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Peter Doherty Awards

Peter Doherty Awards

Author: Gay Ellyett
Author Role: Coordinator: Exceptional Scientists' Program

As part of the ESP program, Year 12 students were encouraged to apply for the 2019 Peter Doherty Awards. To be eligible for this award, students are required to demonstrate a very high level of achievement in at least two QCAA approved senior science, mathematics or technology studies subjects. They must write a 1000-word application 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 189 applicants from across Queensland. Two students from Brisbane were selected, one of whom was Cannon Hill Anglican College student, Mia Forsingdal.

Mia has an outstanding academic record. She completed Maths B at the end of Year 11, achieving a VHA 9 and finishing first in the cohort. At the time of the application, she had VHAs in all six subjects and was first in her cohort in Physics and Study of Religion, second in French and English, and third in Chemistry. Mia has received the Principal’s Academic Excellence Award every semester since commencing CHAC in 2014, and as a result was awarded the prestigious Academic Pocket at the conclusion of Year 11. In Year 10 (2017), she was awarded subject prizes for Science, English, Life and Faith, and French, as well as the University of Southern Queensland Academic Excellence Award.

Mia’s involvement in STEM related activities has been extensive. She has participated in the College Exceptional Scientists’ Program since Year 8 including many day-long educational courses held at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), participation in the QUT Science and Engineering Challenge in 2017 (where her team placed first on the day), being one of four students in her cohort to be selected for the STEM Horizons for High Achievers program in 2016, and participation in the Spaghetti Bridge Building Competition for two years. Mia was also a finalist in the Australian Brain Bee Challenge in 2017 and finished in the top six of all competitors.

In July 2018, Mia took part in the five-day Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology (FEAST) program held at the University of Queensland for Year 11 and 12 students. QUT’s five-day Vice-Chancellor’s STEM Camp last year was another great experience in which she gained insight about careers in STEM, real-world applications of science, university life and had amazing experience in delivering STEM oral presentations. She has also been awarded a 2019 Research Internship at QIMR.


Mia has also studied STEM subjects at schools overseas. In 2016 she spent two months at a school in Denmark, and in November-December 2018 participated in a student exchange to France where she studied at the French school La Perverie. These experiences highlighted the universal importance and relevance of STEM. In 2017 she visited Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur, India, where she became interested in the study of infectious diseases in animals, and also the transfer of disease from animals to humans.   Every week, Mia volunteers at the RSPCA, where she is able to make a difference in the welfare of animals. She intends to study Veterinary Science next year.

At a prestigious ceremony held at QUT on Friday 9 August, Mia was presented with a 2019 Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in STEM Education and a cheque for $5,000. It was a very proud moment for her parents, as well as Ms Middleton and I, who were there to witness this momentous occasion. Mia's success is a great testimony for CHAC's high quality teaching and learning, and community support.

Gay Ellyett, Coordinator Exceptional Scientists’ Program