Grade Archaeological Park where the Native American Hohokam people once lived.

“The tour helped me to identify an area which is of great interest to me - science and its relationship to design. For instance, at the Desert Botanical Gardens and at Taliesin West, the renowned architect's home, we explored bio mimicry which utilises inspiration from nature to innovate,” Lily said.

“Another event which really excited me was the Excellence in Science and Technology Panel in which we submitted questions to prize-winning scientists, two of whom are the recipients of Nobel prizes. Hearing such intelligent and successful people discuss issues and ideas put forward by students was insightful and inspiring,” Lily said.

Lily not only explored areas of STEM during her time in Phoenix, she formed friendships with people of diverse cultures who share her passion for STEM. 

One of the highpoints for Lily was seeing the hundreds of projects that high school students had undertaken for the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. “The projects completely surpassed my expectations, leaving me inspired and even more excited by STEM,” Lily said. “Many of the projects use science and engineering to create innovative solutions that would greatly benefit the world such as applications to improve the lives of people with disabilities, new medicines for serious diseases, inventions to improve living conditions in third world countries and many more.”

“The fact that students of different backgrounds are able to use science to make a significant difference in the world demonstrated to me that my potential in the field of science relies more on how I follow my passion, rather than only on my abilities or background,” she said.

“In addition to reading about these incredible projects, I had the chance to meet many of these brilliant students at the events which were held each evening,” she said. “One of the events was a pin exchange where all students had the chance to get to know one another and exchange pins representing their respective countries.  I collected pins from regions around the world which are a reminder of the friendships I formed with people from vastly different cultures,” Lily said.