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Summer School encourages students into biology

Summer School encourages Māori and Pasifika students into biology

This week the University of Waikato is hosting a new event aimed at encouraging Māori and Pasifika students to study biology at a tertiary level. Te Huakirangi Māori and Pasifika Biology Summer School is a week-long biology experience attended by Year 11 students from schools in Hamilton, Te Awamutu and the Waitomo area. However, while students are from these schools, their families also hail from other towns outside these regions.

On Tuesday, Senior Tutor Tanya O’Neill worked with the students in an environmental sciences lab where they tested the permeability and porosity of various materials by pouring water through sand,gravelly sand and gravel.

Students Chloe Punton, Kaarena Riddell and Vada Jamieson said they’d had a “busy, full-on time so far” and had learned a lot.

“It’s one thing to hear about biology, but another thing to experience it yourself,” said Chloe.

During the week students will experience aspects of first, second and third year undergraduate science papers that have a biology focus with the hope that they will continue with studies in biology. While at the summer school, students are also taking part in sporting activities, games, waiata, and trips to Mt Maungatautari and Hamilton Zoo.

“It’s incredibly important that all high school students, particularly Māori and Pasifika students, are exposed to settings like this to generate interest in biology in a manner that is more appreciative of Māori and Pasifika world views,” says Kevin Eastwood, Māori Student Achievement Coordinator in the Faculty of Science & Engineering.

The 22 students attending Te Huakirangi (which began on 30 November and finishes on Friday, 6 December) are from Ngā Taiātea and Tai Wānanga (both Hamilton), Hamilton Boys’ High School, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Fairfield College, Fraser High School, Te Awamutu College, Otorohanga College and Te Kuiti High School.

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