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A journey of discovery

2021 Head Girl, Isha Takyar, recently received a scholarship from the ACG Sunderland Parents and Friends Committee to attend the National Rotary Science & Technology Forum. She provides us with a behind-the-scenes look at this educational and inspirational event.


“Across the two weeks of the forum, I was introduced and exposed to 14 potential career paths. From psychology to sports science, we were shown a wide range of fascinating concepts. For me, biomedical science was the most interesting, primarily because of how hands-on the experience was, with the module, even including a dissection. Although it was initially unsettling, once I got used to it, I was able to appreciate both the specimen and the content we were learning.

“Another favourite was chemistry at Massey University. I had my first experience distilling by extracting ethanol out of red wine. Of course, there were some modules I didn’t find quite as engaging. But this was also hugely helpful as I know now that those pathways are not the right ones for me.

“Alongside the modules, we took part in three technology visits. My first was to TVNZ. There, we were shown around the technical backrooms where all the controls are housed. We were allowed on the TVNZ stage, and it was amazing to see how advanced their technology was.

“My next tech visit was to the Auckland Medical School. With the help of a cancer-research team, we went on a tour of the research facilities available within the building. Additionally, we were shown the Medical School Learning Centre, a room full of more than 1,000 pathological specimen and anatomical models.

“My final experience was working alongside AUT and helping their Living Labs project. Their main aim is to restore native forest around New Zealand. We helped log data of native trees planted around the Pourewa Creek in Ōrākei. It definitely opened my eyes to the importance of restoring native life around Aotearoa.

“Although the forum was academically oriented, the idea of living a healthy lifestyle was also encouraged. One way this was shown was by having us do early morning activities, whether it be running or mindfulness. Admittedly it wasn’t easy the first few days to be waking up at 5am, but after getting used to it, I somehow started looking forward to it.

“Along with our early morning exercises, we had an ongoing volleyball competition across the six colour groups. The energy across the colours was extremely similar to our House system at Sunderland. Even though the competition got fierce, it was amazing to see the level of camaraderie everyone had for each other at these volleyball competitions. It was something that existed out of court as well, which contributed to making the forum such a safe and enjoyable place to be.

“By attending this forum, I was able to meet like-minded people. I was exposed to so many different opinions and ideas that have better sculpted me as a person. Although I may not know exactly what I want to go into in my future years, this forum has confirmed the type of skills I want to use in my chosen career path.

“Before attending the National Rotary Science & Technology Forum, I was a completely different person. I am now more aware of the power of science, the extensive innovations in technology, and the broad range of talent I will meet again in my future.

“If I hadn’t received support from the Parents and Friends Committee, I wouldn’t have experienced such a life-changing event, nor would I have been able to explore the extent of possibilities available to me. Thank you so much for sponsoring me. I truly do appreciate it!”

For additional profiles and articles on the success of our students at ACG Sunderland, please visit the following: New year, new swim goals and Scholarships abound for Shannon Macdonald