Otago University Science Experience for Aeryn

Aeryn MacLean, one of our budding Year 13 scientists, spent time over her holidays at a Science Camp at Otago University. Over the week she spent in Dunedin she stayed on campus at a University Hall and got to know the other 49 attendees who had been accepted for the camp.

To be selected Aeryn had to write an essay about herself and where she was at with her Science journey, this essay was well received and she was invited into the all expenses paid camp. She selected her courses for the camp - Marine Biology, Archeology and Zoology.

In Marine Biology the group went out with bait to look for sharks in the ocean but unfortunately didn’t find any, this did not dampen the experience though as they then spent time Plankton dredging with a $10,000 net that they dragged and then with the haul proceeded to do microscopic sampling. The entire trip on the boat was a real highlight for Aeryn she says.

In Archeology the group learnt about how we 'think' people made stone tools and tried that for themselves. They enjoyed sorting authentic 1000yr old pottery - where they were able to choose how to scientifically categorise it.

In Zoology they dissected a possum and then went to an eco sanctuary where they saw Takahe, Tuatara and where they breed along with lots of native wildlife - the sanctuary had a whole lot of endangered species so that was interesting for Aeryn.

Over the course of the week all students got the opportunity to be exposed to lectures in different Science fields outside of the courses they chose. This has led Aeryn on a different pathway than she initially intended after being a part of a Genomics lecture. This is now what area of Science she will study next year.

The week away was not just spent in lectures, Aeryn met lots of different people and made really good friends. "By the end of the camp, most of us were friends and most of us are still in touch now".

She says she absolutely recommends others apply to do the camp - she was terrified going alone but says "it was so worth it".

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