Two female students from Mt Carmel Catholic College, Varroville have been awarded a prestigious Victor Chang School Science Award for their positive work ethic, passion for learning, and curiosity for the world we live in.
Year 12 students Elisha Sailago and Alisa Thephavong were recognised by their teachers for their capability, hard work, excellent problem-solving skills, and methodical first-hand investigations. For the first time, Elisha and Alisa were put forward as joint nominees for the award.
Mt Carmel Science Coordinator, Shane Blanksby, was delighted the Victor Chang Institute recognised the hard work and dedication of both students.
“Each school is allowed one individual nominee per school,” he said. “Our science faculty could not split the girls, so for the very first time, we decided to nominate the pair of them.”
Both students said they were “humbled” and never imagined they would be recipients of the award given the number of intelligent and devoted students who are nominated each year.
“I’m honoured to receive such a prestigious award,” said Elisha. “To know my hard work has been fruitful has encouraged me to continue my passion to study science with diligence and excitement.”
“I’m delighted to be acknowledged and thankful to the school's Science and STEM faculty for fostering my passion for science. I’ve learnt to appreciate how, in the words of physicist Brian Greene, 'science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding'.” — Alisa Thephavong
Named after the late cardiac surgeon and pioneer of modern heart transplantation, Dr Victor Chang, the Victor Chang School Science Award seeks to celebrate gifted young scientists and encourage an interest in science among secondary school students, with the aim of promoting careers in science.
In 2020, more than half of the students enrolled in HSC science-based subjects in CEDoW secondary schools were female, with biology boasting a 70% female student enrolment rate.
For their upcoming HSC Elisha is studying two science subjects –Biology and Chemistry - while Alisa is studying Biology and Physics. Post-school, both students are planning to pursue further studies and careers in the field of science.
“Although I have not figured out all the details yet, I would like to pursue science in university, most likely in the areas relating to chemistry, said Elisha.
For Alisa, a career in medical physics is in her plans for the future. “I find the development of medical instruments and technologies fascinating,” she said. “I hope to work in a field that fosters innovation and greater learning.”
Now in its 16th year, the Victor Chang School Science Awards seek to foster growth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subject areas. For more information, visit the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute website.