Therese Featherston’s science journey started when she took on a project at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute as part of her IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma while studying at Thorndon’s Queen Margaret College. The project led to her entering a science fair, which took Therese somewhere she had never expected: Realise the Dream (the National School Science and Technology Awards, sponsored by Genesis Energy). Last year, Therese won the leadership award for her project, ‘The Matter of GATA’, which investigated the potential to produce red blood cells within a strawberry birthmark.
FishHead spoke to Therese about Wellington, science and her future, before she packed her bags and headed to Auckland to study biomedical sciences.
When I am feeling peckish, my favourite place to grab a bite is… Fidel’s, of course. I really like the quesadillas and the Snickers milkshakes! I also love La Bella Italia in Petone — it is a bit of a family favourite.
What I will miss most about Wellington is… its character. There are a lot of creative things on here like the pantomimes at Circa. Really, Wellington is just a lot of fun. I also love the fact that we are completely surrounded by water. I will also miss the summer weather we have had, but probably not the wind!
My favourite Wellington landmark is… Mt Victoria — there are amazing views of all of Wellington. I mainly drive up to the top, but I have walked up there a few times as well. It’s a bit of a walk.
Wellington’s best-kept secret is… the hidden little playground that is just up the hill from Oriental Parade. We used to go up there as kids a lot with Mum and Dad. It also has an amazing view!
My favourite thing about Queen Margaret College was… the amount of opportunities that I had. There were a lot of leadership opportunities as well as a lot of extra-curricular activities. It has helped make me the all-round person that I am. I did an IB Diploma and played in the Hockey 1st XI. I won the best all-rounder cup last year.
I was inspired to pursue science because… My Dad is a doctor, and I always thought his job was quite cool. But going to Gillies McIndoe and seeing what they did made me want to pursue it as there is so much you can do that you don’t expect. You are always going to keep learning. Also, I always loved science at school as it always made sense to me. I found it was my thing.
I got to where I am today because of… My parents — they have always given me the confidence to go and do things that I wouldn’t expect to do. They are always telling me that you are not going to get anything if you don’t go for it and if you don’t try.
My dream is to… become a doctor. I want to get into medicine and become a specialised doctor, and I kind of want to work with kids. If they are sick, they haven’t had a chance to live, and I want to give them a chance. I also want to do a lot of research, most likely in the biomedical field. I would love to get back to Gillies McIndoe and give back what they have given to me.
My most memorable moment in science… would have to be having the opportunity to do Realise the Dream, being able to see the opportunities that are out there are in the area of science. Also being the only student from the Wellington region made me feel quite special.