Mossman High Students selected among 22 big thinkers across Australia


Karlie Brady


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Ebony Burchill-Schonenberger and Ellie Zillfleisch will travel to Sydney next week to attend ANSTO's Big Ideas Forum. Image: Supplied.
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Two students from Mossman State High School are among 22 students from across Australia selected to travel to Sydney next week for ANSTO’s Big Ideas Forum.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Big Ideas Forum is a four-day science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workshop focusing on improving human health, environment, creating new technologies and coming up with ideas for the future.

To be selected, year 10 students Ebony Burchill-Schonenberger and Ellie Zillfleisch had to present an idea regarding important issues scientists should solve for our future and why.

The students’ winning idea was in regard to the chemicals in sunscreens and how they are affecting the Great Barrier Reef.

They presented an idea surrounding a natural sunscreen alternative based on a living organism with UV protectant properties.

Head of the science department at Mossman High, Mary-Anne Zahnow, who will be traveling with the students’, said they have been working on the application since April, floating ideas, creating possible hypotheses, before narrowing it down to this idea.

“The judges were very impressed not only with the idea but that it was so relevant to where the students’ live,” she said.

“It’s good for students from here to have the opportunity to see how science can work in the real world and how scientist works in a day-to-day basis.”

Ms Zahnow said she was proud of her students’ hard work which saw them stand out from students across the country.

“The students’ were extremely excited to find out that they had on a place out of 11 schools.

“It is really good to see that students’ from regional areas are full of ideas that are getting recognised at a national level.”

Ms Zahnow added that it was the students’ dedication to science that led them to approach her to apply.

“Both students’ are very interested in science, so they are often involved in these types of activities at school.

“It is great to see students’ who are taking the initiative to get involved and doing it in their own time,” she said.

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