The winners of this year’s Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest Awards have reached new levels of excellence in science photography among South Australia’s female high school students.
Open to South Australian girls in Years 8-12, the competition run by the Flinders University STEM Women Branching Out group is now in its third year.
Dr Maria Parappilly, Research Section Head of STEM Education at Flinders University and founder of the STEMWBO group, created the state-wide competition to stimulate young women’s interest in STEM subjects, and is delighted that participation and interest in the competition continues to grow.
Deepthi Paul of Emmaus Christian College was the winning entry for Year 11-12 students, for her photograph Overlooked Strength. It depicts a delicate spider’s web, which has a tensile strength greater than steel.
Emma Barber of St Dominic’s Priory College was the winning entry for Year 8-10 students, with her photograph Messy Milk. It shows the effect of food colouring added to milk with a drop of detergent, providing a near-perfect reflection around a flower floating in the liquid.
Each winning school will receive a $500 reward to further support women in STEM, for school science resources, equipment, the promotion of girls in science or the facilitation of opportunities for female science students.
The Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest theme Science is Everywhere provides a wonderful opportunity for students to consider science through a creative lens, and the panel of 11 judges from STEM disciplines and other professional fields at Flinders University noted many outstanding entries, from as far afield as Whyalla.
In the Year 8-10 category, judges awarded second place to Alisha Nair of St Aloysius College for her photograph Our World in a Jar, third place to Thanh Nguyen of Wilderness School for her photograph Convection Currents in Colour, and a special commendation to Chloe Dean of Cardijn College for her photograph The Spark of Our World.
In the Year 11-12 category, judges awarded second place to Tiana Bhasme of Emmaus Christian College for her photograph Bonfire Ashes, and third place to Ellie Turner of Charles Campbell College for her photograph The Conscious Cosmos.
A People’s Choice Award was decided through voting on 18 of the finalists’ images uploaded to the STEM Women Branching Out Facebook page – and even after the voting concluded, likes for the photographs have continued to accumulate. The award was shared by two winners – Stephanie Jones of St Dominic’s Priory College for her photograph Harmony, and Alisha Nair of St Aloysius College for her photograph Our World in a Jar.
Winners of this year’s awards were presented with their prizes in a special ceremony at Alere Function Centre in Flinders University on 29 November. In a major boost, Cochlear Senior Manager of Implants Mechanical, Mr Roger Leigh — who presented winners with their prizes — confirmed that Cochlear sponsorship of this competition is guaranteed for the next two years.