The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “science and technology are precious resources when placed at the service of man and promote his integral development for the benefit of all.” Five curious students from across our diocese, have embraced the potential of science to benefit humans and the creation we care for, as part of their recent HSC studies.
Hussain Alwaeli, Anthony Dellis, and Riley Tonna of John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow, along with Dean Koumakis and Femke Keywood of Holy Spirit College, Bellambi, are the first students from Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) secondary schools to undertake the new Science Extension course.
The Science Extension Stage 6 Syllabus focuses on the application of scientific research skills to produce a scientific research report. Students are required to propose and develop a research question, formulate a hypothesis, and develop evidence-based responses to create and support their report. The subject provides students with the opportunity to refine and extend their science research skills to produce a detailed report that reflects the standards generally required for publication in a scientific journal.
The students' research reports were based on a variety of contemporary topics, ranging from Astrobiology to handwashing techniques and recontamination of bathroom taps.
Hussain Alwaeli based his research on the conservation of Glider species that are in danger of becoming extinct due to habitat fragmentation. “I have a passion for saving Australian animals and would like to make a positive impact on Australian society anyway possible,” said Hussian.
The assessment of the effectiveness of handwashing with water-saving taps and the evaluation of hand recontamination from bathroom taps was the basis of Anthony Dellis’ study. “Coronavirus has highlighted the importance of handwashing, however, the design of taps can often lead to recontamination,” said Anthony.
Anthony’s findings have resulted in the change of all bathroom taps at John Therry to improve student hygiene.
Riley Tonna investigated the conservation management of koalas in the Campbelltown area, which is one of the only chlamydia-free koala populations in Australia. His comparative study was based on identifying how chlamydia affects the lifestyle of koalas. Riley was awarded the John Therry School Science Award and named Campbelltown City Council Young Citizen of the Year for his project.
A passion for science enticed Dean Koumakis to enrol in the Science Extension course. “At the beginning, I was still quite unsure of my specific research question, but I knew I wanted to investigate Aerodynamics.” Dean’s research was based on how the deflection angle of a trailing edge flap affects the aerodynamic characteristics of a constant airfoil section.
Femke Keywood, the only CEDoW female student enrolled in the subject, based her studies on Astrobiology, particularly concerning the origins of cell-based life. The aim of Femke’s research was to test whether fatty acids affect the rate of evaporation of water and hence polymerisation processes.
Dr. Aidan Johnson, Science Coordinator at John Therry Catholic College said all five students enrolled in the course had done an outstanding job with their research and the quality of the work they presented.
“The recent bushfires and current Coronavirus pandemic have brought the importance of the three John Therry students’ projects into the spotlight,” said Dr. Johnson. “Due to the high quality of the work and topical research, all three are now aiming to have their projects published in scientific journals.“
We congratulate all students on their achievements and we wish them well for their future scientific endeavors.