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2018 Peter Doherty Awards

The Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM Education recognise students, teachers, support officers, schools and education partners who demonstrate an outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland. The awards are named after Professor Peter Doherty, a Brisbane-born Nobel Prize winning scientist who was educated at Indooroopilly State High School and the University of Queensland. Doherty's research focused on the immune system and his Nobel work described how the body's immune cells protect against viruses.

As part of the Exceptional Scientists' Program (ESP) program, five Year 12 students were encouraged to apply for the 2018 Peter Doherty Awards. To be eligible for this award, students were required to demonstrate a very high level of achievement in at least two QCAA approved senior Science, Mathematics or Technology Studies subjects. They had to write a 1000-word application letter and supply evidence of their achievements. This typically includes College reports, Principal’s Awards, ICAS certificates and references.

A panel of judges selected 12 students from 110 applicants from across Queensland. One of these was Cannon Hill Anglican College student, Jasmin Somers.

Jasmin has an outstanding academic record. She completed Maths B at the end of Year 11, achieving a VHA 9 and finishing second in her cohort. At the time of the application, she had VHAs and was first in her cohort in Biology, Chemistry, Maths C and English. Jasmin has received the Principal’s Academic Excellence Award every semester since commencing CHAC in Year 8, and as a result was awarded the prestigious Academic Pocket at the conclusion of Year 11.

Jasmin’s involvement in STEM-related activities has been extensive. In Year 10 she took part in the ConocoPhillips Science Experience, the Australian Brain Bee Challenge and the Engineering Challenge. In Year 11 she was selected to attend the QUT Vice Chancellor’s STEM Camp and the UQ Young Scholars program. Jasmin was also selected for the National Youth Science Forum, where she spent two weeks at the Australian National University exploring different STEM careers, meeting many amazing likeminded students, listening to world famous scientists and participating in lab visits.

In Year 11, Jasmin participated in a five-day work experience placement at a UQ affiliated eHealth Unit at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. Here she undertook projects involving cardio software, automotive home sensors and 3D printing. This year, through the ESP program, she applied for an internship at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. After a rigorous selection process, Jasmin will complete this program in the upcoming September holidays.
Of her aspirations, Jasmin writes in her application letter:

Next year, I will start university. I am striving to achieve the highest OP possible to maximise my options. I plan to do a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours at the University of Queensland and after completing my course, to continue with a Masters of Biomedical Science and then a PhD in medical research. My dream is to find cures for diseases through research and collaboration, making a real difference in people's lives. I intend to do this by researching diseases which are prevalent in under-developed countries, especially infectious diseases, to improve the overall living standard for people in third world countries.

I have always enjoyed everything STEM related and through the many diverse experiences I have had over the years, I have developed a real passion which has influenced the direction of my future studies. The support received from my many teachers has motivated me to dream big and realise my goals. I also find real fulfilment in helping my community through sharing my passion and applying my skills. This has been achieved through tutoring, volunteering, and being a STEM advocate at school where I encourage others to reach their potential by sharing my love for Science and Mathematics.

At a prestigious ceremony held at QUT on Friday 10 August, Jasmin was presented with her award and a cheque for $5000. It was a very proud moment for Mrs Bell and her parents who were there to witness this momentous occasion. It is indeed a great testimony to the CHAC community that we produce students of such high calibre.

Gay Ellyett
Coordinator: Exceptional Scientists’ Program