Yasmin Potts is going places. The Parkes High school captain has won a place in a world-class science program and is packing her bags for London in July.
Yasmin is one of only 20 Australian stu- dents to be accepted into the highly com- petitive International Youth Science Forum. During the two-week program students visit world-renowned research institutions, laboratories and museums in London and across the UK. The program gives students a deeper insight into science and its applications, and is attended by 500 bright young scientists from all over the world.
Yasmin will then travel to Geneva to attend another youth program at CERN (Europe- an Organisation for Nuclear Research). It is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research and home to the Large Hadron Collider.
“Scientific method and critical thinking are great concepts to foster in young students to help them make more informed deci- sions.” Yasmin said. “Science explains how everything works, from the tiniest atoms to the universe. It gives the why and the how to everything.”
Despite Yasmin’s already impressive re- sume that includes a Victor Change Sci- ence Award and recent attendance at the National Youth Science Forum at the ANU, she was still surprised to make it into the program.
“I thought I had no chance of getting in.” she said. “The letter started with ‘thank you for applying’ and I thought they were letting me down easy. I could not believe it when I realised I was successful. My hands were shaking so much. It was just incredible.
“I’ve never even been on a plane before. I’m really looking forward to meeting so many like-minded people.”
Yasmin is excited about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences she will have, but also about sharing those experiences with her peers when she returns.
“It’s going to be a great thing for Parkes. It proves that females living in rural areas can do stuff like this.” she said. “Regional schools don’t necessarily have less opportunities, but we’re less aware of what’s available and don’t always know how to access them.”
Yasmin says the entire staff at Parkes High School has been supportive of her ambition. She credits the teachers for sparking her interest. “My science teachers are really amazing. They know so much outside the syllabus and their enthusiasm makes the classes really engag- ing. My maths teacher Mrs Vere puts in so much effort. I love maths because of her.
“Parkes Rotary have also been amazing and have chosen to support me for this.”
Yasmin is laying strong foundations for a career in science. “Neuroscience is really my field of interest, there’s so much we still don’t know about the brain. As technology advances it’s a field of science that will prosper.” she said. “It’s exciting to think that the job I might have might not exist yet.”
Yasmin is hosting a fundraiser Mother’s Day movie night at the PCYC on 14th May to help meet the costs for participating in the program. Doors open at 5.15pm for the screening of Mamma Mia. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 5-15. A sausage sizzle, cake-stall, and tea and coffee will be available.
By Raen Fraser