27 February 2024

'Standout' Western Cape College student to fly Weipa flag at STEM Girl Power Camp

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Ziona Oracion

Described by her teachers as a “standout”, Western Cape College year 10 student Ziona Oracion will attend this year’s STEM Girl Power Camp in Brisbane. Photo: Supplied.

A Western Cape College (WCC) student has been chosen to attend the 2024 STEM Girl Power Camp in Brisbane in May, where she will have the opportunity to meet likeminded people and explore career pathways in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Ziona Oracion will join other year 10 students from across Queensland’s state schools who are also passionate about STEM, meet role models in various industries, undertake innovative activities, and visit cutting-edge research facilities.

Ms Oracion said she was excited to meet the other girls, adding it had been an honour to be selected to attend the camp.

“I didn’t expect this at first, but when I got it, it was really cool to think about being able to go to the camp and get all these opportunities,” she said.

“I’m really excited to get a feeling of what I want to be when I grow up, since I still have no idea.”

Ms Oracion said she particularly enjoyed biology and chemistry at school, and was currently interested in becoming a general practitioner or forensic scientist.

“I feel like I’ll be able to get a feeling of what it’s really like in those environments and, if I do really want to pursue it, and if I do decide to go into that career path, what kind of mindset to have,” she said.

Ms Oracion was nominated by head of department for maths and science Kurt Lynch, who said he was extremely proud to have had the opportunity to send several WCC students to the camp over the years.

“We’ve had students chosen in the past, and a lot of those students have gone on to pursue careers in STEM-related industries,” Mr Lynch said.

“It’s always a good opportunity for the students if they get chosen, to really open their eyes to show them what’s actually available to them if they’re interested in that sort of area.”

Mr Lynch said each year, WCC looked at year 9 students and nominated one or sometimes multiple students, “depending on how many are showing exceptional skills in that area”.

“Ziona comes across as just a super diligent student; she’s always trying her hardest,” he said.

“She shows quite a lot of passion and also skill in the areas of STEM, so it was really a no-brainer this year.

“Sometimes, we have a few students that we sort of have an eye on, but Ziona was a standout just for her qualities as a student and her thirst for knowledge.”

Mr Lynch said Ms Oracion had done an incredible job to be chosen from a large pool of nominees.

“She wrote herself an amazing application and was chosen from a huge pool of students that would have been coming from the Cape,” Mr Lynch said.

“We can offer these opportunities for our students, but they actually have to put in quite a bit of effort themselves to get there and be selected.

“It’s honourable when you have students coming from a small community, and it’s nice to have students with the capability to actually be selected from a large group of students.”

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