It was an absolute privilege and honour being selected as the Eureka Teacher for 2019. An even bigger honour though was being in the presence of the talented young men and ladies who presented on Thursday.
Year 13 Cashmere High School student Lila Madden is the winner of the 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award with her presentation entitled “Revolutionary Ryegrass” which suggested that New Zealand agriculture may be able to adapt to the impacts of climate change through the development of a new strain of genetically enhanced HME ryegrass.
Lila beat 11 other contestants from secondary schools and universities who made the finals for the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards.
Lila received her Trophy and Premier Award prize money ($10,000 ) from HE Dame Patsy Reddy, New Zealand’s Governor-General and the Patron of the RCW Eureka! Trust.
On the morning of Saturday 14 September Lila was interviewed by the doyen of New Zealand radio broadcasting, Kim Hill - who was also a member of the Judging Team for the Finals Event.
The Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards has received a record number of entries this year - up 43% on last year to 86.
“Its been a wonderful experience for us to receive such an increase in interest by students and their teachers,” says Eureka! Trust Chair, Dr Russ Ballard.
“It’s going to be a great challenge to respond to at the regional competitions where the students present a six-minute summary version of the concept and plans they want the National Judges to mark them on at the National Finals on the 12th of September.
‘We have received entries from 21 secondary schools which are participating for the first time - which is just fantastic.
“57 of the entries are from secondary students and 29 from undergrad students. What this shows is that there are more and more students who are beginning to appreciate the huge importance of communicating to the community about the value STEM can deliver when it comes to the issues facing the planet today.”
Consulting firm Nonsuch Consulting has jumped on board the Eureka! programme as naming rights sponsor of the video awards which will now be known as the Nonsuch Consulting Eureka! Video Awards.
Eureka! Trust Chair Dr Russ Ballard welcomed the new sponsors “its great to have a firm like Nonsuch Consulting involved. They recognise the value of effective communications about STEM and the importance of encouraging young New Zealanders to become engaged in talking knowledgably about the importance for New Zealand and the world of STEM subjects and projects.”
This year we will have two entry categories - Years 5 to 8 and then Years 9 to 13.
As in the past, schools will also receive a cash award if their videographers win the award. Thew expectation is the school will use the cash to further STEM education.
Undergrad and secondary school students have ten days left to submit their entries for the 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards. Competitors can take home a range of awards, scholarships and internships worth over $90,000, to meet other bright students and to connect with some of New Zealand's best organisations.
The Eureka! Trust is delighted to welcome two new Trustees to the Board.
Debbie Chin is the former Chief Executive of the Capital and Coast District Health Board and is a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington. She completed her BCA in Accounting at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to her role at CCDHB, Debbie was Deputy Director General of Health from 1999-2007 and Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand from 2007-2013. Debbie brings valuable executive management and leadership skills.
Eureka! also welcomes on board Jennifer Palmer, who will to take up the Alumni Trustee position, which is nominated by the Eureka! alumni group. The role was previously filled Dr Evan Brenton-Rule, who has recently been awarded his PhD by Victoria University of Wellington and is working for the Ministry for Primary Industries. Jennifer was the first secondary school winner Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award in 2015 and also the first female winner She is in her final year of studying for a BSc in neuroscience at Otago University.
This month we are saying farewell to independent trustee Tim von Dadelszen and thanking him for his valuable contribution to the work of the Eureka! Trust.
Tim was appointed as a Trustee in April 2017 – when the Trust Deed was amended to allow the appointment of eight Trustees including two independent Trustees. He brought his considerable expertise as an innovator, an entrepreneur and start-up business manager. As a specialist in technology intensive enterprises Tim was a most valuable contributor around the Trust Board table.
An appointment to a new executive leadership position based in Auckland meant he couldn’t contribute to the work of the Eureka! Trust to the extent he felt necessary so he stands aside for another Trustee who replicates his skills and interests. The Trust Board is seeking registrations of interest for the vacant position.