Liam has been selected for the London International Youth Science Forum but on top on that he is involved in heaps of science activities and also has a great love of the outdoors and Scouts.
Kia ora! I’m Liam Hewson, a year 13 student at King’s High School in Dunedin and one of 12 school prefects. I am extremely honored to be able to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) as one of six New Zealand delegates selected by the Royal Society Te Apārangi. My love of science has grown from a young age, and I have been privileged to have had a plethora of inspiring and enthusiastic teachers that encouraged me to aspire for personal excellence.
This year I am studying statistics, english and digital technology. I also study biology and chemistry, but having completed these subjects last year, I use some of this class time to pursue my own projects, including a science university paper with Massey University and a CREST project on Manuka. Through school, I have experienced some incredible events including Hands on Science at Otago in 2017, the New Zealand International Biology Olympiad (NZIBO) and their selection camps for the top 20 students twice, the Asian Science Camp, Malaysia, last year (selected by the Royal Society Te Aparangi), and I was recently awarded the Future Scientist Award from the NZ International Science Festival.
I enjoy science for its diversity and challenge. I could be making pineapple-scented esters, be up to my elbows in a sunfish dissection and preparing manuka-acetone extractions at school one week, then be preparing and running a gel electrophoresis, plating bacteria and doing the floral formula of an Orchidaceae the next. There is so much that hasn’t yet been discovered or investigated in our world, but with science, we have the opportunity to do so. Also, studying science allows you to discover such cool ideas as ‘Ishikawa’, ‘blebbing’ and the biological context of ‘Sonic Hedgehog’.
Outside of school, I volunteer at a Scout group, and I myself am a Venturer. I have nearly finished my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award and I’m working on the Queen’s Scout Award program. These experiences have helped develop my leadership abilities and made me a well-rounded person. I am still involved with the NZIBO as an alumni, and I am active in the school community. I love tramping and experiencing our pristine outdoors, and photographing our unique landscapes and organisms.
In the future, I would like to study science (obviously!), probably a chemistry or microbiology degree at the University of Otago. Long term, I have no idea specifically what my future holds, but I am sure it will be exciting and continue to present me with awesome opportunities.
These opportunities are an incredibly valuable experience, in terms of learning, leadership, international relations, and the cultural immersion that is only possible away from your home country. My experiences continue to open my eyes to new and exciting career paths and provided me with immense appreciation for New Zealand and provide a thrilling taster of the OE experience.
I want to leave you with one final thought, a famous Māori proverb that has been important to me: ‘He manga wai koia kia kore e whitikia’ - Is a river never to be crossed?