From global pandemics to climate change, our world continues to throw increasingly complex challenges at us. Understanding the problem at hand is the first step toward solving it. But all too often, the language we use to explain the problem is accessible only to experts. This is why clear and cogent communication around STEM subjects is so important. It takes a special kind of talent to learn a complicated subject and explain it in terms that anyone can understand. Here are four Wellingtonians who are doing just that.
Nathan and Tracy, high school pupils from this Shanghai private school, took the initiative to summarize a recently published scientific journal article in verbiage that would make it more accessible to their fellow pupils. More importantly, its subject matter was timely and especially relevant to our daily life, COVID-19. The article explained the discovery process of a particular gene and its influence on the disease’s symptoms. The authors’ research indicates that certain groups of people are prone to severe COVID-19 symptoms. They suspect that genetics is an important factor, and they discovered a gene that likely influences COVID’s effects by regulating other genes.
This was not a graded assignment. They did not take on this task for extra credit. Nathan and Tracy were motivated simply by a passion for discovering new knowledge and sharing it with their peers. And it was no small feat. “There seemed to be an endless number of concepts to learn before the original article began to make sense to me,” says Nathan. Another challenge was making sure the language of their summary retained the original article’s scientific rigour. “We had to make sure that readers could understand the principles discussed in the original article while still keeping the formal technical language,” Tracy adds.
The project also dovetailed perfectly with Tracy and Nathan’s longer-term plans. Next academic year, they intend to start a CCA in which pupils can research new scientific discoveries and write their own approaches and understandings of the subject matter. They want to explore the frontiers of science with their fellow pupils, challenge themselves with a complex subject and hopefully make it more accessible to a wider audience. “I think it is essential to ensure that lay audiences are also in touch with science and notice our remarkable progress in scientific discoveries nowadays,” says Tracy. “It plays an extremely important part in our life.”
Toward the end of the 2021-22 academic year in Wellington’s High School, year 12 pupils Nicholas and Jonathan were hard at work on the finishing touches of SCI. Wellington, the College’s new pupil-led science magazine. It was released just last month, and it was an opportunity for their editorial team to stretch themselves and build useful skill sets, like project management, communication, fact-checking and design while pursuing a subject they are both deeply passionate about.
Centred around the theme of ‘Our Fragile Ecosystem’, this inaugural volume covers a broad array of topics, ranging from energy efficiency, biological altruism and how maths proves that everything is interconnected.
As SCI. Wellington’s co-editors, Nicholas and Jonathan’s mission is to promote a culture of curiosity about STEM subjects and innovative thinking at Wellington. “Science should not be intimidating,” says Nicholas. “It is important to foster interest and passion before textbook rigour, as that is what can eventually allow one to persist through the intensity for research and to come up with insightful ideas and creative solutions.” More importantly, Nicholas and Jonathan want SCI. Regarded as one of the top international schools in Shanghai, Wellington to be a platform where other aspiring STEM communicators in the College can share their ideas. Says Nicholas: “We meet a lot of talented and motivated scientists in school every day, and we are proud to showcase the work they have done.”
A Wellington Welcome
Wellington is taking rolling applications for the 2022-23 academic year and inviting future Wellingtonians to join Wellington for virtual campus tours for 2023 entry.
At this Shanghai private school, Children and young adults applying for our Senior School (years 9 through 13) and Academic Scholarship programmes are encouraged.
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Company Name: Wellington College International Shanghai
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Phone: +86-21 5185-3866
Address:No.1500 Yao Long Road, Pudong New District