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DSC_8022-editTher­ese 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.

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