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Two Paraparaumu College students accepted into London International Youth Science Forum

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Ella Wingate and Fletcher Martin will be attending the London International Youth Science Forum. Photo / David Haxton

More than 500 students worldwide were selected to take part in the London International Youth Science Forum in July – and two of them are from Paraparaumu College.

Ella Wingate and Fletcher Martin, both 17, both take all the sciences the college offers, and applied to the forum online, with support and references from their science teachers – and they were two of six Kiwi students selected.

“It’s surreal,” Ella said.

The forum is for students aged between 16 and 21, so Ella and Fletcher will be among the youngest attendees.

There will be several different activities on offer, including speeches from Nobel Prize winners and famous scientists, scientific modules, visiting state-of-the-art research labs, and more.

They will get to choose their own modules, with a wide variety of science types available, including robotics, medicine, chemistry, and others, but Ella and Fletcher are both particularly interested in medicine.

In fact, both teenagers have plans to study medicine when they finish school – with Ella, who is a United Kingdom citizen, wanting to study in England, and Fletcher wanting to study in either Otago or Australia.

Ella said when she found out she was accepted into the forum, she was “stoked”.

“I didn’t really realise how big of a deal it was.”

Fletcher was also excited to be accepted.

“It’s the kind of thing you only get to do once in a lifetime.

“We’re going across the world to study science at arguably the best universities ever.”

He’s also looking forward to the cultural aspect of the forum and said it will be a great cross-cultural experience, and a chance to meet like-minded students who are interested in the same areas of study but from varying backgrounds.

“It really pushes you outside New Zealand.”

It’s not going to be cheap though, with everything, including the cost of the forum and flights, costing about $10,000, which they have been trying to raise via grants through Rotary – and Ella and Fletcher each must raise this by June.

Fletcher’s interest in science started when he was young, and his mother returned to university to study midwifery.

He said he could recall reading through her textbooks and developing a passion for anatomy.

Ella’s interest also started as a child, when she couldn’t sleep one night and wandered into the living room where her mother was watching a British drama television show where they were performing heart surgery.

“I absolutely loved it. Ever since then I have been so fascinated in how hearts work, and just the whole cardiovascular system.”

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