2023 International Student Science Conference: Caitlin Kable and Scarlett Loxley

INSPIRED: Year 11 students Caitlin Kable (fourth from right) and Scarlett Loxley (second from right) say the event was as much a cultural experience as a science trip, and it encouraged them to extend their studies in science.

PLC Armidale students held their own at the recent International Student Science Conference (ISSC) held for the first time in New South Wales, hosted by our sister school, PLC Sydney. 

Founded in 2005 with an initial six member schools, the ISSC seeks “to bring together students from around the world in a shared science and cultural experience”. 

Eight of our high-performing Stage 5 Science students were selected to join students from Germany, India, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the oldest all-boys school in Tasmania, The Hutchins School, to explore the theme Bright Minds Shine a Light during the course of five days,

Together the group attended some amazing workshops with leaders working at the forefront of modern science and presentations from fellow students on a vast array of topics.

We asked each of our representatives to tell us about one day of the tour and their highlights.

Year 11 students Caitlin Kable and Scarlett Loxley gave us an overview of Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

Caitlin said the trip was an unforgettable experience, while Scarlett said her favourite part was meeting people from around the world.

Monday began at PLC Sydney with an address from Professor Veena Sahajwalla, who discussed sustainability and the future of technology.

“This was extremely inspiring,” Caitlin said.

“After this, we listened to various science presentations from delegates from the other schools; these were all of an incredibly high standard and very interesting to listen to. The subjects ranged from the effectiveness of sunscreen to ultraviolet ray-inducing light damage on zebrafish retina!

“We then left for Sydney University, where we had a picnic lunch on the lawns before attending different workshops. These workshops included biomedical engineering, an experiment in the chemistry labs and touring the Medical Pathology Museum and were my favourite activities of the day.”

After an afternoon packed with workshops, the cohort walked to Spice Alley and enjoyed a delicious dinner.   

“My key takeaway from Monday was that you never know where you will end up,” said Caitlin. “You may really want to do one thing but then end up doing something completely different, so it is really important to keep an open mind for everything that you do.

“I certainly want to have a career related to science, particularly in medical sciences, potentially medicine or occupational therapy in which I would be open to doing further research in the form of a PhD. The trip has definitely inspired my ambitions and has encouraged me to continue in science. “

“This trip was an unforgettable experience, that has encouraged me to extend my studies in science beyond the HSC. “

Caitline Kable

On the last day of the conference, the group listened to the final student science presentations and visited the Marine Institute, before attending the 135-year International Concert at the Sydney Town Hall that evening.

The special concert was performed by more than 300 students from PLC Sydney and around the globe. Performances included PLC Armidale’s Senior Choir and String Ensemble, PLC Sydney’s Symphony Orchestra, Big Band and Pipes and Drums, as well as cast and orchestra from their musical production, Strictly Ballroom. The finale was a large-scale orchestral and choral work composed by PLC Sydney’s Composer-in-Residence, Ella Macens, which included William Barton on the didgeridoo.

“It was great fun, but sad to say goodbye to all the different schools; my key takeaway from that day was that science and music both have a way of bringing people from all over together – these things are universal,” said Scarlett.

“The entire trip was as much a cultural experience as it was science, and my favourite part was meeting and sharing ideas with so many new people. The camp has inspired me to pursue a career in science (I’m considering astrophysics and cosmology at the moment) and is an experience I would recommend to anyone involved in science at PLC Armidale.”