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Science stars celebrating

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 06, 2013

SHINING STARS: Ace, top right; Richard, top, second from right; Jonny, middle row, far right; and Laura, middle row, second from right; at the celebration evening at County Hall.

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FOUR Bodmin College students who spent the summer on placements working with science and maths celebrated their achievements at New County Hall, Truro.

Ace McDermott, Jonathan Long, Laura Burden and Richard Topolcany, were part of a group of 18 students from across Cornwall who undertook placements at the Nuffield Foundation.

They landed spots on the highly competitive placement scheme after being selected by the Nuffield Foundation, an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social wellbeing in the widest sense.

Part of the foundation's work is to fund research placements for young people studying scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical (STEM) subjects.

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Each student was placed with a 'project provider' who invested time, expertise and passion for science into mentoring and guiding the teenagers through their placement.

Ace and Jonathan did their placement at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, with their research project based on a study of diabetes in pregnancy.

"These were great experiences especially since both me and Jonny are applying for medicine, and being able to see both the research and clinical aspects was great and really informative of what a medical career can be like," said Ace.

Richard's topic was iterative schemes (mathematics) at Exeter University's Environment and Sustainability Institute on the Penryn campus, and Laura researched sunshine and bone health at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Truro.

Bodmin College teacher Martin Dixon said the placement had been a wonderful opportunity for them to experience "real science".

"I have been impressed by how well organised the scheme is, by the professionalism of the laboratories that hosted the pupils and by how well the pupils responded to tasks that were set them," Mr Dixon said.

"To hear the confidence with which these A-level pupils debated cutting edge scientific research made me proud of them and confident for their future."

Andrew Wallis, the council's Cabinet member for children and young people, said:

"They are excellent role models and shining examples of academic talent Cornwall produces," he said.

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