The right chemistry at Aquinas College

Daniel Nirmalaraj, Put Suthisrisinlpa, Janelle Dawber-Mair and Elise Oxenham. Supplied photo.

Accurate analysis of samples in the chemistry labs secured a win for four talented Year 13 students from Aquinas College at this year’s NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition.

The team received first place at the annual event held at the University of Waikato competing against 60 enthusiastic students from 12 schools around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.

The budding scientists spent a day in the university laboratories, in groups of four, tasked with analysing the levels of zinc and sulphate ions in a sample of zinc sulphate.

They then needed to use these values to determine how many water molecules were associated with each zinc sulphate molecule.

Aquinas College Chemistry Teacher, Richard James says the experience was vital for them by having access to sophisticated resources and understanding the way the professors and technicians run the laboratories.

"It's great for students looking at doing the Chemistry scholarship exams to understand University doesn't need to be daunting."

For the winning team, taking the 2020 title is more than prize money and a trophy – it's a whole new positive outlook on their chosen careers.

Janelle Janelle Dawber-Mair is planning to study a Bachelor of Biomedical science, Elise Oxenham loves practical problem solving and analytical thinking fits with her future study in Engineering.

Put Suthisrisinlpa has his heart set on an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, and Daniel Nirmalaraj plans to turn his dream of a career in Medicine into reality.

Aquinas College Principal Matt Dalton says that with their preparation, participation and success these students have embodied the College's Touchstone of Scholarship, "and that is the determination to seek and attain excellence in all we do. We are very proud of their achievement".

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