In January three of our now Year 13 students - Jada Melbourne, Finn Spod and Linette Lengkeek were selected to attend the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum. The programme is for OUTSTANDING all round science, maths and technology students in Year 12 who will be returning to Year 13 and are planning to study the sciences or technology at tertiary level.

Students get a real taste of University life as they spend two weeks in Auckland living in dormitory accomodation like tertiary students and attending different lectures across different university campuses. This fully residential programme is conducted by Rotary and the Tertiary Institutions of Auckland. By the end of the Forum students have a better understanding of the tertiary courses they wish to follow and a fuller appreciation of the place of science and technology in the wider community. It also provides an opportunity for high achieving students to spend time with similar minded people, and the experiences gained invariably result in overall personal growth and renewed motivation to succeed. Jada, Finn and Linette share their experiences and hope to inspire others to apply to attend the forum.

In January 2019 I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Rotary Science and Technology Forum. It was an experience that was thoroughly enjoyed by myself and my peers, I’m extremely thankful for the Rotary sponsoring us to go to such an amazing programme.

The Forum consisted of multiple modules in which we visited the AUT and Massey University campuses located around Auckland, we got to experience many different lectures and workshops held by a wide range of respectable tutors. Through these I got a taste of what course my future could take, and possible study pathways I would like to look further into, I heavily enjoyed biomedical science and engineering.

We stayed at O’Rorke hall in the city. With this we got a realistic and close view of what student living would be like living in the dorms. We had to manage our time properly, or risk getting left behind.

I absolutely loved meeting the amazing people who came along on this trip, in just 2 weeks the people you meet become your closest friends, they’re like minded people with similar interests and the close bonds formed naturally.

During our time outside of the universities we got to do many of the fun things that Auckland has to offer. We got the chance to go up the sky tower, play laser tag, mini golf, and escape rooms. They also took us to the beach for a beach day. And, we had volleyball tournaments, where we dressed up in our teams colours and we all tried our hardest to win while being supportive to everyone the whole time. We made up chants for this, my teams chant was “Orange, Orange, nothing rhymes with Orange!” In the afternoons, once we had a chance to wind down we would all hang out in the common rooms and play cards or watch movies. - Jada Melbourne

The Rotary National Science and Technology Forum 2019 was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Arriving at O’Rorke Hall in Auckland on the first day was a bit daunting, with 167 other high achieving students from across the country also there, but my worries were quickly forgotten as I met the other amazing students selected for Forum. From day one we had a busy schedule, which continued throughout the two weeks. The first few days were dedicated to formalities like the Forum Opening Ceremony, and group activities to meet the others in our group. I was in Yellow, which was obviously the best team. On the first Tuesday, the real programme began, and we headed out to our first modules. This was when the experience really took off, as we were immersed in university life. We spent the days travelling between uni campuses, to take part in a range of incredible classes. My favourites were robotics, astrophysics, and biomedical engineering. The days weren’t over when we returned from modules though, as every evening something was happening. There was a hotly contested Inter-Colour volleyball competition, quiz nights and evening lectures. There was a day that we were let loose on Auckland to explore, and another day at the beach. Overall, the Forum was simply an unforgettable experience, where we were exposed to incredible new things and I met new lifelong friends. It gave me inspiration, and a new direction for my further studies, as I am now looking into a degree in Mechatronics at Canterbury. I would like to express a massive thanks to both the Whakatane Rotary Club and Trident High School for the partial sponsorship for this opportunity, your help was greatly appreciated. - Finn Spod

A typical forum day would begin with 7am EMAs, (early morning activities) where we had a choice of either volleyball, aerobics, jogging, gym, or elite walking. After a shower and breakfast we would then head off to our first three hour Science module, hosted by either the Massey Campus in Albany, AUT or the University of Auckland. Next we would return to the O’Rorke hall of residence for our lunch before heading off to our second module. After dinner we’d do a range of exciting things such as go up the Sky tower, have a disco in the Uni, Quiz night, Laser tag, go to the movies, play the volleyball tournament, visit innovating companies such as Stretch Sense and make 185 amazing like-minded friends. Some of the most exciting modules were Biomedical Science where we dissected a sheep's heart and lungs, Biological Sciences where we used E-coli to grow luminescent proteins found in jellyfish and Robotics where we programmed a robot to find its way out of a maze on its own. The most valuable part of the experience for me was being exposed to all the different fields of Science study that are offered at university and connecting with so many incredible people from all across the country. I would like to say a massive thank you to both the Whakatane Rotary Club as well as Trident High school who generously sponsored us, making it possible for us to go on this spectacular experience. - Linette Lengkeek

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