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Bethany crowned Young Scientist of the Year

Our Lady of the Rosary teacher Paula Schoutrop, parent Matthew Van Hecke,
NATA Young Scientist of the Year winner Bethany Van Hecke and NATA
Queensland state manager Darina Ross

A YEAR 5 student at Our Lady of the Rosary School, Kenmore, has taken out one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for young scientists.

Bethany Van Hecke beat hundreds of entrants to win the National Association for Testing Authorities (NATA) Young Scientist of the Year award.

At a special school assembly NATA Queensland state manager Darina Ross presented Bethany with her award plus $400 for herself and $2500 for her school.

The national competition, which began in 2007 to foster an interest in science among schoolchildren, encourages students to think about what science was and examine how it impacted on people's everyday lives.

Students from primary school (aged 7 to 12 years) across Australia were invited to enter the competition to win cash prizes.

This year’s theme ’Medical Science – Towards 2050’ gave students plenty of scope for their entries.

Bethany entered a five-minute video titled: “5 Medical Marvels That Are Breakthroughs Today, But Commonplace in 2050!” along with a supporting report.

Her topics included 3D printing of body parts; robotic surgery; nanobots and nanomeds; robotic prosthetics and medical wearables

A dedicated group of judges spent hours sifting through the hundreds of entries received from across the country before finally selecting the winners in each age group.

Bethany, who was out shopping with her mother when she heard the news she had won, said she was so excited.

“My dad called my mum and when she told me we were jumping around the shop with joy.”

“I had come third the year before so to finish first was so special.”

She said the competition was a great excuse for her to do more science research.

“I love science and I love researching, it’s really interesting,” she said.

“I discovered lots of different ways medical science will help people in the future.”

Bethany’s teacher Paula Schoutrop, who encouraged her to enter the competition, said it was amazing to see her recognised with the prestigious award.

She said the school was right behind Bethany’s efforts and delighted to see her do so well in the competition.

“One day we may see her name up in lights like some of our current scientists and medical people who are able to produce amazing discoveries and produce cures that will help people in the future,” she said.

“Bethany’s diligence within her research and investigation and her ability to write at an extraordinary level have shone through in this competition.

“She has done a lot of investigation and research to back up her investigation and the way she presents her ideas and findings have all contributed to her winning.”

Paula said Bethany had a lot of ability to help others.

“She is always available to help out her friends and peers at the school with their research and investigations.

“I think as she matures and grow, we’ll see her making a lot more breakthroughs for the medical world that will help people in the community in the future.”

Bethany said she was already planning to enter the competition next year.


Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101